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Johann Christoph Jeckel and Christian Jeckel 1789


Date: 1789

Origin: Worms

Serialnumber: ---

This early South German instrument from 1789 comes from the workshop of Johann Christoph and Christian Jeckel in Worms and is absolutely similar to the instrument from 1790 in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The case of the instrument is made in various fruit woods (mainly plum and sycamore) and is decorated with inlays and frames and fillings. The lid edges, as well as the lower part of the instrument are decorated with a wooden profiled strip that runs around the entire instrument, without the back. The keyboard is made from ebony and bone. The fronts are held in two different woods and each shows a rhombus (two keys together). Below the keyboard are 4 hand stops arranged in pairs in a niche. They serve the following modifications:


  1. Pantalon (no stops switched): The sound is similar to a Dulcimer (Pantalon) or tangent piano, as the strings are struck with the wood of the hammer and without damping.
  2. Harp: The split damping suspension has been lowered to the strings. The effect imitates a harp.
  3. Fortepiano: A small piece of cloth is pushed between hammer and string (moderator). The sound is like an early piano.
  4. Lute: The Fortepiano and Harp tabs are switched at the same time to produce a fine soft tone.


The action is a primitive Prellmechanik without escapement, the hammers are not covered with leather and the instrument is double strung. Below the soundboard is a glued paper label containing the handwritten signature:

„Dieses (r ?) Bandlong haben verfertigt

Johann Christoph Jeckel, und dessen

Sohn Christian Jeckel, beyde Bürger

Orgel und Instrumentenmacher

zu Worms den 19. August 1789.”

The term Bandlong goes back to the word Pantalon or Pantaleon. Accordingly Bandlong is a variation or dialect of the word Pantalon/Pantaleon.

Signature – Johann Christoph Jeckel und Christian Jeckel 1789 – Eric Feller Collection


Johann Christoph Jeckel was born in 1731 in Gondetz (today Poland) and worked from 1750 to 1754 as a carpenter’s assistant in Poznan. From 1763 he was in Worms where he applied for citizenship and probably had previously worked for the organ maker Johann Georg Linck (1724 – 1762). After Jeckel had married his widow he worked from 1763 to 1767 for an organ maker in Frankfurt. This was probably Philipp Ernst Wegmann (1734 – 1778) to which a special connection existed: The organ builder Johann Christian Köhler (1714 – 1761) in Frankfurt, whose own son died young, trained his stepson Philipp Ernst Wegmann to be a workshop successor, and in the years around 1747 – 1758 Johann Georg Linck was his most important employee. Jeckel received only 1767 citizenship in Worms. His son (Johann) Christian Jeckel (1763 – 1820) worked and signed from 1789 together with his father, who died in 1813.

Jeckel signed his instruments twice: Once beneath the soundboard, before the soundboard was glued in and in the small box left from the keyboard probably when finishing his work. Between the two dates there are mostly five months past. Between 1779 and 1784 he signed his instruments with “Clavier” and from 1789 on he used the word “Bandlong”. (See M. Clinkscale: “Makers of the Piano 1700-1820“)

Jeckel’s preserved instruments are very similar to the pianos made by Boos and Mahr. He made instruments with and without dampers. They always have hand stops separated for bass and treble below the keyboard in an identical manner as instruments made by Mahr. If he built instruments with dampers then always uses underdampers. The case of Jeckel’s earliest preserved piano from 1779/80 is marketed in a similar, elaborate way as instruments made by Boos. The similarity in decoration and construction with instruments by Boos’ or Mahrs suggest that Jeckel had worked there, but perhaps he received his knowledge in Frankfurt at the organ workshop from Philipp Ernst Wegmann where Johann Andres Mahr also worked at his time as a journeyman (Note: Many thanks to M. Günther for the information regarding Jeckel.)


Further preserved instruments by Johann Christoph Jeckel u. Christian Jeckel:

  • 1783 Clavier – Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, New Haven USA
  • 1785 Clavier – Handel Haus, Halle an der Saale Germany
  • 1785 Clavier – Kurpfälzisches Museum, Heidelberg Germany
  • 1785 Clavier – Town Archive of the City of Worms, Worms Germany
  • 1790 Bandlong – Metropolitan Museum, New York USA (click here)



Length: 142,3 cm

Width: 49,5 cm

Height: 16,5 cm

Circumference: 4 ½ octaves (C - f3)

Mechanics: primitive Prellmechanik without escapement

Pedals: 4 hand stops – Pantalon, Harp, Fortepiano, Lute

Signature: „Dieses (r ?) Bandlong haben verfertigt
Johann Christoph Jeckel, und dessen
Sohn Christian Jeckel, beyde Bürger
Orgel und Instrumentenmacher
zu Worms den 19. August 1789.”