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

Kelowna RCMP search for missing senior

Cathy Wilson has dementia and was seen leaving her care facility in Rutland

Kelowna community bike ride raises $120,000 for charity

Money from the Payton & Dillon Budd Memorial Ride went to the Canadian Mental Health Association

More road closures planned due to construction in Kelowna

Hart Road and Grantham Road in Kelowna will be closed beginning Thursday

Okanagan College culinary students experience local Indigenous flavours

Traditional Okanagan-Syilx styles were taught by Westbank First Nation Elders

Multi-Generational Activity Centre is officially underway in Lake Country

Federal government provides an extra $585k to support the project

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Every situation is different, jurors hear at coroners inquest into Oak Bay teen’s overdose death

Pediatrician says involuntary treatment necessary following overdose, opioid use

RCMP across Canada to soon unionize, according to B.C. mayor

A spokeswoman for RCMP headquarters in Ottawa says it’s not yet a done deal

Missing and murdered Indigenous women remembered at Okanagan rally

Red Dress campaign honours the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada

Explicit sex-ed guide for adults mistakenly given to Creston elementary students

The booklet clearly states online and inside that the guide contains sexually explicit information

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

Public tip leads to seizure of drugs and weapons in North Okanagan

Concerned citizen spots male sleeping in car in residential area

Still months of investigation left into South Okanagan murders

Penticton came to a standstill on April 15, when John Brittain allegedly shot and killed four people

Most Read