Babcock Square Piano

Babcock Square Piano

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
This square piano was made by Alpheus Babcock in Boston, Massachusetts in the late 1820s. Babcock’s invention of a one-piece iron frame allowed piano makers to use higher-quality string, ultimately of steel, which provided the basis for greater depth of sonority and more volume, and the metal, being unaffected by changes in humidity, helped greater stability of tuning. This piano bears a plaque that reads “For R. Mackay, Boston.“ The Mackay family bankrolled Babcock, and their names are often found on his pianos. This piano is serial number 278, and has a compass of FF-c4, English double action, leather, basswood core hammers, double-strings throughout, 2 pedals: damper and harmonic swell, and a mahogany veneer over pine case with rosewood cross banding.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Babcock, Alpheus
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
overall: 32 in x 67 in x 26 1/2 in; 81.28 cm x 170.18 cm x 67.31 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of The Julliard School
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object