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'Style 50' fotoplayer made by The American Photoplayer Company

Fotoplayers, manufactured by the American Photoplayer Company, were specifically made to accompany silent films in cinemas and theatres. Due to the varying sizes of cinemas the Fotoplayer was produced in various sized models. The Style 20, an example of which is already in the Museum's collection, was the smallest model produced through to the largest, Style 50. These instruments were made for very large theatres and would occupy the orchestra pit. A Style 50 Fotoplayer cost $US10,750.00 in …


Object No.


Object Statement

Fotoplayer, Style 50, wood / metal, made by The American Photoplayer Company, United States of America, 1915-1920

Physical Description

Style 50 fotoplayer comprising several hundred parts including the central piano cabinet and upper roll cabinet, two side cabinets built to contain volume shutters, organ pipes and effects mounted on a rack and a bench. Cabinets are made of oak and feature simple grills made of vertical and horizontal crossed pattern backed with fabric.



Serial numbers for this maker are not listed in the Pierce Piano Atlas.



This instrument was originally housed in the Hoyt's De Luxe Theatre, Melbourne which opened in 1915 and remained there until about 1922 when it is thought to have been taken out and installed in several suburban Hoyts theatres in Melbourne suburbs including Canterbury and Richmond. Around 1926 it was sold to the Glenelg Theatre in Adelaide, later known as the Seaview Theatre. Here it remained until bought by Alf Broadbent of Macclesfield, SA after the theatre stopped showing films in 1959 and taken to his property. It was here that is was tracked down by Barclay Wright of Mastertouch and purchased in 1975 and installed in the Mastertouch premises in Sydney. It is greatly significant as one of the last remaining Style 50 Fotoplayers known to exist in the world. Part of the Mastertouch Piano Roll Company's collection of keyboard instruments.


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Mr Barclay Wright, 2006
Acquired with the assistance of the NSW Heritage Office

Acquisition Date

19 November 2006

Cite this Object


'Style 50' fotoplayer made by The American Photoplayer Company 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 June 2023, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Style 50' fotoplayer made by The American Photoplayer Company |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=8 June 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.