Square Piano (William Rolfe & Sons)

Catalogue number: 12.3

Original name: Square Piano.

Maker: William Rolfe & Sons.

Place of origin: London, c.1790.

Overall size: Compass: 5 ½ octaves: F1 - C7.

Current ownership: Martin Perkins.

Inscription: Name plate above keyboard; instruction sheet inside instrument: “BY ROYAL PATENT / [motif: royal appointment crest] / Wm. Rolfe & Sons, / Real Manufacturer / OF GRAND AND SQUARE PIANOFORTES &C. / No. 112, Cheapside, opposite Bow Church, / and at their Manufactory. / London Wall, near Coleman Street, London / [line] / W. Rolfe sensible of the Injury which Instruments of every / description sustain from the inexperience presumes it will not be / thought altogether inconsistent if he offers a few observations for / the benefit of those whom practice has not rendered efficient. / DIRECTIONS / for Regulating the Patent Double action Piano Forte. / If the hammer by use gets unequal & ceases to answer the finger / with that accuracy required, take out the fore-boards & turn the brass / screw which projects from the lever fixed in the Key inwards particularly / observing that when the Key is softly press’d down the ham[me]r. uses no higher / than within an 8th of an Inch of the string - otherwise when the Key / is struck it will remain fix’d against the wires & destroy that tone it is / calculated to produce.

If on the other hand the hammer itself is implied / to remain against the string after it has performed its office the contrary will / effect the necessary alteration. To take out a key press it down in front, / extricate the Lever from under hammer by removing it forward with / the fore finger, then lift the key up beyond the center [sic.] pin & it will come / out with ease. If a key should stick on its centre or in front it may be / necessary to take it out observing the above directions & with a penknife to scrape the corrosive matter occasioned by the friction of the pins which / guide it within the mortises: the key will then play with ease. / Scale of Strings / [diagram of string scaling on one stave: “Lowest Note / to [D#] / Cover’d Strings”, “from [E] to [F#] / 14 Brass”, “[G] to [B] / 13 Do”, “[c] to [d#] / 12 Do”, “[e] to [g] / 12 Steel”, “[g#] to [e’] \ 11 Steel”, and “[f’] to ye high’t Note / 10 Steel”.

Repair history: The action has been significantly altered.

Illustration references: See below.

Gallery of Images