Friedrich Mathuschek

Von Peter Higgins aus Kanada, dessen Frau zu den Nachkommen des Friedrich Mathuschek zählt, erhielten wir folgenden Nachruf auf den Klavierbauer:

THE NEW YORK TIMES - Wednesday, November 11, 1891

Frederick Mathushek the well-known piano manufacturer and inventor of this city, died Monday, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, at 242 West One Hundred and Twenty-third Street, the residence of his grandson, Victor Hugo Mathushek, with whom he had been living for the past five years. His death was due to the natural infirmities incumbent on old age.

Frederick Mathushek was born June 9, 1814, in the Palace of Mannheim, Germany. From his early youth he showed a great desire to learn the secrets of the piano-making trade, which at that date was in its infancy. The story goes that one day the reigning Grand Duchess, Stephany, caught the youngster in her drawing room calmly dissecting her grand piano. Rather amused than otherwise at this thirst for knowledge, the noble lady had the lad apprenticed to a leading piano manufacturer in the town. With this man Mathushek stayed till his seventeenth year, and then he started on a tour through all the principal cities of Germany, Austria, and Russia inspecting the progress of foreign manufacture. His fame as a young of remarkable inventive genius had already preceded him, and when he reached London he easily obtained a most responsible position with the great house of Erard.

In 1849 he came to this country, his first connection being with John B. Dunham, then the leading maker of this city. While with this firm Mathushek constructed the first overstrung piano ever made in this country but Dunham hesitated to adopt it, saying that it was twenty years ahead of the times. In 1854 Mathushek joined the Wallace Pianoforte Company, which made a specialty of his inventions. While with them Mathushek produced the double sounding board piano, the lifting hammer rail for soft pedal purposes,the mammoth grand piano used in Gilmore's memorable musical festival at Boston, the orchestral equalizing scale, and the little Colibri. This latter piano gained the highest diploma awarded by the American Institute at the exhibition in this city of 1864.

Mathushek's last invention was that of the equilibre system of pianoforte, patented in 1879. Owing to that inherent carelessness common to many inventive geniuses. Mathushek neglected to patent more than one-half of his numerous inventions. At the time of his death he was superintendent of the Mathushek & Son Piano Company, 344 and 346 East Twenty-third Street.