Melodeon (lap organ)

about 1850
Charles Austin (American, 1813–1884)

Object Place: Concord, New Hampshire, United States


Length 47.7 cm, width 25.9 cm, height with bellows compressed 11.8 cm (Length 18 3/4 in., width 10 3/16 in., height with bellows compressed 4 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Americas, Musical Instruments



Compass from F to a”. Rectangular wooden case with double bellows. The bellows are divided diagonally by a thick wooden diaphragm into two chambers. The lower (left-hand) chamber serves as the primary bellows (feeder) and the upper (right-hand) chamber as a combined wind-chest and pressure increaser. The lower chamber has double flat steel spring; the upper chamber has a single flat steel spring. Two strip valves in the lower chamber, one strip valve in the upper chamber. The reed-frame serves as a cover for the upper chamber and the reed carrier. The reed are protected by two removable covers with slides for the contrasting forte and piano effects; the slides are moved by a sliding lever. The touches are round ivory buttons disposed in two rows: the one nearest the player has twenty-four touches and corresponds to the naturals on the piano; the second row, with a black circle on the top of each touch, has seventeen touches corresponding to the sharps. Between the touches there is a printed paper strip with the letters of the tones.


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection