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Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano firm founded by Octavius Beale (b Mountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland, 23 Feb 1850; d Stroud, New South Wales, Australia, 16 Dec 1930). Beale came to Australia with his family in 1854. Having been sent back to Ireland for schooling, he returned and was working in a hardware store in Melbourne at age 16. Later he became a partner with Hugo Wertheim in a hardware business that imported sewing machines and German upright pianos. In 1884 he moved to Sydney to set up Beale & Co. Ltd, importing pianos labelled ‘Hapsburg Beale’. In 1893, in Sydney, he established the first piano factory in Australia. In 1902 he opened a new factory at 47 Trafalgar St, Annandale, which became the largest piano factory in the southern hemisphere, employing more than 300 skilled workmen by 1907. The firm also made sewing machines and exported veneers.

Beale & Co. emphasised that their pianos were built to withstand hostile climates and kept quality high and costs low through the use of local skilled labour, Australian timbre, and making most components on site. They promoted the tuning stability and longevity of pianos with their ‘all-iron tuning system’, also known as the Beale–Vader tuning system, patented in ...

Article

W.D. Jordan

Australian firm of organ builders. It was founded by George Fincham (b London, 25 Aug 1828; d Melbourne, 21 Dec 1910), the pioneer of Australian organ building. The family originated in the English village of Fincham, Norfolk. George’s father Jonathan George Fincham (1796–1863) and grandfather John (b 1754) were both organ builders. In 1901 George’s son Leslie Valentine Hunter (1879–1955) became a partner in the firm, which continued under the direction of Leslie’s son George Bowring (b 1917) and grandson David George (b 31 Jan 1944).

George Fincham was apprenticed to Henry Bevington in London (1843–9) and then worked as foreman for James Bishop & Son, London, and Forster & Andrews of Hull. He emigrated to Australia in 1852, intending to establish an organ-building enterprise; he set up his first factory in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1862...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Australian piano manufacturing firm. It was founded by Wayne Stuart (b 28 March 1954, Ulverstone, Tasmania) in 1990 and is based in Newcastle. From 2000, the firm operated independently under the name Piano Australia Pty Ltd in conjunction with J. Albert & Son, an Australian music publishing and production firm. Stuart studied piano technology at the NSW State Conservatorium of Music (now the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and later with Nippon Gakki (Yamaha), Bösendorfer, Bechstein, Steinway, Grotrian-Steinweg, and Louis Renner.

Stuart set out to design a piano combining traditional and new technologies that would increase dynamic range and sustaining power. A core feature is a metal agraffe for string coupling at the bridge that bends the wire in the vertical plane instead of the normal horizontal plane, so as to encourage the wire to vibrate in the same plane as the hammer strike and discourage elliptical and non-vertical oscillations during the decay, thus producing a more regular decay pattern with an even and long sustain....