Rocking Melodeon

Abraham Prescott American

Not on view

The "rocking" melodeon or organ received this moniker because it had to be pumped up and down (the keyboard therefore rocking) in order to pump the bellows to sound the reeds. The instrument is normally set on a table to play. Instead of keys, this insturment has two rows of buttons that are laid out in an arrangement like a traditional keyboard with a row of naturals, and offset accidentals in alternating groups of two's and three's.

Technical description: Rectangular rosewood veneer case over a diagonally divided double bellows; bellows leather with cloth covering; bellows equipped with two springs (upper one broken) so that pressure on left side sets up rocking motion in bellows; top of instrument has two lengthwise removable maple panels, each with four rosewood-bushed soundholes (some bushings missing), with sliding paper shutters below soundholes for piano and forte effects, operated by horn knob at left of top; rosewood strip between maple panels containing tw rows of ivory button touches, 24 naturals in bottom row and 17 accidentals in top row, the buttons for accidentals having black circles on tops; compass F-a2; brass free reeds beneath removable panels, the touches opening small pallets beneath the reeds to sound them; reeds are blown, not sounded by suction.

Rocking Melodeon, Abraham Prescott (American, Deerfield, New Hampshire 1789–1858 Concord, New Hampshire), Wood, various materials, American

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