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#2225047 - 02/03/14 08:30 AM Some snowy morning fun!
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9396
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
So I am at my office this morning and frankly, it is snowing right now and will continue through the day. I will not have lots of "in store" traffic.

This gives me a little time to share an unusual piano with my friends here and also have a little fun. The questions are:

1 What is it?

2 When was it built?

3 Can you tell me anything about the design?










For those who aren't familiar with some of the more unusual designs, let me assure you there is no photoshop going on. The piano is as it appears.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2225052 - 02/03/14 08:38 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Eric Gloo Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1266
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
I have a guess on #1.

1. It's a piano.
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Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2225058 - 02/03/14 08:42 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
WurliFan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 205
Loc: Western PA
1. Mathushek Concert Grand.
2. Late 1800s or Early Early 1900s
3. Honestly, I don't know much about the designs.....eh....*Guesses*
It seems to evoke more of a Classical-ish styling. Is there a proper name for it?
_________________________
1952 Wurlitzer 2150 Spinet...'The boogie-nator' laugh
I'm OCD with pianos, spinets in particular.
Famous Studios That Have Used Spinets in the 50s, just for fun!
Sun Records
Specialty Records
Atlantic Records
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Stax Records
Imperial Records
Chess Records
Still counting.....

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#2225067 - 02/03/14 08:57 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
It seems to be built with a bass-side opening lid(s). Custom designed for a specific environment?

This piano has many contradictions. The fallboard logo would indicate the 1870-80's, but I not sure they built grands at that time. It was the era of their square pianos.

If it was actually built by one of the Mathushek affiliated companies, I would guess it would be from the 1910-1920's. Custom built as a one-off.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2225070 - 02/03/14 09:01 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9396
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty


This piano has many contradictions.


It does... or does it? wink
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2225078 - 02/03/14 09:12 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
It was built to perform the Beethoven Contredanses.
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2225085 - 02/03/14 09:21 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Tweedpipe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 435
Rich, always ready for a bit of fun.......
1. A large object below a window with snow outside.
2. Way before I was born!
3. A 3-legged finger exerciser.
wink


Edited by Tweedpipe (02/03/14 09:22 AM)
_________________________
Dear Noah,
We could have sworn you said the ark wasn't leaving till 5.
Yours sincerely,
The Unicorns



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#2225093 - 02/03/14 09:35 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Rank Piano Amateur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1793
It sounds from the brief bios I have found on line as though Mr. Mathushek let a fairly frustrated existence--a prolific inventor who died in poverty. He probably built a lot of one-off pianos to experiment with his various ideas, alas a sure road to bankruptcy. I agree with Minnesota Marty about the fallboard--as far as I could find out, he added "& Son" to his name in 1905 and also moved from New Haven, so if the fallboard is accurate it has to predate 1905.

Rich, I assume that you have additional information--I would love to know more! Whatever it is, it is gorgeous and fascinating.

As you can tell, I'm snowed in too!


Edited by Rank Piano Amateur (02/03/14 09:36 AM)

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#2225097 - 02/03/14 09:42 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
rjc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/03/08
Posts: 13
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Rich,

How does it sound?



Robert
_________________________
rjc

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#2225098 - 02/03/14 09:43 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
rjc Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/03/08
Posts: 13
Loc: New Jersey
Hi Rich,

How does it sound?



Robert
_________________________
rjc

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#2225121 - 02/03/14 10:16 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
It must have an echo!

an echo

echo
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Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2225147 - 02/03/14 11:14 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Eric Gloo Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1266
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
The case is the reverse of the standard grand. The curve is on the bass side. Does this actually allow for longer bass strings?
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2225151 - 02/03/14 11:20 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Eric Gloo]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9396
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
The case is the reverse of the standard grand. The curve is on the bass side. Does this actually allow for longer bass strings?


Absolutely Eric. It is definitely a reverse case design. Tell me what you are thinking about string length and add your thoughts on what this design might do to the bridge placement as well.

So far, so fun people. smile
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2225154 - 02/03/14 11:26 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21910
Loc: Oakland
It looks to be about 1880 rosewood grand built in a reverse configuration, with some oddity with the lid, which looks to have some extra parts. I suspect it is in someone's display of instruments, judging by the keys, pin blocks, and lid mounted behind it, so it is either in a store or a museum.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225171 - 02/03/14 11:46 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1843
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Seems like the maker did something unique with the agraffes.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2225172 - 02/03/14 11:48 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Eric Gloo Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1266
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Absolutely Eric. It is definitely a reverse case design. Tell me what you are thinking about string length and add your thoughts on what this design might do to the bridge placement as well.


As far as string length, the reverse case design allows for the bass strings to run much more diagonally than in a normal case design. Is the bass bridge running somewhat parallel to the treble side of the case? Or, is there more than one bass bridge? Or, does the bass bridge look like an upside down and backwards "L", with part of it running parallel to the rear end of the case, and the rest running down the straight side?

Are there wound strings in the tenor section, with a separate bridge?

Does the lid offer 4 possible ways to be used? Closed (as shown). Front section up/rear section down. Front section down/rear section up. Both sections up.
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2225174 - 02/03/14 11:50 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Eric Gloo Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1266
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Or...OR...is it straight strung, with no separate bass bridge?


Edited by Eric Gloo (02/03/14 11:51 AM)
Edit Reason: Because inquiring minds want to know!
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2225177 - 02/03/14 11:55 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Judging by the floor, doors, and wind screen, I would guess it resides in all of it's backwards glory in Germantown.

I'm very confused by the double opening lid. I've never seen anything like it before. It seems to have both a 'trunk' and a 'hood.'
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2225179 - 02/03/14 11:58 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
One big question is if it is overstrung.

Rich, how about a photo with the lids open?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2225180 - 02/03/14 11:59 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1843
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Seems like the maker did something unique with the agraffes.


No contact with the plate. But not sure which model.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2225192 - 02/03/14 12:15 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: bkw58]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1843
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Seems like the maker did something unique with the agraffes.


No contact with the plate. But not sure which model.


A forerunner to bridge agraffes but placement was different - suspend atop and bearing upon the strings, I think. Again, not sure about the model.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2225237 - 02/03/14 02:16 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9396
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Nice comments so far!

As far as the aggraffes are concerned they are totally normal and similar to modern aggraffes today.

I have included two more photos:



There are two half lids. The back and front half both open up towards the player. It does not open at the side at all.




Notice the bass bridge placement and the grain configuration of the soundboard.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2225245 - 02/03/14 02:27 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21910
Loc: Oakland
Probably made for a half-deaf left-handed pianist!

Seems to be missing a bass string.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225251 - 02/03/14 02:38 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: BDB]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9396
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: BDB
Probably made for a half-deaf left-handed pianist!

Seems to be missing a bass string.


Nope. All strings are there, BDB. But the treble crosses under the bass at a weird angle. I think I see what you were seeing. It is an optical illusion.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2225264 - 02/03/14 03:13 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Well, that top-lift was a surprise!

Are there two soundboards, or is that an optical illusion?

The bass board (right) seems to be higher than the treble board (left)?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2225267 - 02/03/14 03:21 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2789
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
From what I can see the bridge is near the center of the soundboard. Presumably this maximizes energy transference to the board. The tenor bridge is in practically in the center of the sound board with presumably the same effect. One would surmise that the bridge placement is deliberate and has a positive impact on the sound. The configuration would allow the longest bass strings while placing the bridge in the center of the sound board. What I want to know is has this beast been rebuilt (yet)? and If so, how does it sound?

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#2225318 - 02/03/14 05:52 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
This is very reminiscent of various "Glockenflügel" (literally "Bell Grand") = grands with symmetrical body shapes. These were made by a number of German makers around 1890-1910: Ibach, Knake, Förster, Steingraeber etc.
There has been at least one thread in the past about these beasts.
see http://www.ibach.de/Ibach_Museum/glocker.jpg
http://www.klavierhalle.de/database/dt111773637/eb_111773637_1600_05.jpg
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#2225374 - 02/03/14 07:44 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1772
Loc: California
How long is that piano? I am not good at judging distances in pictures, but it does look somewhat longer than most grands to me.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2225380 - 02/03/14 07:53 PM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Steve Chandler]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21910
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
From what I can see the bridge is near the center of the soundboard. Presumably this maximizes energy transference to the board. The tenor bridge is in practically in the center of the sound board with presumably the same effect. One would surmise that the bridge placement is deliberate and has a positive impact on the sound. The configuration would allow the longest bass strings while placing the bridge in the center of the sound board. What I want to know is has this beast been rebuilt (yet)? and If so, how does it sound?


Clearly it has been rebuilt.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2225595 - 02/04/14 05:27 AM Re: Some snowy morning fun! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9396
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Yes, this piano has been rebuilt. This instrument belongs to St. Charles Seminary here in the Philadelphia area. We feel it was originally built in 1884. That is a guess as the Pierce Atlas only gives us 1880 - 1885, but I believe we found markings from 1884 inside the piano.

It is so unusually different in scale and from the 21st century eye, certainly not a failure, but maybe different enough to miss the market demand of the time.

I was happy to have a little time to share this instrument here and you saw a good bit about what makes this piano cool. Here is something you cannot see. The piano has no pin block.

That's right - no pin block. Instead the iron frame has a little compartment under every tuning pin and a small block of laminated maple is fit into that compartment, so I guess you could say that the piano has over 200 little pin blocks. How amazingly and needlessly complicated.

In speculating why they would go through such trouble, the only thing we could come up with is the possibility of dealing with a loose pin, permanently and individually, as they happened. I personally think that Mathushek, clearly a skilled engineer, was trying to differentiate his product and stand out from the crowd.

I welcome any other comments or questions and thank you for all of the contributions so far.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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