I’ve always wondered why nobody has improved on the grand piano music desk’s prop-in-notch mechanism. You need two hands to adjust the music desk angle, and a careless hand can knock the prop out of its notch and send the music desk slamming down. But then, during the ‘just looking’ phase of my grand piano search I came across Sauter’s brilliant music desk mechanism that can be operated by one hand, and which can’t be accidentally knocked over. It appealed to the engineer in me, and that’s when I started to think that maybe a piano manufacturer that pays attention to details ought to be worth a closer look.
It’s a one-way ratchet mechanism. You pull the music desk up from horizontal and let the ratchet click into one of four positions. To stow the music deck you pull it to the fully vertical position, at which point the ratchet resets and you then lower the music desk to the horizontal position. If you want to select a new position when the music desk is already up, you return it to the horizontal position and then back up to the new position.
The mechanism was invented by Ulrich Sauter, and has been patented.