Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The piano chemist

So, who is this forgotten musician chemist?

As far as I know he was not able to play an instrument very well and was not singing opera in the evening. It is the man who is the probably only chemist who has a named musical instument.

Behold the Bechstein-Siemens-Nernst grand piano!

This piano was named after these guys

Carl Bechstein (with a moustache growing out of his nose), Werner von Siemens (nice 'only on the cheeks moustache') and the chemist Walther Nernst (with his perpetual pince-nez)

The Bechstein-Siemens-Nernst grand piano (or neo-Bechstein piano) was one of the first electric pianos. Invented by Nernst with the help of the Bechstein company for the piano and the Siemens company for elecrical parts.

The strings vibrate in a magnetic field which produces an electric current in the coil around the magnet.

A radio amplifier is used to produce an electronically modified sound which comes out of the speaker of a connected phonograph. The piano sounded like an electric guitar.

Nernst started to build single string models in the lab.

In 1930 Bechstein introduced the piano on the market and Nernst could fidget with the real thing.

It was not a big succes, but a named musical instrument is more unique than a named fractioning column or a named condensor.


ZAL said...

A piano that sounds like an electric guitar is something so awesome that I can barely think about it...nowadays it would be useless, though, since we have invented synthethyzers...

Andrew said...

I never thought that Bechstein would be involved with chemists...

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