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Object Record

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Object ID # 1956.034.001
Object Name Fork, Tuning
Title Precentor's Tuning Fork (19th-century)
Lexicon category 5: T&E For Science & Technology
Made Unknown
Place of Origin Scotland?
Description This is a metal tuning fork that was used by Presbyterians in Canada West, in the 19th-century. The handle end has a small-knob-like finial. "A" is stamped near the u-shape of the fork.
Provenance Previously owned by Mrs. George F. Dewar, who told museum staff that it was brought to Canada from Scotland in 1818 by her grandfather. It was next used by her father, Hugh Robertson, when he was Precentor in the "First Church", The Auld Kirk Presbyterian, built in Beckwith, Lanark County, Canada West (c. 1850). A Precentor was the leader of a congregation's choir or singing group. A Precentor also would start the congregation in singing the Psalms. The tuning fork was inherited by Mrs. Dewar, who resided in Owen Sound, Grey County.
Collection Musical Instruments & Accessories Collection
Material Metal
Dimensions W-1.3 L-10.8 D-0.7 cm
Found Owen Sound, Grey County
Function An item useful to help get a singing group e.g. congregation to co-ordinate their voices before beginning a hymn or the singing of the Psalms. Usually a Precentor would use one. He was the fellow who led a musical group in a Presbyterian church. The term "tuning fork" began to be used around 1799. It means a two-pronged metal implement that gives a fixed tone when struck and is useful for tuning musical instruments and ascertaining a standard pitch.