Historical Happenings: Lake Country’s piano highlights changing times

Visit the Lake Country Museum to learn more about the community’s history

The “piano” in Lake Country’s museum is actually a reed organ, dating back to 1903. (Submitted)

The Lake Country Museum’s piano is classified as a reed organ, dating back to the 1900s.

Many Canadians purchased them, through the mail order catalogue, from the T. Eaton Company, around the year 1900. The manufacturer of this instrument was Bell Piano & Organ Co. LTD., from Guelph, Ontario. These instruments were considered major exports.

The black, sharp and flat, keys are made of ebony, a dark and dense wood. Ebony is naturally black; however, it can have white traces throughout. Ethical sourcing of ebony has become more common by manufacturers, as historically it has been discarded if the ebony was not perfectly black. Today, many companies use the whole ebony tree in production. The World Resource Institute indicates only one in 10 ebony trees produce perfectly black wood.

READ MORE: Historical happenings: More to prolific letter writer than Beasley name

The instrument has fancy carvings, giving a traditional look. Ornate wood and reed buttons labeled in Latin, English and Italian add to its elegance. Strange mechanics underneath the piano endorse a sense of security and control. The foot pedals are supposedly mouse proof and were used to power the instrument. An individual would continually pump both pedals, to create the airflow needed for the organ’s reeds. The buttons above the keys are pull cords, devices that provided different sound modifications for player preference. This particular organ is unique, in that there are drink coasters attached to both sides.

READ MORE: Historical happenings: Goldie saga highlights importance of family history

The reed organ is very popular in India and Pakistan, to the extent that modifications have endured.

Modifications encompass drone stops and scale-changing conformities. The popularization of reed organs in the middle-eastern region may have arisen from the exotic and elegant designs associated with them.

READ MORE: Learn a little about your home: Oyama settlers after the First World War

By Jacob Semenuik. Every week, the Lake Country Calendar will publish a column highlighting our community’s past.

Just Posted

Mounties identify woman found dead on Kelowna beach

“Our investigators do not believe criminality was involved.”

Pacific Poke bowl lovers can get a free taste at the restaurant’s ‘Grand Opening Event’

The restaurant will offer some of its specials Thursday evening at its Kelowna location

Youth Shelter Fundraiser encourages kids to play for a good cause

The fundraiser takes place April 27 at the EnergyPlex

Tribute to Kelowna’s Chinese Canadian pioneers planned

A tribute to Kelowna’s historic Chinese Canadian community got underway this weekend.

Update: RCMP confirm body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

South Okanagan community bands together on social media after shootings

Many in Penticton have turned to social media to express their condolences

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Okanagan resort seeking connnection to rail trail

Predator Ridge Resort slated to present wish for trail from resort to ORT to Vernon council

South Okanagan society looking to bring new racing event to their park

The Desert Park Exhibition Society board is looking into hosting another major event

Okanagan power outage scuttles – but not ruins – city’s mission’s Easter meals

Vernon’s Upper Room Mission will serve Easter dinner a day later due to downtown power outage

Waterway Houseboats wins $2 million for damages caused in 2012 flood

Houseboat company wins lawsuit involving Province of British Columbia, District of Sicamous

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Most Read