Why numbers?

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    Can anyone tell my why L&H number their harps instead of name or style? I know they have the Salzedo and the E Concertino but


    Maybe because when Lyon and Healy began making harps, most harpists were men. Wurlitzer, I believe, used letters to designate models. Seems that tools and machines used primarily by men are identified by numbers, i.e., Boeing 747. But then again, Singer sewing machine models were given numbers, i.e., 201, 301, etc. Could have been a fashion thing too. Maybe the trend right now is to give products a name.


    >most harpists were men

    Take a look at the 1899 catalog if you think that.


    I was thinking professional male harpists, but I can’t put my finger on my 1899 catalog at the moment to view all the women sitting and standing, poised at their harps. Perhaps the numbers appeal to men and the pictures to women ;-).


    Anyway, I spoke before doing exhaustive research on the demographics pertaining to the ratio of male to female harpists during the latter 1800’s.

    Misty Harrison

    Don’t worry Barbara, we know what you meant and you could just as well have said that most of the people making the harps were men. Sometimes people just have an axe to grind.


    >Perhaps the numbers appeal to men and the pictures to women

    That’s possible, but then again, that catalog makes a big appeal to women, if you recall–all that about how if you buy your daughter a harp, she’ll have a job for life and so on. (I wasn’t arguing that there weren’t more men in symphonic roles, that’s true for sure–heck in my own early youth it was notorious that the worst male harpist on earth would get into certain very renowned orchestras before the best female harpist would get a consideration– but there are a pretty surprising number of female soloists in there, too.)

    I think they just weren’t as obsessed with marketing subtleties as we’ve become and it wouldn’t have occurred to anyone back that if you made a good instrument people would buy something else because it had a fancy name.


    After all, the piano makers, Wurlitzer once they got started, they all used numbers. The use of model names just wasn’t something that was done much for serious instruments at that time.


    > they all used numbers

    or letters, or a combination of both

    Karen Johns

    They use numbers on other instruments as well, most notably on flutes. I have a Yamaha 385 that’s over 20 years old, and Yamaha still numbers their newer models.


    I think some of the harps are named after the year in which


    Dare I say, how sexist this is?


    I think it is probably a question of neutrality, as a name has connotations that would possibly limit appeal as much as enhance it. Suppose Lyon & Healy had named their harps after presidents, or historical figures, like Boss Tweed, Tammanny, or movie stars, like Gable, Lombard, Chaplin, Swanson—oops, we have one of those!


    I suppose there’s no way to know the Lyon & Healy mind of 1889.

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