From a grand piano... to a wheelbarrow; Under Hammer the.
Byline: John Crane, of Cato Crane auctioneers
YOU may have heard recently that Daniel Barenboim the famous conductor and pianist has redesigned, or more to the point reinvented the concert grand pianoforte.
No, it's still the same shape but inside all the strings which are hit by hammers are parallel and don't cross over each other as they do on the ever popular Steinway 'D' model, which has not changed in concept much from its original design in 1884 and costs about PS150,000.
The 'Barenboim' has been made in Belgium by Chris Maene and has taken 18 months and 4,000 man hours to make. The design is very similar to the restored 200-year-old piano, now in Siena and played on by Franz Liszt. The pianoforte was first exhibited in 1709 by Francesco Cristofori in Florence.
You can hear Mr Barenboim play his new piano in London recitals later this year.
Playing a different tune nearer to home, and outside in the garden I have a problem. It may not look like it but my trusty lightweight plasticbodied and tubular iron 1974-designed vintage Ballbarrow has split down one side. The great advantage of the innovative Ballbarrow, above, is that it does not have a narrow wheel to put ruts in the lawns neither does it sink into the mud in wet summers.
The wheelbarrow was invented in China by the ruler of the Shu Han kingdom, Chuko Liang 181-234 A.D. He had an inventive mind 'which surpassed that of the gods' as he used his centrally wheelmounted barrow to transport large quantities of supplies to his troops along narrow paths very quietly and quickly. Well fed and healthy soldiers are successful in wars! The wheelbarrow did not arrive in Europe until the 13th century!
Who designed my Ballbarrow in 1974? Yes, you guessed it right: James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame and fortune!
Please, please, can any reader help ? If there is a Dyson Ballbarrow lying around in a garage anywhere can you let me know please, it is a very wet time in the gardens and you have an instant sale! No, I don't need a grand piano... the wheels sink into the lawns and they don't hold too many leaves.
Our antiques auction this week had many high prices. Our auction rooms are open for free valuations most days and home visits are available, but please telephone for appointments to visit us with your fine objects. We will always be pleased to see you. We know about pianos and are happy to advise on these too on home visits.
www.catocrane.co.uk or 0151 709 5559 twitter @catocrane