Mechanical Music Digest  Archives
You Are Not Logged In Login/Get New Account
Please Log In. Accounts are free!
Logged In users are granted additional features including a more current version of the Archives and a simplified process for submitting articles.
Home Archives Calendar Gallery Store Links Info

End-of-Summer Fundraising Drive In Progress. Please visit out home page to see this and other announcements:     Thank you. --Jody

MMD > Archives > January 2000 > 2000.01.27 > 01Prev  Next

The Fourneaux Pianista
By Hans van Oost

Dear Jim,  There were earlier piano players than Mr. Fourneaux'
pianista.  Patents exist of Mr. Debain's mechanical piano playing
wooden boards with steel projections (planchettes), and Mr. Teste's
Cartonium, playing series of cardboard sheets.  All these systems
worked without pneumatic action.

Mr. Fourneaux, of France, took a patent on his "Piano Mecanique" on
23-April-1883; the French patent number is 155051.  It is the first
piano player with (partly) pneumatic action, playing 52 piano notes
by means of carton book music.  The patent was bought by Mr. Gavioli
on 10-February-1885.  Gavioli started to produce the mechanical piano,
which he called "Pianista Gavioli".  Some additions and modifications
were patented by Gavioli in 1885 and 1887.

An interesting fact is that the Fourneaux system was later used by
Gavioli for his fairground organs, including the strange key spacing
of 3.48 millimetres, and it is still used today for French fair organs
and Dutch street organs.  The piano had two foot pedals, just like any
normal piano, and with the same functions, so they have nothing to do
with the Pianista.  An article with description can be found in Het
Pierement, quarterly of the Dutch organ preservation society KDV, of
April 1998, on page 55.  (It is, however, written in Dutch!)

I have digitized pictures of the patent drawings, which I could send
over if you are interested.  They are very high resolution, however,
so they make big files.

Regards from the Netherlands,

Hans van Oost, KDV

(Message sent Thu 27 Jan 2000, 11:05:40 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Fourneaux, Pianista

Home    Archives    Calendar    Gallery    Store    Links    Info   

Enter text below to search the MMD Website with Google

CONTACT FORM: Click HERE to write to the editor, or to post a message about Mechanical Musical Instruments to the MMD

Unless otherwise noted, all opinions are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of the editors. Compilation copyright 1995-2019 by Jody Kravitz.

Please read our Republication Policy before copying information from or creating links to this web site.

Click HERE to contact the webmaster regarding problems with the website.

Please support publication of the MMD by donating online

Pay via PayPal

No PayPal account required

Translate This Page

. .