Houston & Co. Square Piano

Description (Brief)
This square piano was made by Houston & Co., London, England around 1795. This piano features a “nag’s head” swell which is a pedal-operated stop that pushes a rod, sometimes shaped something like a horse’s head, against the part of the piano’s lid in the front and to the right of the keyboard. This allowed more volume out of the piano when the lid was down and could be used to make a crescendo and diminuendo effect. The piano is serial number 1434 and has a compass of FF-f3, an English double (Geib “grasshopper”) action, leather hammers, double-strings throughout with the tuning pins on the right, 1 pedal: “nag’s head” swell, 2 hand stops: lute and dampers, a wood frame, and a mahogany case.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Houston & Co.
Place Made
United Kingdom: England, London
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Hugo Worch
Additional Media

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