JT Murray Cabinet Upright

Very little is known of the maker, James T. Murray, who manufactured pianos in London during the mid 19th century. This piano is an example of a very tall upright piano, a "vertical grand" piano (grand meaning large), also referred to as a cabinet piano. Though the smaller "cottage" pianos were much more common, pianos of this size were made by most piano manufacturers of the time.


There are two string unisons through the entire six and a half octave range of the piano, not too uncommon for the time, though three string unisons were more usual for the treble.



Another term for this design is "sticker" piano, as it has very long stickers reaching from the tops of the jacks to the hammers. The jacks are attached to the keys, and escape from the bottoms of the stickers.

Tuning a piano like this requires a long stretch, to reach the key and the tuning pin at the same time. The piano was provided with a shift pedal to move the hammers relative to the strings so that only one string would be struck.

This piano is of entirely wooden construction, and has neither metal bracing, nor an iron hitchpin plate. 

The tuning pins are all marked with note names.



The damper lifting wires originate at the tops of the stickers. This design was copied from Wornum, who designed the first commercially successful vertically strung piano in 1811. The remainder of the action also follows Wornum's original design, which was derived from a square piano action, called the English double action. (Wornum later pioneered the "tape-check" action, from which our modern upright action is derived.) 

The wires between the hammers and the strings serve to lift the over-dampers, and originate at the checks, as seen in the previous photo.