Alphaeus Babcock was one of the most important figures in the development of the piano in America. His most important invention was the cast-iron frame, adopted by Chickering, then by Steinway and everbody else - making possible the development of the modern piano that we know today.
He is perhaps less well-known for his work in the 1820s, when he made a substantial number of pianos to be sold by the Mackay family in Boston and New York. The story is told in this excellent article by Darcy Kuronen:
A few of these early pianos survive in America, but this is the only one I have seen in the UK. Made about 1824, technically it is basically similar to contemporary London pianos. (These are the keys that are 'missing' in the later pictures.)
The piano does need a fair amount of work to restore it, but as far as we can see practically all the bits are there, and there is no indication of any undesirable intervention.
The piano retains all six legs and the pedal, and the loose hammers are present.
As so often happens with square pianos, the area around one of the main hinges has been damaged, probably as a consequence of being propped open at one end. Note the brass inlay!
So here we have a rare opportunity for enthusiasts on this side of the Pond to own a fine eaxample of an early American square piano, by the most distinguished of the makers.
This one is in the W2 area of London; the price is just £200. Please contact the owner, Francesca White.