French Piano made in St. Petersburg


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    When I was in Moscow, I walked from Arbat Street to the Moscow Conservatory of Music. I became tired and went into this cafeteria which appeared to be unusual. I ordered a cup of coffee and looked around the interior. The cafe was not crowded, but there were students reading books.

    I then spotted this piano. This piano looked very old, and I asked the cafe manager whether it is functional. I then asked why its trademark is in French and carries the word "St. Petersbourg."

    His answer was that the piano was designed by the French company but manufactured by Russians in St. Petersburg for Russian musicians. He said it works well, and music students come play it during the evening hours to entertain themselves.


    The manager told me this piano was about to be adjusted by a piano tuner and advised me to look at the interior of the machine carefully.

    Indeed, the piano tuner came and started removing the cover. He was adjusting the tension of each string. I looked at what he was doing carefully.


    I then noticed this mark in Russian. It says this piano was manufactured for Russians in St. Petersburg in 1810 by the French company called "Diedrichs Frere," the winner of the Grand Prize from the University of Paris in 1800.

    This piano was thus made in Russia before Napoleon's invasion of 1812.


    After finishing his work, the technician was testing his work by playing a single-toned music.

    After he left, I noted something unusual on the piano panel. There are two of them.

    Ah! They are candle stands. I did not know they did not have electric lights in 1800 AD.

    Since this cafe is and perhaps has been for music lovers, it once had expensive radio sets. I become very happy whenever I see old vacuum-tube radios, because I used to make them by connecting wires with soldering irons.

    I still do not know the Korean name for this iron. Before 1954, Koreans used to use the Japanese word "Handa Kotei" for it. Koreans started making their own Handa Kotei in 1953. How about the volt-ohm meter. We used to call it Testa (tester). I had my own Teta in 1950 made by RCA (very prestigious U.S. company at that time). Thus, I was a "superman" in electronics. When I left Korea in 1954, I never thought Koreans could make their own Testa.