MIRN member, George Diehl, has asked for information on Cromwell, possibly a French celeste maker of the second half of the 19th century. He has an instrument with the name ‘Cromwell’ on the front board and the name and number ‘CAPRA 192’ stamped on the keyframe under the keys. Please post your replies to ‘email@example.com’ .
Comments from Lewis Jones, 27 November 2018
I have not been able to trace a celesta maker called Cromwell in France, and the name does not sound especially French. References to celestas by Cromwell on the web would seem to point to North America. One by Cromwell was sold on eBay for US $2,999.99:
Unfortunately the photographs appear not to be archived.
looks twentieth rather than nineteenth-century, as also does that at Mulholland Music, Chatsworth, California, a studio ‘built in the ’60’s as a quiet, private music space to foster creativity’: http://www.mulhollandmusic.com/styled-3/
It is noteworthy that these instruments are (or were) in North America. Might there perhaps be a connection with the twentieth-century New York music publisher (prominent in the 1940s and 50s) Cromwell Music Inc. (now C/O TRO ESSEX MUSIC GROUP, 266 West 37th St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10018)? See, for example,several entries in Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third series (1968) [pdf via Google Books]
Regarding the ‘CAPRA 192’ stamp: if one Capra was the maker of the keyboard, this might be the 192nd such example made. The irregularity with which the letters and numbers were stamped suggests the sequential use of separate cast stamps rather than a single, integrated tool. Thus it seems unlikely that ‘192’ indicates a date in the 1920s whose final figure was to be entered separately, in the manner of a printed violin label in which the final digit is added by hand.