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date: 20 October 2020


  • M.C. Carr
  • , revised by Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume


French family of reed organ makers. Jean-Baptiste-Napoléon Fourneaux (b Leard, Ardennes, May 21, 1808; d Aubanton, Aisne, July 19, 1846) began his career as a clockmaker. In 1830 he settled in Paris and in 1836 bought the business of Chameroy, a maker of accordions and mechanical organs since 1829. Fourneaux became a significant maker of accordions at the exhibition of 1844 he received a silver medal for his orgues expressifs. He built another model of reed organ which he called the ‘Orchestrion’, and invented the percussion action in reed organs.

His sons Jean-Nestor-Napoléon Fourneaux and Jean-Louis-Napoléon Fourneaux (b Paris, 1830) expanded the business which was located in the 10e arrondissement of Paris: in 1860 they were employing 46 workers. Jean-Louis-Napoléon made further improvements to the orgues expressif, and was responsible for a number of inventions, including the ‘melodina’ (1855), the ‘pianista pneumatique’ (1863...

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