University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Boston,   pp. 276-312 ff.


Page 286

REMARKABLE MANUFACTORIES OF BOSTON.
machines, into the shapes required. Rosewood and mahogany logs
are here sawed into veneers. The Dimension room is on the first floor
of the north wing, where all the stock is cut and sawed to its proper
length, and prepared for use in the room above, where it acquires the
form of a Piano case. The third story of this wing is the Case room,
where the veneerings are applied. In the fourth story the Piano case
receives its sounding-board and iron frame. And going up to the fifth
story, it passes through the Varnish room, in the main building, and
begins its descent on the other side, gradually assuming shape and
finish, until it is ready for the Sales room. Elevators, at each wing,
moved by steam, make the passage of the Piano to the various rooms,
a distance exceeding a mile, perfectly easy and expeditious.
The Drying room, which is at the top of the building, where the
sounding-boards are finished, is kept all the year round at a heat of
ninety, Fahrenheit. These boards are all made out of spruce, which
comes from Herkimer county, New York, and have to undergo a pro-
bation of several years before they are admitted into the Piano-forte.
As an illustration of the relative proportion of materials that enter
into the composition of a Piano, the following statistics of the yearly
consumption in this vast establishment are interesting, viz. : six hun-
dred thousand feet of pine, maple, and oak; eighty-five thousand feet
of black walnut; two hundred thousand feet of pine, for packing-
boxes; twenty thousand feet of spruce, for sounding-boards ; three
hundred thousand rosewood veneers ; thirty thousand feet chest-
nut veneers; thirty thousand feet of walnut and twelve thousand feet
of oak veneers; seventeen thousand pounds of glue; sixty reams sand
paper; seventeen hundred and fifty gallons varnish; twelve hundred
pounds white lead; thirty-one pounds pumice-stone ; three barrels lin-
seed oil ; two barrels spirits turpentine ; fifteen barrels alcohol ; three
hundred dollars' worth gold bronze, for plates; six hundred dollars'
worth paints; three hundred thousand pounds iron castings; thirty-
three hundred pounds brass-castings; twenty thousand six hundred
pounds iron wire ; five thousand pounds steel wire ; thirty-three hun-
dred pounds brass wire; five hundred pounds bar steel; three thousand
pounds wrought bar iron; fourteen thousand pairs hinges; three thou-
sand one hundred and fifty gross screws; two thousand locks; eight
thousand castors; and two thousand sets ivory.
The founder of this large Manufactory was Jonas Chickering, who,
however, did not live to witness its completion. He was born in the
State of New Hampshire, near the town of New Ipswich, where he
served an apprenticeship of three years at the cabinet-maker's trade.
He early evinced a taste for Music, and at the age of nineteen, undertook
286


Go up to Top of Page