Percussive Arts Society

Deagan Marimba-Xylophone, Model 4724

Deagan Marimba-Xylophone, Model 4724

Donated by Caryl Rae Hancock 2010-08-01 


During the first few decades of the 20th century, the J. C. Deagan Company of Chicago manufactured a wide variety of mallet keyboard instruments. Among these was the MarimbaXylophone in which they attempted to combine the tone and range of their marimba in the low register with the tone and range of their xylophone in the upper register. Featuring the best Honduras rosewood, trademarked as “Nagaed” (Deagan spelled backward), as well as larger bar sizes, the instrument produced “a tone superior to that of an ordinary Marimba or of an ordinary Xylophone.” 


Marketed as the Deagan instrument having the “largest range of any Marimba or Xylophone type instrument,” the marimba-xylophone was available in several models ranging in size from a petite 2 1/2 octaves to a monstrous 6-octave instrument, which allowed several players to perform on a single instrument. At first, it was manufactured with two distinct sized bars, either 1 5/8 x 5/8 inches or 2 x 5/16 inches, but later it was designed with graduated bars. 


This instrument, Model 4724, was manufactured ca. 1925 and has a range of four octaves, C3 to C7. The smallest bar measures 7 1/4 x 1 1/2 x 3/4 inches and the largest bar measures 17 1/4 x 2 1/4 x 1 inches. The frame is 69 1/2 inches long, 29 3/4 inches at its widest end, and stands 34 1/2 inches in height. The instrument has patented, tunable resonators with a frame made of quarter-sawed oak. Its lightweight, tubular floor rack is designed for quick assembly and ease of transportation. Originally nickel plated, both the floor rack and resonators have been painted gold. Deagan Catalogue “G” (ca. 1918) shows a list price of $310.00 for this model.

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