MMWrot24Back to  first page:MMWrot
Back to Hupfeld page :

What is the difference between:


Hupfeld Clavitist, Universal, Clavitist-Universal, Animatic,

Animatic-S- and Animatic-T-?

Back to music rolls:

The use of Hupfeld's names seems somewhat confusing on the first glance.

The Universal, Clavitist-Universal and Clavitist pianos used a 77-key scale roll, which is 11-5/8 inch wide and has 10 solo tracks for orchestral bells, 1-5 and 73-77 as well as two drum tracks, snare drum on 37, bass drum on 41. In addition, track 6 was used to switch on up to two different instruments, mainly mandolin and xylophone, sometimes mandolin and accordion.


Several instruments were equipped with a clever pneumatically-operated stepping mechanism, located over the spool box and visible from outside. The first step turned on the mandolin, the next signal turned

on the xylophone, next signal turned on both instruments, next signal was mandolin, etc. There was a button in the spoolbox, allowing the operator to reset the mechanism if necessary. Most of the original

Hupfeld Clavitist rolls are specially arranged to take care of this feature.

A typical Universal and Clavitist feature is the mechanically operated mandolin, same as in the Helios orchestrions. This mandolin device sounds different than the standard mandolin rail: it gives a continuously ringing sound and operates a special set of small metal bars driven by a rotating camshaft.


The name Animatic showed up first on rolls used by Hupfeld for simple pedal (foot-pumped) players. The roll replaced the former Phonola rolls and was based on a standard 88-note scale with Solodant (snakebite) holes and a sustain pedal track.


Around 1920, electrically operated pianos were added to the Hupfeld production line bearing the name Animatic-Clavitist and later just the name Animatic. These instruments replaced the 77-key Clavitist pianos.


Making matters somewhat more confusing is the fact that both instruments need Animatic -S- rolls for proper functioning. Although, you can play the standard Animatic rolls on those instruments (because

of the 88-note scale), but tracks for motor-off, rewind or mandolin, etc. are only found on the Animatic -S- rolls.


Some Animatic and Animatic-Clavitist pianos were equipped with a 10-note Xylophone, some instruments had a separate case (called orchestra cabinet, see Bowers p. 434) with drums and xylophone. These instruments have, besides the theme valves, an additional "pianissimo" bellows, located at the left side of the theme valve box. Although this device is quite simple, it gives unexpected pleasing results.


The Animatic -S- roll has several additional tracks, used for cymbal, woodblock, snare drum and bass drum, as well as tracks to switch the xylophone and the mandolin rail and a track for the pianissimo valve.

There is as well a separate track to switch an additional instrument. Some specially arranged Animatic -S- rolls bear a label "Flex-A-Tone", indicating that some instruments were equipped with additional instrumentation.


Animatic -T- pianos have a full expression box, and they are the predecessors of the later Triphonola instruments; they play the Animatic -T- rolls as well as the later Triphonola rolls.

Back to  first page:Back to Hupfeld page :Back to music rolls: