There were several fashionable backgrounds that one could chose. Perhaps madame would prefer the look of an interior salon. And given the difference in heights, the most balanced pose should have the gentleman seated. And yes hold the trombone just so, but please refrain from emptying the spit valve on the carpet.
This small photo is from Meriden, Connecticut. Mr. X holds a piston valve trombone. Note his button top shoes. It is wonderfully preserved with no wear to the gold edges, as if it had been in a family album until recently. Perhaps those other photos would identify this loving couple. But there is always another story behind every picture.
This dates the photo to 1882 - 1889, but a city directory can reveal much more about a community than just names. By 1890 Meriden had a population of 25,423 which was quite a jump from just 18,340 in 1880. Searching census records for "photographers" also showed quite a large number of skilled workers: machinists, joiners, burnishers, engravers, organ tuners. Wait a minute. Organ tuners? It turns out that Meriden, in addition for being known for cutlery, silverware, and metalwork, also produced pump action reed organs. The Wilcox & White Organ Co. established in 1877 designed and crafted these popular keyboard instruments for shipment all across the country. White & Wilcox Organ Co. History
And then in 1887 the famous Aeolian Organ & Music Company established its factory in Meridan.
They were famous for a very popular invention: The Pianola. This was an amazing device that used perforated paper rolls and a pneumatic mechanism to actuate reeds and play programed music. Automatic music, easily achieved by anyone, needing no real musical skill, only strong ankles! More on this incredible technology here. Pianola History
There was an astonishing number of highly skilled people needed to build these complicated musical instruments, which were really the precursors to modern computers. Woodworkers, turners, machinists, and organ tuners too, made an educated workforce that clearly knew music.
The 1890 directory lists the Meriden bands:
- Crowley Orchestra
- Korn's Orchestra
- Meriden City Band, Walter Hirschfeld, leader
- Meriden Fife & Drum Corps, Robert Hall, leader
- Meriden Military Band
- State Reform School Band, John Lyons, leader