Patented Oct. 23, |900. G. B. DURKEE.
(Application led Jan. 19, 1900.\
[N VEN TOR.
WJTNESSES WM ATTORNEYS rn: mams Pinus cd, mo'roumo.. wAsmNmnu, n. c,
N0. 660,|83. Patented 061:. 23, |900. G. B. DUHKEE.
(Application led Isn. 19, 1900.) (No Model.) 2 Sheets-Sheet 2.
` WITNESSES f VENTOR.
. Mami WM Ln/Sami,
A TTORNE Ys UNTTED STATES PATENT OEEICE.
GEORGE B. DURKEE, OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS.
SPECIFICATION forming part of Letters Patent No. 660,183, dated october 2s, 190e.
Application ile January 19, 1900. .'lcrial No. 1.974. (No model.)
To all whom t may concern:
Be it known that I, GEORGE B. DU'RKEE, a citizen of the United States, residing in Chicago, in the county of Cook and State of Illin'ois, have invented a new and useful Improvement in Pianos, of which the following is a specification.
My invention relates to improvements in pianos.
IfIeretofore in the construction of pianos the strings have been customarily strung on or over a heavy strong cast-iron or other metal plate weighing from one hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty pounds or more and to which the opposite ends of the strings are connected either directly or through the customary wooden pin-block which ordinarily abuts against one edge of the metal plate, this strong heavy metal plate bein g calculated to resist and serving to resist the enormous aggregate strain of the multitude of strings, and the connection between the strings and the sounding-board (through which all the tone is ultimatelydeveloped and which heretofore has ordinarily been made quite thin, generally about three-eighths of an inch in thickness) has been simply thro ugh the bridge or bridges connected to the sounding-board and over which the strings pass and against which they exert, at least when the piano is new, a light pressure at right angles to the plane of the sounding-board and to the direction of the strain of the strings, the strings and sounding-board being substantially parallel to each other. In this old construction where the thin sounding-board is subjected to a slight pressure from the strings in a direction at right angles to its plane, owing to the nature of the pressure and the fact that it is always in one direction, the soundingboard frequently finally gives up under this pressure in one direction and the rapid vibrations of the strings until there is little or` no pressure of any kind of the strings upon the sounding-board, which condition results in a very thin unsatisfactory sound, and for the same reason pianos of this old construction instead of improving with age and use speedily deteriorate and are comparatively short-lived, especially when subjected to anything like constant use.
The object of my invention is to provide a piano of a simple, efficient, and durable conL struction which will produce a more mellow tone and superior results to those heretofore in use and which at the same time will tend to improve in quality and tone from age and use instead of deteriorating and in which also the cost of construction is materially lesscned.
A further object is to lessen the weight of the piano and to greatly facilitate its portability.
These important objects or results, I have discovered, may be accomplished (and I have so demonstrated by experiment) by combining with a thick sounding-board strings strung directly on the board-that is to say, so that the entire tension and strain of the strings is exerted directly upon the sounding-board itself, so that the sounding-board, as well as the strings, is kept constantly under tension or strain. By this 'direct combination of the strings with the sounding-board I find by actual experiment and demonstration that the tone of the piano is greatly improved in volume and quality over that produced by the old construction and that a much better and mellower effect is also produced, while at the same time, remarkable as it may seem, the instrument will stand or remain much more perfectly in tune and for a much greater length of time than is the case with the old construction of pianos, and my experiments also tend to indicate that my vnew construction of piano does and will grow better and better in tone and quality with age instead of tending to deteriorate.
In practicing myinvention I employ a much thicker sounding-board and provide it with larger ribs than have heretofore been considered possible in piano construction to enable it to properly withstand the enormous combined tension of the strings, and I combine all the strings with the sounding-board itself through the pin block, which abuts against one edge of the board and the bridge or bridges, which are connected directly to the board at the opposite ends of the strings, so that the entire strain and tension of the strings is brought to bear directly on the sounding-board itself, where all tone-vibrations are lfinally developed. My soundingboard is thus itself maintained under the enor- IOO mous aggregate compression tension of the numerous strings, thus givingit a wonderful tonal capacity.
In practicing my invention the soundingboard is preferably made from ive-eighths of an inch to one inch in thickness, and the strengthening-ribs with which it is provided at intervals I ordinarily make from iive-eighths of an inch to one inch or more in thickness.
In the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this specification, Figure lis a plan view of a piano sounding-board and strings embodying my invention. Fig. 2 is a vertical section on the line a; of Fig. l. Figs. 3, 4, 5, and 6 are enlarged detail sections on lines 3 3, et 4, 5 5, and G 6 of Fig. l, respectively; and Fig. 7 is an enlarged detail plan View of a portion of the spring-bridge which is secured to the sounding-board.
In the drawings, A represents the frame of the piano or a portion thereof.
B is a thick sounding-board, the same being preferably about three-fourths of an inch in thickness and provided with a series of heavy strengtheningribs Z1 on its back side and extending in a diagonal direction across the board and parallel to each other. The sounding-board is also provided with transverse ribs 1)', extending, preferably, at right angles to the ribs b. The ribs l) are preferably about an inch thick and about the same in width.
C is the wooden pin-block, the same being of any usual or customary construction. One edge of the sounding-board abuts directly against this pin-block.
D D' Dzare the strings, the same being all connected at one end to the pin-block C by the customary wrist-pins C.
F and F are the bridges. The main or central bridge F extends centrally and diagonally across the sounding-board and transversely tothe ribs b and is preferably curved about as illustrated in the drawings. The lower bridge Fl, to which the spring-bridge F2 is attached, extends across the corner of the board and is preferably curved about as illustrated in the drawings. The bridges F F are securely glued tothe sounding-board, and the spring-bridge Fgand bridge F are in addition secured together and to the sounding-board by carriage-bolts fand wood-screwsf, which are set at an angle and furnished with tapering washers f2, the screws and bolts being inclined in the direction of the strain of the strings on the spring-bridge, so that the tension of the strings will tend to compress the bridges and sounding-board more tightly together instead of to pull them apart, as would be the case if the screws and bolts were inclined in the opposite direction or set atright angles to the plane of the sounding-board. I also employ blind dowel-pins f3 to give additional security to these parts.
The covered strings D, which constitute the overstrung portion of the instrument, are connected at one end, as before stated, to the pin-block and at their opposite eye ends to the spring-bridge F2, which is provided with slots flto receive the twisted eye endsd of the strings, through which eye ends the holdingpins d are inserted, as shown, for example, in Figs. I, 6, and 7.
The plain steel strings D', covering the middle section of the instrument, are passed over the bridge F and through small holes h2 in the sounding-board B and through a hard-wood strip G, glued to the back side of the sounding-board, and around the metal pin g and back through a contiguous hole in the sounding-board, thus making two strings. In case a single string is required an eye is twisted on its end through which the pin is inserted, the single string passing through a single hole at the back of the bridge, as before described. As shown in Fig. e, the string D/ is passed around under the head of an inclined wood-screw j", by which the bridge F is secured tothe sounding-board,such wood-screws being inserted at the intersection of the bridge F with the ribs Z2. This method of securing the end of the stri ng may be employed at any point on the bridge, but is particularly applicable at the points where the ribs hintersect the bridge and renders it unnecessary to pass the strings through the sounding-board and rib.
The strings D2 of the upper register I prefer to pass over the bridge F, as illustrated in Fig. 3, and secure their ends to the soululingboard by inclined wood-screws 7L 7L, which pass through hard-wood strips H II on opposite sides of the sounding-board and which extend parallel to the bridge F. These hardwood strips I-I HT, which run parallel with the bridge F, form additional strengthening-ribs for the sounding-board and support this portion of the board, where the strings are short, numerous, and close together, in such manner as to assist greatly in bringing out the higher tones of the instru ment.
In Fig. l of the drawings I have, for sake of clearness, omitted all the strings of each set D, D', and D2 except a few of the marginal ones of each set.
In Fig. 2 of the drawings I have shown a hard-wood strip K, which, il' preferred, may be placed on the opposite side of the sounding-board from the spring-bridge F2 throughout a portion or a whole of the lengt-h ol the spring-bridge.
I nd in constructing a piano soundingboard in this way and combining` the strings therewith in this manner that the downward pressure of the strings upon the board immediately in front of the bridge is counteracted or counterbalanced by an upward pressure directly behind said bridge, which serves to keep the sounding-board practically in its originalposition, whereas in the old constructi0n,where the strings were hitched to a metal plate or frame, distinct and separate from the soundingboard, and allowed to produce a pressure in one direction only on the sounding-board, Which Was made thin, the sounding-board Would sooner or later give way slightly under the pressure, and thus leave the strings and sounding-board practically separate from and uncombined With each other and resulting in a very unsatisfactory and insufficient tone.
As will be readily understood from Figs. 2, 5, and 6, the component of force or pressure of the strings toward and upon the soundingboard at and through the bridge is counteracted or counterbalanced by the component of force or pressure in the opposite direction of the strings upon the board at the point back of the bridge Where the strings are attached to the board, as action and reaction are of course equal and as the strings arel strung upon the sounding-board itself.
In my invention, as my thick heavily-ribbed sounding board is combined with strings strung directly thereon and exerting their tension on the board in the direction of its plane, the sounding-board itself, as Well as the strings, is maintained under constant tension or strain and is peculiarly adapted to give out full, mellow, and resonant tones in great volume and with peculiar sweetness and perfection, and, strange as it may seem, I have found by extensive experiments that my thick heavily-ribbed soundingboard, combined With strings strung directly upon it or so as to exert their tension directly upon it, is not only capable of producing the most delicate tones, as Well as much greater volume and perfection in quality, but it also successfully Withstands the enormous aggregate strain and tension of the multitude of strings Without giving Way or getting out of shape, and that the instrument is also much less liable to get out of tune than in pianos of the old con struction. My new piano is also much less in Weight, as I entirely dispense' with the heavy cast-iron or metal plate heretofore generally used.
In pianos constructed according to my invention, wherein one end of the strings is secured to bridges attached to one side or face of the board, the anchorage of one end of the strings is on the vibratorj,7 board itself, and the strings are thus all free to vibrate and for this reason produce much superior tones to strings Which simply pass over the bridge and are anchored or connected to a rigid castiron plate.
In the drawings I have for convenience illustrated my invention as applied to an upright piano; but it Will be understood by those skilled in the art that it is also applicable to grand pianos.
I claim- 1. A piano having no string-frame or met-al plate to resist the tension of the strings, and
comprising in combination a thick soundingboard, strings strung on the board itself on one side thereof and exerting their tension or strain thereon in the direction of its plane, substantially as specified.
2. A piano having no string-frame or metal plate to resist the tension of the strings, and comprising in combination a piano pin-block, a thick sounding-board abutting at one edge against the pin block, and provided With bridges, and strings secured at one end to the pin block and at their other ends to the bridges on the sounding-board, said strings exerting their strain and tension directly on the sounding-board in the direction of its plane, substantially as specified.
3. A piano having no string-frame or metal plate to resist the tension of the strings, and comprising in combination a thick, heavily-y ribbed, sounding-board, strings strung directly upon the board itself and exerting their tension thereon in the direction of its plane, one part or series of said strings extending across the board at an angle to another part or series thereof, substantially as specified.
e. In a piano the combination With a thick sounding-board having parallel ribs extending diagonally across the board, of a series of strings D strung across the board at an angle to said ribs, and a series of strings D D2 strung across the board at an angle to said strings D, all of said strings exerting their strain or tension upon the board itself, substantially as specified.
5. The combination with a pin-block, of a thick, heavily-ribbed sounding-board abutting at one edge against the pin-block, and provided with bridges F, FQ and springbridge F2, of a series of strings Dsecured at one end to the pin-block and at the other end to said spring-bridge, and a series of strings D' secured at one end to the pin-block and at the other to said bridge F, and a series of strings D2 secured at one end to the pin-block extending over said bridge F, and secured at their opposite ends to strips H I-I' secured to the sounding-board,substantially as specified.
G. The combination With a pin-block, of a IOS IIO
thick, heavily-ribbed sounding-board abutting at one edge against the pin-block, and provided with bridges F, F', and spring-bridge F2, of a series of strings D secured at one end to the pin-block and at the other to said springbridge, and a series of strings D secured at one end to the pin-block and at the other to said bridge F, and a series of strings D2 secured at one end to the pin-block extending over said bridge F, and secured at their opposite ends to strips II II secured to the sounding-board, said strings D passing through holes in the sounding-board, substantially as specified.
7. In a piano, the combination With a thick, heavily-ribbed sounding-board,of a pin-block abutting against the sounding-board at one edge, a central bridge F, an outer bridge F having spring-bridge F2 secured thereto by inclined bolts or screws, and a series of strings D secured at one end to the pin-blocks passing over the central bridge F, and secured at their opposite ends to said spring-bridge, substantially as specied.
S. In a piano, the Combination With the pinblook, of a thick, heavily-ribbed soundingboard, a bridge F secured to the soundingboard, and strings D secured at one end to the pin-block and at their opposite ends passing over said bridge and through holes in the sounding-board, and provided with eyes, and pins passing through the eyes, substantially as specified.
9. A piano having no string-frame or metal plate to resist the tension of the strings, and comprising in combination a piano pin-block, a thiclgheavilynibbed,sounding-board under the compression strain in the direction of its plane of the tension of its strings, a bridge F secured thereto, and strings D2, secured at one end to the pin-block and at their other ends passing over said bridge and secured to GEORGE B. DURKEE.
I-I. M. MUNDAY, L. E. CURTIS.