Along the wall in the middle gallery of the museum stands a piano with carved cabriole legs and a hinged top. The piano was purchased by Gene Adams of Salida before being sold to Laura Huntley. Huntley donated her extensive collection to the museum in 1974, including this piano.
The piano was made by the J. & C. Fischer Company in New York City. John and Charles Fischer were originally partnered with Robert Nunns at Nunns & Fischer in the 1830s. In 1840, the brothers left the partnership to open their own company. In 1896, they celebrated the making of their 100,000 piano. The company was known for their top-quality instruments and were very successful. Pianos produced by the company included square grand pianos, upright pianos, and traditional grand pianos.
The pictured piano was made circa 1890 with a serial number of 9678. It is a square grand piano, one of the most popular styles in the 19th century made by American piano makers. Unfortunately for the square grand piano, the upright piano eventually overtook it in popularity as it was smaller and took up less floor space.
Currently, the piano resides in the museum gallery featuring our World War I exhibit. The sheet music placed on the piano is “Round her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon”, an old marching song. Scattered atop the piano are poppies, a symbol of World War I, largely due to the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.
Happy National Piano Month!
The information presented in this article is compiled using research conducted by the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center.