Link 2-EX Cabinet Style Piano

About These Archive CD Recordings
Disc 1: Recorded in 1971 by Tim Westman
Disc 2: Recorded in May of 1975 by Tim Westman

Link 2-EX Cabinet Piano with Piano, Mandolin attachment and Orchestra Bells.Catalogue illustration of a Link 2-E cabinet style piano, with mandolin attachement and xylophone.Shown at the right is a catalogue illustration of a Link 2-E cabinet piano, which is similar to the Link featured on these archive CD's, the difference being that this machine features orchestra bells as the third instrument, instead of the more commonly installed  xylophone. This particular Link was once a route piano that was, over the years, located in at least two small Wisconsin towns, eventually winding up in Milwaukee, where it was bought in 1970 by the late Ed Freyer, a well known automatic musical instrument enthusiast who lived in Flemington, New Jersey. Ed sold the Link piano to Tim Westman later in 1970, whereupon Tim began restoration of the Link for his own personal collection. Then, with a set of Link orchestra bells furnished by Ed Freyer, and a Link xylophone/bell action purchased from Max Pulsifer, Norway, Maine, replacing the missing third instrument (xylophone or bells), the Link was mechanically complete once again.

According to a handwritten inventory card (which was extremely brown with age) this Link was once owned by:

Edmund Gram Pianos, Inc., Established 1883
414-416 Milwaukee Street
Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Link 2 E oak, No. 7594, Price $900.00

4 - 1 McAteers Restaurant, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

(Typewritten on the backside of the card was the following:)

June 1, 1929
Rented to Paul Icke, Thiensville, Wis. Route 2 by Raymond Darkow

We hold keys

It is possible that Ed Freyer bought the Link from whatever remained of Edmund Gram Pianos, Inc. But whatever the case, Tim Westman bought it from Ed Freyer for $1,000.00 later the same year, a price that included a set of original Link orchestra bells that Ed had obtained from some other source. The bells fit right in, having the proper mounting hardware, etc., but were missing the striker action. Westman purchased a Link pneumatic beater kit from Max Pulsifer, Norway, Maine, to complete the instrument.

It appears that all Link Pianos had a manufacturing date written on the underside of the pump manifold, which in the case of this particular machine is July 8, 1926. Made in Binghamton, New York, far from the major automatic music manufacturing centers of North Tonawanda, New York, and Chicago, Illinois, Link machines are a little different than many of the other major brands of coin pianos in that they utilized an endless multi-tune paper music roll. Perhaps looking like a hopeless tangle, the music serpentines its way around in a special horizontal bin that stretches the entire width of the piano. Another unique characteristic of Link machines is the generally superb styling and arrangement of Link music, which is treasured by many aficionados. Moreover, all Link rolls contain the usual loud and soft pedal expression, while a limited number of rolls made during the late 1920's are perforated with the special coding necessary to operate an elaborate expression system incorporated into certain late model Link machines, such as the music featured on this CD.

The instrumentation of this Link includes a piano with a mandolin attachment (along with the late style expression mechanism), and a set of orchestra bells. Playing the style RX Link music roll, the selection of music is of popular tunes from the 1920's. The analog tape recordings used to create these CD's were made by Tim Westman in 1971 (for disc #1) and in May of 1975 (for disc #2). Only very minor noise reduction technology was used in the preparation of this CD, mainly to eliminate tape hiss from the old source recordings, as well as mechanical rumble due to pump noise in the Link piano itself. Anyone who loves the lively tone of Link music arrangements will undoubtedly enjoy the wide selection of melodies and rhythms on this CD, making it a worthwhile addition to any music collection. Moreover, this collection of tunes will surely demonstrate why Link coin-in-the-slot pianos were so popular in the heyday of automatic music.

Link 2-EX Cabinet Style Piano

LIN-2EXW-D1 (Volume 1 -- 1971)
41 Tracks -- Total Time: 73:47

1.He Was Just A Horn Tootin' Fool1.Felix The Cat
2.I Wonder2.Maine Stein Song
3.Let's Wander Away3.Happy Days Are Here Again
4.Smile A While4.Steppin' In Society
5.Dear Old Back Yard Days5.Just A Sailor's Sweetheart
6.There Ain't No Flies On Auntie6.Just A Little Drink
7.Breesin' Along7.Oh Gee, Oh Gosh, Oh Golly I'm In Love
8.By The Light Of The Stars8.My Mammy
9.Sweet Man9.I Found a Million Dollar Baby
10.Cheerful Little Earful10.Mary Ann
11.Two Hearts In 3/4 Time11.You're Driving Me Crazy
12.I'm The Last One Left On The Corner12.Sometime
13.Nevertheless13.It All Depends On You
14.When You Were The Blossom Of Buttercup Lane14.Sam, The Accordion Man
15.Walking My Baby Back Home15.How Ya Gonna Keep Em Down On The Farm
16.Moonlight On The Colorado16.When You Wore A Tulip
17.Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone17.Ja Da
18.Ho Hum18.Beautiful Ohio
19.I Wanna Sing About You19.It's A Long Way To Tipperary
20.One Little Drop20.Jazz Baby
21.Puttin' On The Ritz21.Mickey
22.Everybody Tap22.Dance Of Blue Danube
23.Taint No Sin23.Don't Keep Me In The Dark Bright Eyes
24.You Will Come Back To Me24.Sugar Baby O' Mine
25.Happy Days Are Here Again25.Where The Skies Are Blue
26.Washing Dishes With My Sweetie26.Who Wouldn't Be Blue
27.Sophomore Prom27.In A Bamboo Garden
28.Alone In The Rain28.It Was Just A Dream
29.You're Always In My Arms29.In A Little Two by Four For Two
30.Red Hot & Blue Rhythm30.Rain Or Shine
31.The Woman In The Shoe31.When The Moon Shines On Coral Gables
32.True Blue Lou32.Indian Love Call
33.Reveries33.High, High, High Up In The Hills
34.Doo Dah Blues34.Sonny Boy
35.Eddie Leonard Blues35.When The Red, Red Robbin
36.Virginia Blues36.I Never See Maggie Alone
37.Cuddle Up Blues  
38.High Brown Blues   
39.Sister Kate  
40.Haunting Blues  
41.Teddy Bear Blues  






           Back to Compact Discs page

          Back to website homepage