Southwell, William

Piano maker in Dublin from 1783 and opened a business in Lad Lane London in 1794. Southwell was a prolific inventor.  He filed for several patents including improvements to the pianoforte in 1794. This patent was for improved dampers (known as the “Irish” or “dolly” dampers), extension of keyboard compass from 5 to 5 ½ octaves, and fretwork panels in the nameboard and inside the instrument. The earliest known Southwell square piano with fretwork panels in the nameboard was made by him about 1793. This piano is exhibited at Croft Castle, Herefordshire, England (National Trust). There is also a patent for an upright square piano in 1798.

Updated on 7 April 2013