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date: 17 November 2019

Meyer, Conradlocked

  • Margaret Cranmer

Extract

(b Marburg, Germany, September 18, 1793; d Philadelphia, PA, 1881). American piano maker of German birth. He immigrated to the United States and settled in Baltimore in 1819, subsequently working for the piano maker Joseph Hisky. In 1829 he settled in Philadelphia, where he started his own firm, and in 1833 exhibited one piano with “shifting or transposing action” and a square piano with an iron frame at the Franklin Institute. He later claimed that this square was made in 1832 and was unique in the United States for its single cast-iron frame. He did not patent it, and was in fact preceded by Alpheus Babcock, who patented a similar frame in 1825. But Meyer was often credited with this clever design, which permitted greater string tension and consequently a more resonant tone. Spillane (1890) wrote that Meyer made excellent pianos and that on Meyer’s death the firm passed to his sons. The firm continued into at least the 1890s. A collection of his papers is held by the Winterthur Museum, Delaware....

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