The Mason and Hamlin grand piano from 1887 is an exceptional instrument crafted by the renowned piano manufacturers of its time. The firm of Mason and Hamlin was founded in 1854 by Henry Mason and Emmons Hamlin in Boston, Massachusetts. Henry Mason was a skilled piano maker, having learned the craft in France from acclaimed maker Sebastien Erard. Mason and Hamlin worked together for 32 years until Hamlin's death in 1886, shortly before the production of the 1887 piano.
The Mason and Hamlin grand piano was made of the finest materials. The soundboard was crafted of firm aged spruce while the body and rim were constructed from a solid hardwood like mahogany or walnut. The strings were made of pure steel and the action was made up of numerous components to provide the player with an easy and uniform touch. The piano also included a unique feature at the time: the Mason and Hamlin patented duplex scale, which enabled the tone quality of the instrument to be adjusted by allowing more or less of the harmonic sound of the upper strings to be heard.
The exterior of the Mason and Hamlin grand piano reflects the meticulous attention to craftsmanship that is characteristic of such an instrument. The lines of the cabinet are highly detailed and intricate, with French curves along the edges. The music desk, written in a golden script, is a work of art itself, having been designed by skilled craftsman John Hill of Boston. The elegantly curved and sturdy legs of the instrument give the piano a graceful appearance, and the lid is decorated with detailed decorative castings with ornamental carvings around its edges.
The Mason and Hamlin grand piano from 1887 is a magnificent instrument, truly embodying the craft and grandeur of the late 19th century. It stands out as a symbol of the timeless quality of expert instrument making, and it is an example of what can happen when skilled trade and artistry meet to produce a work of true beauty.