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Subject: Piano-harp


From: Birgit Spiess <birgit.spiess<-a>
Date: Sunday, June 22, 2008
I am studying conservation of wooden objects at the Potsdam
University of Applied Sciences in Germany and I'm writing my diploma
thesis, which deals with a piano-harp of the Dietz Company
(Brussels, Belgium) from approximately 1890 from the stock of the
Museum of Musical Instruments which is part of Leipzig University.
The main focus of the work is the research into the surface

The instrument has been veneered with black dyed pear, polished and
subsequently engraved. Moreover, the engravings have been painted
with a matte dark grey colour.

I am trying to find out if the engravings have been manufactured at
least partially by means of a machine, maybe a small cutter.
Different tool traces, e.g., in tight bendings of the engravings,
suggest this, while other areas clearly have been performed with a
hand tool. Has anyone some expert knowledge with surfaces like this?
Only few about this technology can be found in literature, however,
a so-called "spindle-carver" is mentioned in one article

    Ettema, M.J.
    "Technological Innovation and Design Economics in Furniture
    Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 16, No. 2/3, (Summer-Autumn, 1981),
    pp. 197-223;

Has anyone already heard of this or worked with such? Is it possible
that the engravings have been manufactured with such a machine? And
how exactly does this machine function? Moreover, I could not find
any comparably designed objects except for two further piano-harps
of this company (Munich and Sondershausen, Germany) and some small
mechanical music instruments with less elaborate ornaments. Also
here, I would be happy about every advice.

Pictures of the object can be viewed at

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:2
                   Distributed: Monday, June 23, 2008
                        Message Id: cdl-22-2-019
Received on Sunday, 22 June, 2008

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