Square Piano

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Description (Brief)
This square piano was made by Alpheus Babcock, for William Swift, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania around 1833-1837. It is the only surviving Babcock from the period in which he worked as foreman at William Swift’s factory. Alpheus Babcock is best known for his invention of the one-piece metal frame for square pianos, patented December 17, 1825 in Boston. This piano is one of three known pianos with his patented iron frame. This piano is serial number 1517 and has a compass of FF-f4, Babcock patent action, leather top over layers of felt hammers (not original), double-strings, some wound, 2 pedals: moderator and dampers, Babcock’s patented one-piece cast iron frame, and a crotch mahogany veneered case.
Currently not on view
date made
Babcock, Alpheus
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
iron (strings: material)
leather (hammers: material)
iron (frame: material)
wood (case: material)
overall: 90.6 cm x 177 cm x 73.1 cm; 35 11/16 in x 69 11/16 in x 28 3/4 in
ID Number
serial number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Hugo Worch
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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