Peculiar Bechstein dampers

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

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Bill Kibby

Post Reply
User avatar
Bill Kibby
Posts: 5424
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: Lincolnshire UK

Peculiar Bechstein dampers

Post by Bill Kibby » 17 Dec 2016, 13:48

1885~Bechstein343d (3).jpg
David Boyce raised an interesting question about some very strange underdampers used on the monochords in the bottom octave of Bechstein uprights of the 1880s. Each damper head has what appears to be a spring attached, but there seems to be no purpose to it, and the coil on its outer end doesn't attach to anything.

It doesn't look like a fly damper, and we have toyed with the idea that perhaps it adds mass, or increases inertia. Any suggestions?
Piano History Centre
If you find old references or links on this site to, alter these to

Gill the Piano
Posts: 4208
Joined: 25 Oct 2003, 19:39
Location: Thames Valley

Re: Peculiar Bechstein dampers

Post by Gill the Piano » 17 Dec 2016, 18:16

I always assumed they were for fly to me that they weren't!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 13
Joined: 18 Jun 2012, 18:26

Re: Peculiar Bechstein dampers

Post by dboyce » 17 Dec 2016, 20:39

I've seen these wires on the actions of two old Bechsteins. There is no evidence that either of them ever had anything attached to the wires. (They are not, incidentally, the Langer action with the Jack Assist Spring with loop through the jack, found in some Bechsteins).

John Delacour suggested to me a few years ago that they might have been called Counterbalance Wires. I wondered if anyone knew anything more about their function.

Post Reply