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Instrument collection plan

When complete, the collection will consist of Swedish pianos and grand pianos together with their forerunners, the clavichord and the harpsichord, reed organs of all models and self-playing instruments with focus on the period c. 1850-c. 1985. At the moment (September 2010) we have hammer instruments (uprights, grands, upright grand pianos and square pianos), several reed organs and some self-playing instruments, including reed organs, autopianos and one organett.

The collection is being built up according to a fixed plan:

Strategy for hammer instruments

Ideally the collection would eventually have one copy of each model made by every known workshop or factory. It is particularly important to safeguard Swedish grand pianos from the period c. 1870-1985. For the period prior to standardization of production (i.e. before c. 1900-1920), instruments of normal construction for their time and maker must be saved, as well as instruments with divergent or experimental construction. Special consideration may be given to patented constructions as well as those whose patent applications were denied. Particular attention should be paid to the collection of art-case instruments, and unique instruments designed by architects for exhibitions and world fairs from 1834 to the end of Swedish manufacturing. This is a completely unexplored field of research in the history of Swedish instruments.

Collection is done after several lines:

- art-case instruments designed by architects for special customers, instruments for exhibitions and world fairs

- experimental instruments and constructions protected by patents

- certain upright and grand pianos from the period c. 1850 - c. 1900 which are in a grey zone between antique instruments and saleable goods. This group may be given priority, since instruments belonging to this category clearly face the threat of destruction.

- “other 19th century models”, such as square pianos and upright grand pianos, about which knowledge is lacking

- uprights and grand pianos from the periods 1900-1940 and 1940-1985

Strategy for reed organs

Regarding reed organs the state of knowledge is even worse than for hammer instruments. The production of reed organs ceased in Sweden at the end of the 1960s. Today, our knowledge of the branch and the manufacturing work (tools/machines, materials and methods) originates from a few people who have worked in the factories. There is a list of Swedish makers of reed organs corresponding to the list of piano factories, but the work is far from complete. In this situation, it is necessary to save whatever can be found – organs for private homes, churches and schools, of all sizes and constructions, including at least some organs with two manuals and a pedal.

Strategy for self-playing keyboard instruments

A small number of Swedish factories – mainly Malmsjö, Östlind & Almquist, C.H. Billberg and Gustafsson & Ljungqvist - have made self-playing instruments (reed organs and autopianos). It should be added that this kind of instrument was made in a limited period during the late 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. The simple philosophy concerning this group is therefore to save what can be saved. Probably only a few of these instruments have survived into our times.




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