Full Chisel Blog

July 26, 2010

1835 New-York Book of Prices

for Manufacturing Piano-fortes by The Society of Journeyman Piano-forte Makers is a fascinating book reprinted by the American Musical Instrument Society.  It also includes a list of New York piano, musical instrument makers, etc. plus a translated leaflet of what German Emigrants should do when traveling to America from 1833.

The information contained is fascinating in that it delineates prices for the finest details of the various steps of making a piano.  The stuff on veneering is interesting and the book gives a good idea of what it cost to get things one.  And because it is piece work for the various parts it can give insight to the time it took for various tasks and the compensation for each step.

I recommend the book to anyone interest in the minutia of the trade, and at $25.00 including postage and shipping it is well worth the money, and you know how cheap I am.  I saw a flyer hanging on a bulletin board when at the Piano Technicians Guild convention in Las Vegas at the end of June and sent them a check.  Got the book this morning and have been pursuing it with relish.


1 Comment »

  1. The forward, preface and introduction to this book give a good picture of the trade and society in which it took place. It is informative, well written and goes a long way in explaining what is included and what is not in the Price Book.

    The Book itself goes into fine detail of the process of making piano-fortes, but does not include all that involved in producing the final instrument. The actual words used also contribute to our understanding of early nineteenth century woodworking technology. ‘Jacked’ refers to rough work [done by a jack plane, undoubtedly with a highly cambered blade], ‘thickening up stuff’ for gluing wood together, but I am not sure what a ‘Dutch Clamp’ describes.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — August 1, 2010 @ 9:40 am

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