Melodeon

melodeon2

Based on the images and the markings this melodeon is Rosewood and dates 1861-1871. It was made by George A. Prince, one of the largest producers of organs and melodeons during the mid 19th Century era. The company was established in Buffalo, NY in 1840, a time when furniture and instrument makers were changing from small shops into more highly mechanized factories. From the 1840’s throught the 1870’s the most common musical instrument in rural America was the small melodeon or pump organ, as they were a far less expensive item than a piano. Hundreds of thousands of them were produced. As piano makers themselves expanded production and prices dropped, the piano became more popular, by 1871 George A. Prince went out of business, his melodeons and organs a victim of changing fashions.

In the current market there is not a lot of demand for Melodeons or pump organs, at auction comparable examples in need of some restoration often sell for less than $150.00, the cost of restoring them often being prohibitive, which is why so many of them ended up beiing converted into desks.