Last week, Brian Chesters asked about a mysterious book music sold by Imhof & Mukle in London. Attached there are five pages from the 1893 catalog of "fils d'Eugene Thibouville", owned by the library of our society. This catalog was issued in 1893 and lists the instruments sold by the successors of the famous Thibouville who manufactured mechanical instruments such as the Organina. But at this time, most of the firm's production was dedicated to "fanfare" with copper instruments.
As you can see in the catalog pages, the Piano Executant Artiste may be operated either manually (by hand crank) or electric powered, and it was intended especially for dancing at home. Thibouville advertised 1,400 titles of music for it but, sorry to say, we have not the catalog! The price was high: 1800 F for the crank model, plus 350 F additionally for the electricity model, which is to be compared with the 40 F to be paid for an organette such as the Ullmaniphone which was advertised at the same time.
A funny thing you can read about the electric model is about what they call the "second installation". If you already have electricity at your home you only have to connect it to the motor. If not, you may be provided with a battery of galvanic cells, not only to have the piano working, but also its two lights and, the most important, you may use it for special applications such as electroplating, nickel-plating, gilding and silvering -- all pastimes very easy to do in your music room!
Lorraine Aressy - Perforons la musique
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 13:48:46 +0100
The catalog says: "The Piano Executant Artiste is the only French piano containing a mechanism that can reproduce pneumatically, with the help of punched cardboards, the musical airs."
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