Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/733

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

strung square and cottage pianos. Whether he acquired Boehm's invention or not, we do not know.

Great use of iron was made by Dr. Steward (still living at Handsworth near Birmingham) in a novel upright pianoforte which he called the Euphonicon, and brought out in London in 1844. His patent (No. 9023), which is dated July 1841, includes a complete metal framing, and separate soundboards, three in number. The instruments were of elegant appearance, and the long strings, in harplike form, were exposed to view.[1] Though unsuccessful, the Euphonicon should not be forgotten. There is one in South Kensington Museum in the musical instrument collection.

To return to America. In 1853 Jonas Chickering combined the overstringing with a metal frame in one casting, in a square piano which he did not live to see completed, but which was finished by his sons. This combination was taken up by Messrs. Steinway & Sons of New York, and further improved in 1859 by the addition of an 'agraffe' (or metal stud) bridge; they then, by dividing the overstringing into two crossings, produced a double overstrung scale. In the same year this firm patented in America a grand piano with fan-shaped overstrung scale in one casting, a diagram of which will show the arrangement of ironwork and bridges (Fig. 15). This system of Messrs. Steinway's has been adopted by some of the foremost makers in Germany, which it may be mentioned is the native country of the firm. [See Steinway.]

Fig. 15.  Fig. 16.
Page 733a (A Dictionary of Music and Musicians-Volume 2).jpg
Page 733b (A Dictionary of Music and Musicians-Volume 2).jpg

Mr. Henry Fowler Broadwood's special concert-grand iron framing, with diagonal tension-bar and transverse suspension-bar, was invented by him in 1847, and has been used by his firm ever since. Mr. Broadwood objects to single castings, preferring a combination of cast and wrought iron, wedged up at the points of abutment, into a thoroughly solid structure. His plan gets rid of some of the tension bars, which he believes to be more or less inimical to carrying and equality of tone. The difference between this and his father's or Erard's scale is great; and it only approaches the American which it preceded in grand pianos in the fact that the framing is independent of the wooden structure of the instrument. A comparison of the diagram (Fig. 16) with Steinway's (Fig. 15) makes this difference obvious (the diagonal bar is lettered u, the suspension-bar t). The tension-bars are flanged to preserve them from twisting under the high tension adopted, the wire for the treble notes being now thicker than that for the bass formerly was. Allen's metal wrestplank remained for more than twenty years in abeyance, although single plates of metal, allowing room for the pin-holes in the wooden block, had been used from time to time.[2] The late H. Wölfel of Paris brought out about 1854 a metal wrestplank with mechanical screwpins, an idea for tuning often tried, but always unsuccessfully. Wölfel's next idea was to use boxwood plugs in the pinholes, so that the pins should not touch the metal. The difficulty was at last met by Mr. H. F. Broadwood. In his invention the tuning- pin screws accurately into the thick metal wrestpin-piece.and through it into

  1. In the harp shape Or. Steward had been anticipated by Munsard of Lausanne. We have seen a piano so made by him in 1819.
  2. An independent iron wrestplate, attached to the wooden wrestplank, was proposed by J. C. Schwleso, a harp-maker in London, who took out a patent (No. 6069) for it in 1831. Schwieso's tuning-pin pierced the wrestplate, and was tapped at the upper end; the immobility of the pin, to which the string was attached at the lower end (as in a harp, or Cristofori's first pianos) being ensured by friction collars and washers. We do not know if this wrestplate answered, or was ever tried in a pianoforte. Schwieso adapted it for use in harps, violins, and guitars.