The American Piano Company (Ampico) developed the ‘reproducing piano’ with the intention to advance the art of producing music by scientific means. Invented by Charles Fuller Stoddard, it re-enacts the performances of the musicians who use them – replicating the stylistic flourishes of the pianist. Its ability to reflect the tone coloring of the artist astounded countless listeners. The Ampico works off of pneumatics, and can be operated using electricity or by foot. Numerous companies installed Ampico devices in their pianos, including the Chickering represented at the Treasure Tour.
First introduced on October 6, 1916 at the Hotel Biltmore, New York City, an Ampico replicated the music of Leopold Godowsky. The last Ampico was produced in the late-1930’s, due to a lack of sales inspired by the Great Depression.
A network of tubing and dozens of connections make the Ampico a highly complicated machine. These mechanisms are necessary to be able to reproduce accurately the music of the performers. Ampico advertised that they had the original recordings of some of the most prominent pianists of the age on their roster.