My more and more unreliable memory reports on the ElderHostel gig
at MS in Berkeley, when Laurette intruduced one Dr.Edward S. Clark,
the one-time DuPont chemist who introduced Delrin to the harpsichord
It seems to me that he had a tale about an earlier product, a composite
synthetic of some complex manufacture proposed as a replacement for
sole leather. He took a scrap of the stuff to Challis, then as later
using the very hardest leather severely cut for his otherwise-synthetic
(aluminium soundboards, and the lkike) instruments. Challis did one
instrument in the stuff (Clark told me which one, but I've forgot) and
loved it. He was avid to get more; but, alas, that scrap was all that
remained from a production run, and another batch would have been some
$10K. So out there is a unique Challis.
Then, of course, there's the tale of the Yale Hass, for which the
curator had some somewhat grandiose plans. As I recall his telling
of the tale, he'd wanted gold strings for the 16', but couldn't afford
them so had to use silver. (One supposes that depleted uranium would
have been denser, but reserved for the military.) Then there was the
problem of a suitably stiff plucking material to reach across the
other strings. After a long search and exhaustive search, he settled
upon the "quill" of a rare south African porcupine.
On our way down the coast after our visit, my DA and I stopped with
the sister of an old friend, whose husband was a rare-animal breeder
at the Bronx Zoo. As we were leaving, Danny asked, "Do you guys know
somebody named RR? He wrote a while back with the dandest request. So
we sent him some cage sweepings; do you have any idea what he'd do with
Fruther down the coast, over Friday afternoon sherry, John Fesperman
commented on the tale: "Ah yes, Richard Rephan. He's always been
wonderful at creating mysteries where none exist."
Heisenberg may have tuned here.