Making Pianos In The 1800's Was Both An Art And A Science!
Pianos have been setting around peoples homes for so long, that we hardly stop anymore to consider what went into making them. In fact, many of the pianos still sitting around were made before electricity! So how in the world did they make them? Did you know that a piano might have 236 strings!! That's 236 holes drilled in a laminated maple hardwood pin block. Every hammer is connected to a wooden jack system that is called a whippin, which may have 30 or so little pins and pieces on each one, 88 of them finely shaped and assembled to perfection! They are what give the piano key it's smooth feel to press and strike the string, then fall back to reset to play again. Though there is definitely a lot of handiwork and hand carving that goes into the artistic touches, there is also the need for power tools to make production smooth, fast, and accurate.
This first video shows the type of ingenuity people came up with to make a lathe without electricity. It's a bit comical to watch.
But people didn't want to work that hard, and so they harnessed the power of water, of horses and oxen in the fields, and always found an easier way to do things. This shop is one of the ways power tools were utilized in the early manufacturing of pianos and other furniture in the 1800's.