Wornum Albion Square

  The early nineteenth century was a time of unprecedented innovation, and in the world of pianos Robert Wornum was surely the most inventive of them all.  The most successful of his ideas was the tape-check action for uprights - still in use today - but there were many others including down-striking grands and 'equal tension' uprights.  One theme that seems to run through his ideas was the desire to make his instruments as compact as possible, and this characteristic is seen in this example - the nearest we will see to a literally 'square' piano.

  This compact and elegant arrangement was achieved by utilising the space under the keys, running the strings from front to back, and having a down-striking action.

  In the picture below, we see the tuning-pins, just in front of the keyboard. They are normally concealed beneath a wooden cover.

Here's the cover in place over the tuning-pins.

  A consequence of this arrangement and the compact size is that the bass strings are considerably  shorter than normal.  

 

  The date, September 1844, is seen on one of the keys.

  The piano has not been tuned for more than fifty years, but seems to be in generally good condition.  Unfortunately, the pedal is missing.  

 

  This piano is in Dallas, Texas.  Offers of interest to purchase to the owner, Elaine.    villaselaine@gmail.com

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© David Hackett