Tickling the Ivories

July 5, 2017

Square Pianoforte

Manufacturer:  Albrecht, Riekes, & Schmidt

Date: c. 1868


Many larger Victorian homes had a specific “music room” where instruments were kept and music was performed. This was the result of a steady increase in the number of households with enough surplus cash to spend on leisure items. The Physick family was said to have owned both a gold-string grand piano and a player piano, which Dr. Physick was apparently fond of playing.


This specific piano was made by Albrecht, Riekes, & Schmidt, which was one of the earliest piano makers in the United States.  Charles Albrecht began selling imported pianos in 1789 but the company soon started building their own.  Their salesroom was located at 46 North Third Street in Philadelphia.


In the museum archives, we have the original bill of sale. The piano was purchased on October 16, 1868 for $475 or some $8,700 in 2017 dollars. Look for the piano in the music room.  

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