Square Piano by Longman and Broderip N°1846, London c.1788
This interesting square piano by Longman and Broderip has a compass of 5 octaves (FF-f³), with an early double action and overhead lever dampers. There are three hand levers which operate a lute stop and a split sustain.
The case of the instrument is in mahogany with line inlay, resting on a French stand. The keywell is in satinwood with tulipwood cross-banding, the nameboard is inlaid with swags and bears an enamel name-plaque. The serial number of the instrument is stamped in the leverwell.
Nameboard inscription reads: "By Royal Patent ⁄Longman & Broderip ⁄ Musical Instrument Makers ⁄ N° 26 Cheapside & N° 13 Haymarket ⁄ London".
This instrument is tuned to a¹=415.
In 1787 the piano maker John Geib patented a design for a new type of action for the pianoforte, which introduced a spring-activated jack to the key and an intermediate lever beneath the hammer. This arrangement gave a greater range of dynamic expression to the piano and within a few years developed into a design which became the standard English ′double′ action. The action of this square piano represents an intermediate stage in the development of the double action, less complicated than the original but not as easy to mass produce and fit as the final design - a rare piece of the history of the piano.
This instrument has been fully restored in our workshops and is available to play and inspect by appointment.
This instrument was sold in 2012.
For more information on John Geib and the English double action, see Thomas Strange & Jenny Nex′s article here.