Soufleto & Cie. Upright Piano

Soufleto & Cie. Upright Piano

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Description (Brief)
This upright piano was made by François Soufleto & Cie in Paris, France after 1850. François Soufleto & Cie was established in 1828 and remained in business until sometime after 1889. The inscription on the piano refers to a gold medal received at the Exposition Nationale des produits de l‘industrie agricole et manufacturière, thus dating the piano after 1849. This piano is serial number 3020 and has a compass of AAA-a4, Soufleto 1836 patent action, felt hammers, single-strings AAA-FF#, double-strings GG-G, triple-strings G#-a4, 2 pedals: moderator and dampers, an iron string-plate frame, tension bar to bottom of pin block, and an elaborately paneled and veneered case with metal handles on sides, and metal angel figures supporting the keyboard. The front panel of the piano is hinged at the left and swings out with the keyboard and action.

François Soufleto & Co. was established in Paris in 1828 and remained in business until sometime after 1889. François (b c. 1800, Paris, d. 1 Aug. 1872) registered patents for action improvements and one for a compensation system. All extant Soufleto pianos are uprights, although the company received an honorable mention for a grand in the Great Exhibition of 1851. The company was apparently one of the more successful piano makers in Paris at the middle of the 19th century.

The Smithsonian's Soufleto contains the 1836 patented improvement on the English action (diagram and French patent text, Harding, The Pianoforte, 2nd ed. [1978], pp. 256-257). It is a small upright with the inscription Expon. 1849 Médaille d'Or / SOUFLETO./à Paris.

Currently not on view
date made
Francois Soufleto & Cie
Place Made
France: Île-de-France, Paris
Physical Description
felt (hammers: material)
iron,wood (frame: material)
wood (case: material)
overall: 47 1/4 in x 66 in x 25 in; 120.015 cm x 167.64 cm x 63.5 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History


While living in the Netherlands in the mid-1980s we purchased a Soufleto piano, upright (one pedal system, 81 keys) made by Erard, Paris, Serial Number 2263. After moving to the U.S. we had it appraised in 1991 (for insurance purposes) and they estimated it's age was "circa 1860". In looking at a listing of Erard serial numbers ( this piano should of been manufactured in the early 1800s. I hope to research this a bit more. I would appreciate anyone's help in further research. Thank you!
"Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, we are unable to give out values of objects. This piano is not in playing condition. Stabilizing and preserving these objects is the first priority. Depending on performance needs, resources, and stability of the keyboard, many of the keyboards in the collection are maintained in playing condition for performances, recordings, and research. The soundboard is woood with and iron string-plate frame. This Soufleto piano was acquired in 1959. There are a few books available at your local library or online that may provide additional information about this maker. "
"Hi, this is a beautifull master piece. I have some questions.I will like to know the value of this piano? Can this instrument be played and how does it sounds?What is the condition of the piece?Is the harp of wood? Do you have more information about this item? Where or how did the National Museum of American History get this item?Thank you"

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