2022 our 25th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
42 members (BMKE, 80k, Alan F, Bett, 13 invisible), 2,511 guests, and 285 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 358
A
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 358
Does anyone know approximately what year/decade/era that half gauges (13 1/2 etc) were first invented, when they came into first use, and when their use became universal?

Would a mid 1880's grand be likely or not to have half gauges?

Thanks!

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 6,222
E
6000 Post Club Member
Online Content
6000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 6,222
They had half sizes from the time of the founding of Steinway and Chickering used them before that I think.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: toneman1@me.com
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 436
A
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 436
You mean specifically american pianos? Not every country used imperial gauge system, even in the 19th century, corresponding question for metric system would be: when wire with 25um diameter increments become available, I'm not a historian I'm only sure that it was used from the begining of the 20th century, but if I had to guess i would say 1860.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,645
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,645
This is a fairly interesting question. The gauge used now is named for the American Steel and Wire Company which existed from about 1899 to 1962. But it probably comes from before then. I think I may have some more information in my collection of literature, maybe Spillane or Dolge, but it is late so I will look it some other time.


Semipro Tech
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 358
A
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 358
OK, it's kinda rare I get kinda, uh, semi-stumped, but...

Mid 1880's Mathushek square, original strings. Family heirloom with quite a bit of sentimental value, so owner not upgrading, but owner not rich either, so no full restoration happening either. Budget is what it is, so lots of cheating and shortcuts and stuff ignored to fit results into the cash available. Owner knows ALL that, no issues with less than 5-star work as it were. Given no other tech within 200 miles will even look at it, not worried about my (deliberately, cuz budget) lackluster workmanship being judged.

This is a TINY PETITE thing, like half the size of my Steinway square. I can lift up one end easily, and I'm no bodybuilder. 85 notes, low C to high C. Excruciatingly small soundboard, like, damn, where's the soundboard? OH, THERE IT IS. Longest bass string barely 60 inches, then they get shorter FAST. ALL the strings are noticeably short, like sub-spinet short. Tuning pins measured at somewhere around a #0, less than a #1. Surprisingly tight pins, so a set of standard #2's will probably be too tight on some.

Got to micrometering the old wires, and huh, what?

First off lots of rust and corrosion, so measurements I assume a bit on the high side. Even so, when I got to the high treble, even after cleaning the rust off to be sure, I found not one (original) wire to be less than a 14 1/2 gauge, even on high C. These strings are ALL super duper short.

Plain wires go far into the bass section, lowest wire is a 24! Just that one, then a 23, then a 22, then a 21, one note each of each gauge. Then it settles down into like a JILLION each of the whole gauges, no half sizes, until up in the high end where it peters out with a slew of 14 1/2s.

The strings are so short and grow longer going down so imperceptibly, I'm wondering if there IS any point in throwing some half gauges in there (outa habit mostly). And I assume that the super shortness of the stringing scale generally lends itself to having unusually thick wires across the piano.

The owner just wants improvement so she can get back to her Beethoven and Chopin, and there's 0% risk of her ever noticing any harmonic weirdness if'n I screw this up.

All the same, I'm allergic to screwing up on principle, so I'm all ears as to how to proceed.

Dupe the old scale, shift things to thinner wires, throw in some half gauges so there's not 15 notes at one gauge in a row, what?

This ain't going in a concert hall y'all, so ya all don't have to be all Adrian Monk about this.

:-)

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,339
D
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,339
My 1878 Bluthner has the gauges written on the plate. I'll look when I get home.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,972
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,972
David,

Of course the question is, what wire maker was used, and what gauge scale did they use? If you still have the original wire on there it would need to be measured.

AOS,

What is the speaking length of note 85? If less than 53mm you can basically start with 12 1/2 up there and change half size every 4-6 unisons (with extra 17) and get an improvement over what is there.

Is there a possibility this was restrung once before? And they used whatever they had on hand?

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 358
A
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
A
Joined: Oct 2021
Posts: 358
What is the speaking length of note 85? If less than 53mm you can basically start with 12 1/2 up there and change half size every 4-6 unisons (with extra 17) and get an improvement over what is there.

Is there a possibility this was restrung once before? And they used whatever they had on hand?

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


***

Hello Peter!

Did not measure that. Piano is in Taos (1.5 hours 2 lane hwy) but can easily have owner measure it today and text me the length. Definitely original wires (century worth of rust!) and tuning pins (oblong between #0 and #1 diameter).

I'm thinking her Mathushek piano is the Colibri or Hummingbird model.

https://www.lindebladpiano.com/library/mathushek-piano-company

"The small “Colibri” piano was perhaps the most famous piano from the Mathushek Piano Company. The tone that came from the small Colibri was boasted to be richer and grander than many large square pianos at the time. Mathushek Piano Company also introduced the orchestral square pianos with a tone that many compared to a cello."

Pics:

https://antiquepianoshop.com/product/mathushek-colibri-model-victorian-square-grand-piano/

This piano is TINY. The tiniest square I have ever seen. As mentioned I can quite easily pick up one end, whereas I can't even budge my (massive) 1859 Steinway.

(When I walked in and saw it I just exclaimed "HOW CUTE!")

What's remarkable is that even though the soundboard is miniscule, it puts out way more volume than even seems possible.

I'll do exactly as you suggest (assuming note 85 length is less than 53mm).

Thank you! smile


Moderated by  Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
Piano Buyer - Read the Articles, Explore the website
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
More Bösendorfer 225 from the Chromatic Vortex
by James Gordon - 06/27/22 06:03 PM
Replacing fallboard decal
by Acceber - 06/27/22 03:44 PM
Your "Best Digital Piano" Opinion Requested
by IraBob - 06/27/22 02:18 PM
Yamaha rant
by WTF Bach - 06/27/22 01:58 PM
Crowdsourcing Fingerings and Solutions
by Papa D - 06/27/22 01:27 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
What's Hot!!
FREE June Newsletter is Here!
--------------------
Forums RULES, Terms of Service & HELP
(updated 06/06/2022)
-------------------
Music Store Going Out of Business Sale!
---------------------
Mr. PianoWorld's Original Composition
---------------------
Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums43
Topics213,698
Posts3,203,791
Members105,659
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2022 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5