Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Square Piano

Charles Albrecht (German, 1759/60–1848 Montgomery, Pennsylvania)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Mahogany veneered case, nameboard veneer of lighter colored wood, brass decorative medallions on upper corners of legs, ivory natural and ebony accidental keys
Case length (perpendicular to keyboard): 56.5 cm (22-1/4 in.), Width parallel to keyboard: 159.5 cm (62-15/16 in.), Case Depth not including stand, w/o lid: 23.6 cm (9-5/16 in.), Total Height: 81 cm(31-7/8 in.), 3-octave span: 48.2 cm (18-15/16 in.), String length: longest: 138.5 cm (54-9/16 in.), shortest: 11 cm (4-5/16 in.); c2: 29 cm(11-7/16 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph W. Drexel, 1889
Accession Number:
Not on view
Charles Albrecht, a German immigrant, was one of the earliest known piano makers in this country probably arrived in October of 1785 and is known to have been actively building instruments by 1791 in Philadelphia. More than twenty instruments by Albrecht are known to survive. This example, serial number 24, has a rectangular case with mahogany veneer panels and sist on a stand with four square tapered legs each of which has brass medallions on the upper corners. The nameboard is veneered with light wood decorated around maker's name with painted floral garland. There are sixty-one keys (compass of FF-f3), ivory naturals with molded fronts and ebony accidentals. A single handstop is located in the well to the left of the keyboard and is activated to remove the dampers from the strings. The mechanism is an English double action with short intermediate levers, no escapement, and overhead damper arms hinged to a tilting panel in the back of the case. Double strung throughout.
Marking: 1) (in painted oval on nameboard) Charles Albrecht/ Maker/ Philadelphia;
2) (in charcoal on rear of nameboard under music rack bracket) No. 24;
3) (in black, on bottom of case) D (large letter).
Joseph W. Drexel
Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1993, pg. 4.

A Checklist of American Musical Instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1989, pg. 10, ill.

Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pg. 40-41, fig. 27.

American Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pg. 164, fig. 198, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: I. Europe, Galleries 25 and 26, Central Cases of Galleries 27 and 28. Catalogue., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, vol. 13, pg. 94.

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