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PianoIn 1796, the first U.S. patent for a piano was issued to James Sylvanus McLean of New Jersey, for “an improvement in piano fortes.” The Patent Office fire (15 Dec 1836) destroyed the record. No detailed information remains except the patent title and patentee in a book listing patents, privately published earlier. The first known printed reference to a piano in America was in the Massachussetts Gazette (7 Mar 1771). Pianos had been imported, until the first one, a square, was made in America in 1775 by Johann Behrent, a German immigrant in Philadelphia. The first important maker was Charles Albrecht in the same city, who, from about 1790, made close copies of English designs. The first piano-like instrument known in the U.S. was a spinet built by John Harris, described in the Boston Gazette(18 Sep 1769).«[Image: Example of a 1796 English instrument, a Stodart grand piano.]
Devil at the congregation
One bright, beautiful Sunday morning, everyone in the tiny town of Johnstown got up early and went to the local church. Before the services started, the townspeople were sitting in their pews and talking about their lives and their families.
Suddenly, the Devil himself appeared at the front of the congregation. Everyone started screaming and running for the front entrance, trampling each other in a frantic effort to get away from evil incarnate.
Soon everyone was evacuated from the Church, except for one elderly gentleman who sat calmly in his pew, not moving, seemingly oblivious to the fact that God's ultimate enemy was in his presence. Now this confused Satan a bit, so he walked up to the man and said, "Don't you know who I am?"
The man replied "Yep, sure do."
Satan asked "Aren't you afraid of me?"
"Nope, sure ain't," said the man.
Satan was a little perturbed at this and queried "Why aren't you afraid of me?"
The man calmly replied "Been married to your sister for over 48 years."