home Pianoforte-makers in England | links


 

KIRKMAN
in London

1851

 

Miniature Grand Pianoforte,
The Crystal Palace, and its contents : being an illustrated cyclopaedia of the great exhibition of the industry of all nations, 1851, p. 201 (archive.org)

LONDON - "467 Kirkman, J. & Sohn, 3 Soho Square u. 9 Dean Str. –Ein MÄ vollständiges Modell eines grossen Pianofortes aus Elfenbein, mit Verbesserungen." Amtlicher Catalog der Ausstellung der Industrie-Erzeugnisse aller Völker, 1851, p. 66

LONDON - "Messrs. Kirkman and Son contribute a grand, 7 octaves, A to A, and a bichord (“fonda”) grand, 6¾ octaves, C to A, of the usual construction; also a low upright, 6¾ octaves, C to A, with three strings to each note, placed obliquely, and having also metallic bracing-bars in front of the sound-board.

The same firm also exhibits a model of a bichord grand, perfect in its construction in every respect. It has a compass of 6¾ octaves, C to G, and every note sounds the same pitch as the full-sized instrument. It has metallic bracing and string-plate, upward bearing, grand check-action, pedals, and all modern improvements. The following table of dimensions of this model and the real instrument will shew its comparative size.

  Dimens. of ordinary Bichord Grand. Dimens. of Messrs. Kirkmans' Model.
 

FT - IN.

FT. - IN.

Outside length 7 - 0 4 - 1
width 4 - 3 2 - 10
Height from the ground to top of instr. 3 - 2 1 - 8 1/2
Length of key-board 3 - 7 1/2 2 - 2 1/2
each octave 0 - 6 1/2 0 - 3 15/16
Depth of the keys from front to back 0 - 5 3/8 0 - 3 1/2

The tone of this lilliputian instrument is wonderful for its size, and the workmanship throughout is perfect." Newton's London Journal of Arts and Sciences, 1851, p. 35

LONDON - "But the greatest attraction in this department appears to be the miniature model grand of Messrs. Kirkman.

The art and science of pianoforte-making seems to be concentrated in tl'is little instrument : and were it not there to speak for itself, no one would believe it possible to produce such clear, full, and sparkling tones in so small a compass, while no difficulty seems to be avoided, having 6¾ octaves and all the modern improvements. [...]

Another improvement, also by Messrs. Kirkman, is tlie addition of metal bracings to their oblique pianofortes, and the introduction of drilled metal studs and the harmonic bar fir tiic improvement of the upper notes, so often defective in this class of instruments." The Crystal Palace, and its contents : being an illustrated cyclopaedia of the great exhibition of the industry of all nations, 1851, p. 42 (archive.org)

LONDON - "The oblique pianoforte, in ebony and gold, in the Italian style, with well-designed carved frets, &c., by Messrs. Kirkman,is a graceful and elegant instrument." Crystal Palace, and its contents : being an illustrated cyclopaedia of the great exhibition of the industry of all nations, 1851, p. 202 (archive.org)

LONDON - "467 Kirkman, Joseph, & Son, 3 Soho Square, and 9 Dean Street—Manufacturers. Miniature model of a grand pianoforte, six and threequarter octaves, metal braces, and drilled bridges. Seven octave, full grand pianoforte, with repetition action, in rosewood case. The fonda semi-grand pianoforte, in walnut case. Oblique piccolo pianoforte." Official description and illustrated catalogue of the Great exhibition, 1851, p. 464

1853

DUBLIN - "699 Kirkman, J. & Son, London, Inv. and Manu, Mackintosh & Co. Exhibitors. — Pianofortes of various styles and descriptions." Official Catalogue of the Great Industrial Exhibition, in connection with the Royal Dublin Society, 1853, p. 61

1862

 

"Concert Grand Pianoforte,
with seven octaves, A to A, under-dampers, repetition action, and all the latest improvements, in solid rosewood case, elaborately carved. The case of this instrument was carved at Madras, East Indies : the designs and working drawings were sent from England by J. KIRKMAN & SON; the case was made, and the carvings executed, by the native workmen in the most correct manner. As a specimen of native Indian skilled labour it is interesting, as showing the ready capability of the native carvers to apply the art in which they excel to any purpose that may be required. The top of this pianoforte is made out of a solid piece of rosewood, without a joint; it is 5 feet wide, and even in India it is rare to meet with rosewood of such large dimensions. The piano is exhibited in the Indian Department." The International Exhibition of 1862, p. 109

 

 

"Patent Improved Semi-Cottage Pianoforte, with seven octaves, A to A, and all the latest improvements, in ebony case richly carved and gilt." The International Exhibition of 1862, p. 110

 

 

"Concert Grand Pianoforte,
with seven octaves, A to A, repeating action, and underdampers, with new and improved up and down bearing bridges to preserve the sounding board in perfect aquilibrium, and prevent its sinking; in English pollard oak case richly carved and gilt." The International Exhibition of 1862, p. 110

 

 

"Patent Improved Trichord Semi-Cottage Pianoforte,
with seven octaves, A tot A; single action, English model, and all the latest improvements, in walnut, tulip-wood, and ebony case." The International Exhibition of 1862, p. 111

 

 

"Oblique Grand Pianoforte,
with seven octaves, A to A; grand check action, and under-dampers, with improved sounding board, in Amboyna-wood case carved and gilt." The International Exhibition of 1862, p. 111

LONDON - "3418 Kirkman J. & Son, 3, Soho-sq. — Pianofortes." International exhibition, 1862 : Official catalogue of the industrial department, 1862, p. 54

LONDON - "Having already referred generally to the musical instruments in the Exhibition, it is not necessary to dilate upon the excellence of the pianos exhibited by Messrs.

Kirkman and Son, of Solio Square; we introduce an illustration in order to show the beauty of the case merely—its exquisite tone is well known to all who had the pleasure of hearing it played upon.

The Oblique Grand was exhibited in the Indian Department. It was seven octaves, from A to A, with undcrdampers, repetition action, and all the latest improvements.

The rosewood case of this fine instrument was elaborately carved at Madras.

The designs and working drawings were sent from England by J. Kirkman and Son; the case was made, and the carvings executed, by the native workmen in the most correct manner.

As a specimen of the native Indian skilled labour it is interesting, as showing the ready capability of the native carvers to apply the art in which they excel to any purpose that may be required.

The top of this pianoforte is made out of a solid piece of rosewood, without a joint; it is five feet wide, and even in India it is rare to meet with rosewood of such large dimensions." Cassell's Illustrated Exhibitor: Containing about Three Hundred, 1862, p. 272

LONDON - "Messrs. Kirkman and Son (3418), one of the oldest houses in the trade, exhibit a concert grand. in a handsome case, carved at Madras by Indian workmen; three other grands, and four upright pianos, exhibiting difi'erent varieties of manufacture.

They also show a new method of mounting the string of the grand on the back bridge. They receive a Medal for beauty of tone and general excellence of construction." Reports by the Juries on the subjects in the thirty-six classes into which ..., 1862, p. 148

LONDON - "Messrs. Kirkman in one of their grand pianofortes had a new bridge to prevent the sinking of the sounding-board, which is applied in a very scientific and thoroughly mechanical manner, and for certain classes of pianofortes must be a valuable improvement." The International exhibition. The industry, science, & art of the age, 1863, p. 150

1865

DUBLIN - "314 Kirkman, J. & Son 3 Soho sq. London, W. — Pianoforte." The illustrated record and descriptive catalogue of the Dublin international exhibition, 1865, p. 241

1867

PARIS - "Messrs. Kirkman exhibit two full grands, a "boudoir" grand," and a "piccolo ;" and too much praise can scarcely be awarded to this firm for the altogether admirable specimens which they have now placed before the public.

From English their full grand at 175 guineas, down to the piccolo at 48 pianos. guineas, the instruments are, one and all, excellent." Reports on the Paris Universal Exhibition, 1867, Volume 2, p. 199

1872

LONDON - "In Room No. 13 are three instruments by Messrs. Kirkman. One is a full-sized concert grand, one a boudoir grand, and one a semi-grand. It appears that Messrs. Kirkman have made great advancement in the manufacture of piano fortes. Metal frame-works have been generally adopted by the trade; they are of cast and wrought-iron.

The cast-iron frames are made in one or two pieces. Uncertainties surround the operation of casting, as the iron, when cooling, is apt to shrink unevenly or to curl, all of which incidents are inimical to the true fitting of the action and strings afterwards.

Messrs. Kirkman, appreciating the importance of these facts, have adopted steel as the material for the frames of their best and most expressive pianos.

As may be well known, steel is much lighter, harder, and more capable of precise mechanical manipulation than cast or wrought iron.

The advantages arising from employing this material are therefore apparent. The tone of this instrument is powerful, round, and even, while the action is well balanced, and enables the performer to obtain (as perfectly as any interposed mechanism will allow) nuances of expression as varied as the violinist produces out of his violin.

And here may be interposed that a greater perfection of mechanical fitting and of strength could be obtained if Messrs. Kirkman were to employ some new kind of steel invented by Sir Joseph Whitworth, who has entirely got rid of the air-holes which occur in steel castings. The semigrand piano is made upon a similar mode of construction as the grand. The boudoir grand is less expensive.

The frame-work is of cast-iron. All the internal mechanism is thoroughly well executed. Resembling the arrangement adopted on the Continent, the bass strings, to obtain the greatest length of string, are strung obliquely above the strings of the alto and treble clefs of the piano.

This arrangement is not satisfactory, since it generally affects the tone of the tenor clef, and unless some compensation is effected in the disposition of the sounding board, by which a kind of reaction may be created, a twangyness of tone is noticeable.

Messrs. Kirkman are to be congratulated on having surmounted this difficulty, since the tone of their boudoir grand piano is throughout even and pleasant.

The action of each of these three instruments is a “repetition” one, though, for the matter of that, a well-constructed action with a medium escapement and good check, provides, to an average pianist, the means of producing that repetition, which the soi-disant “repetition” action professes to do for the beginner or indolent performer." Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, 1872, p. 890-891

For references see page
alfabetic K


 © Copyright all rights reserved | contact