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Challen 11' 8" grand

Ask questions on piano history and the age of your piano.

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Challen 11' 8" grand

Postby Frank Benner » 24 Oct 2004, 09:26

Who has got more information on the 11' 8'' Challen grand piano, made in 1924.
some questions:
How many have there been made?
Is there still one left today?
Did it have 88 tones or more?
I couldn't find more details than on the Q & A on 'What is the biggest piano ever made' on the Pub quiz on this site.
Any information is welcome!


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Postby Barrie Heaton » 24 Oct 2004, 10:31

1934
Challen started to make the largest piano in the world for the Silver Jubilee of George and Mary, in 1935. There may have been two pianos or the one withdrawn repainted and polished and turned out again. There was a letter in the Piano Tuners Quarterly form Challen dated 19th December 1940, saying:

"Particulars of the world's largest grand piano, manufactured by Charles H. Challen & Sons. This instrument was made in honour of the Silver Jubilee of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary and is the largest grand piano in the world. It has created a profound impression in musical and engineering circles. It is eleven feet and eight inches long, weighs one and a quarter tons, and the combined tensile stress of the strings amounts to over thiry tons. The iron frame alone weighs six and a half hundred weight and the longest bass string is nine feet eleven inches.

The experimental work in connection with its production took over twelve months, and the cost amounted to over &600. In spite of its immense dimensions and strength, so perfectly has everything been calculated that it is even easier to play than an ordinary piano. It is a feat of British piano engineering, which places the British industry definitely on top. It was first shown at the British Industries fair in 1935, where it was inspected by H. M. the Queen, and was played for her by Billy Mayer. At a later date Sir Walford Davies, Master of the King's Music, also played the instrument and in reference to the piano he stated 'it is indeed a glorious instrument. It has the bass of an organ and yet the intimacy of touch and tone of the finest piano I have ever played. A great achievement'. It has been used on several occasions for broadcasting."

--Charles H. Challen

88 notes

All the above info is on the site plus more about Challen if you had don a search you would have found in on this page
http://www.uk-piano.org/history/history_1.html



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Challen 11'8"

Postby Bill Kibby » 24 Oct 2004, 11:30

Yes, but Bolliy Mayerl was famous enough to deserve having his name spelt right! The 1935 Billy Mayerl School Club Magazine says "Our President recently had the honour of playing the world's largest piano before Her Majesty the Queen at the British Industries Fair at Olympia. This instrument is nearly 12 feet on length & possesses a tone hitherto undreamed of in pianoforte manufacture. Yet another triumph for Mr Evans, of Messrs. Challen's, who designed this instrument."
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Postby Barrie Heaton » 24 Oct 2004, 11:47

Thanks Bill but I don’t think it matters if you are famous or not it is nice to have names spelled correctly.


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Challen 11' 8" grand

Postby Frank Benner » 25 Oct 2004, 18:30

Hi Barry,
Thanks very much for your reply. Sorry I didn't look at the history page. Didn't expect to find it there.
On the pub quiz page the date of 1924 is mentioned, whereas on the history page the date mentioned is 1935. I assume 1935 is the correct date?
one more question: the article stated that "the cost amounted to over &600" does that mean 600 pounds? Maybe a lot at that time but it must have been a huge undertaking!
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Postby Barrie Heaton » 25 Oct 2004, 19:52

I wonder how may pup disagreements there has been over that one, now corrected shod be 1935 and yes 600 pounds

You have a nice web site BTW

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