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STODART
in London

1795

Patent of 1795 : "Jan. 12, 1795. — William Stodart. An upright piano in the form of a bookcase, in which both the hammers and dampers are returned by weight." The History of the Pianoforte: With an Account of the Theory of Sound & Also of the Music and Musical Instruments of the Ancients, Edgar Brinsmead, 1879, p. 197 (archive.org)

1821

NEW PATENT FOR AN IMPROVEMENT OF THE PIANO FORTE.

Patent of 1821 : "Mr. Stodart, of Golden-square, London, is well known as being the inventor of the Upright Piano Forte, nnd he has lately purchased from Messrs. Thom and Allen, two of his workmen, their interest In a patent for an ingenious contrivance to prevent those fluctuations in the pitch of strings wHich arise from change of atmospheric temperature.

The idea is simple and philosophical, and has been long since applied to chronometers, th6ugh its operation in those delicate instruments is the reverse of that to which it has now been turned.

— The principle then is to compensate the natural expansion of strings through heat or their contraction through cold, by providing an apparatus possessing the same properties as the strings themselves, upon which they are stretched. To this intent a plate of brass is laid over the belly of the instrument, of about two inches wide, and corresponding in shape with and placed close to the curved side of instrument: to this the strings are fastened in the usual way.

The bar which constitutes the front is fixed in its place, about nine inches from the front, by iron clamps, which preclude its moving, and under this bar the strings pass to the pegs, as is customary in other piano fortes. Within this frame and parallel to the strings, but above them, are placed tubes, about three quarters of an inch in diameter, of a similar metal to the string beneath, i.e. brass above the brass and 6teel above the steel.

One end of these tubes is placed against the curved side of the frame, the other against the straight bar.

They are prevented from rising or curving upwards, through the stress of the tension upon the string, by stout bars of wood laid across. The effect contemplated in this construction is, that as the temperature affects the strings either by expansion or contraction, it will also affect the tubes, which extending or relaxing consentaneously, as it were, with the strings, (It is an opinion commonly receWed that strings will stretch almost indefinitely if the tension be conducted slowly and gradually; but this doctrine is, we beliere, contradicted by facts.

Strings baring undergone a certain degrc« are susceptible of no further tension.) will compensate the difference, by allowing the whole frame to coincide with their action.

The only conjecture unfavorable to this project which reason suggests, appears to lie in the size of the different masses of metal to be acted upon by heat and cold, but experiment has determined that the expansion and contraction of the larger and the smaller body are so nearly alike as entirely to answer the purpose.

A grand piano has been removed from a low to a high temperature, and back again, without undergoing any perceptible difference in the pitch, or going out of tune in the smallest degree.

In addition to this the main purpose, other benefits are found in the facility it affords in tuning, and in the superior excellence of the tone, which is improved both in volume and quality. This circumstance may be traced cither to four separate causes, or to a combination of them all.

1. From the whole tension of the strings being taken off the sounding board, which is thus left to a free and natural vibration. The proof is to be perceived in the longer duration of the vibration in an instrument of this construction, when the strings are struck and the dampers taken off. This duration exceeds, by almost one third, the length of time which piano fortes upon the old plan continue their sound. In slow movements, the tones therefore syncopate or connect themselves much more beautifully.

2. No braces are required to strengthen the instrument. A great weight of wood is therefore removed, and the body of the pianoforte remains hollow, which certainly improves the tone.

3. The tubes themselves may, by their cylindrical form, add to the augmentation of the tone.

4. As there will be no strain upon the belly of the instrument, it will be more likely to continue to preserve its original level shape, and retain undiminished its power of vibration — a circumstance which cannot fail to add to the durability of the instrument, for in a six-octave grand piano forte the pull upon the strings is at least equal to the prodigious weight of six tons and a half.

Such are the benefits which this invention confers; and these gentlemen have thus given another proof of the advantages to be derived from a scientific application of philosophy to the mechanical arts." The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review vol. III, 1821, p. 185-187

1856

Patent of 1856 : "WILLIAM OWEN, of the firm of Owen, Stodart, and Company, of Red Lion Square, in the County of Middlesex, Piano-forte Manufacturers, for an invention for - an improvement in piano-fortes." The London Gazette, 08/02/1856, p. 520 (thegazette.co.uk)


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