Hi folks! Jon-o Addleman wrote:
>Did 18th century makers start using screws? I can see them being
>useful on later, wider instruments. Though the wooden pegs Jack
>described would work too, I guess.
All I have read tell that mass-production of screws began in the
1780s., but, frankly I don't believe it. A Kirckman harpsichord of
the 1750s possesses no less than 57 screws of remarkable similarity
(suggesting that they were not filed one at a time), plus, Kirckman's
well known parsimonious outlook would surely not have encouraged him
to use expensive hand made screws in such quantities!
Of course, since the industrial revolution began in England (with the
steam engine beginning with Newcomen in c.1710, one would expect
screws to be mass-produced early on. Thus, the strap hinges of 1740
(on an English harpsichord) would have been nailed onto the lid, by
1760 screws were making things much tidier. Note that many earlier
instruments had their nails replaced by screws later, the tell-tale
nail holes right through the lid giving the alteration away.
>It's funny that I've never seen a non-italian instrument that didn't
>have a screwed-in batten!
That's a bit of a sweeping statement. Italian influence meant that
many other instruments had nameboards that slid up vertically: most
of the pre-Shudi/Kirckman English ones were like that. As to the
instruments with glued-in front boards, they were as Bill described,
except that in England at least, screws were frequently added to
secure the nameboard. as to whether they were made that way, or the
screws appeared subsequently, we will never know.
You should note that screws, even those used with polished brass
straphinges, were always iron. I have never seen brass screws before
the early 19th century. The hinge-screws were usually slightly domed
and were brightly polished. And, of course such screws were always
slotted. (Phillips screws on a harpsichord always make me shudder!!!)