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Due to recent events I am forced to suspend Bolton Jacks for up to a year. This might in fact be a permanent closure, we shall see. Apologies to anyone who is inconvenienced by this.

Photo of David Bolton

I supply Bolton Harpsichord Jacks, along with their associated bits and pieces:

  • plectra
  • damper felt
  • tongues with square holes for leather plectra
  • lozenges – upper guides for spinets and virginals

I also supply plans and manuals for the Bolton harpsichord kits that were formerly supplied by David Bolton. Bolton Jacks were intended for those kits, but they can also be used as replacementsare for Zuckermann jacks of the 1970s, which are the same size.

*** I cannot supply the actual kits; you will have to build from scratch.

How I came to be doing this

David Bolton (pictured) attended his first Early Music Exhibition in 1981 with just the jack, and with the promise that a harpsichord kit would follow. He progressed to designing and selling kits for harpsichords and virginals of several types. After his untimely demise, his widow Marion Bolton continued to supply the jacks and the plans and instruction manuals, together with some of the required materials.

Wishing to retire, Marion has now passed the business over to me to keep going for the sake of the community. Regrettably I can offer no technical support at all. I also cannot supply the wire that the Boltons supplied. Nevertheless, I hope this service will be useful to would-be harpsichord and virginals owners who wish to build their own instrument and are confident of their technical skills.

Are plastic jacks authentic?

David had this to say about authenticity:

"It is time to speak frankly about authenticity. The many instruments I have directly and indirectly created and their quality, especially that of [the French Double], give me the right to do so. I am one of those referred to by John Barnes as being 'annoyed to find ... that people who make copies feel themselves superior to those who design their own instruments.' All of us owe a tremendous debt to the pioneers of authenticity, but this does not mean that every dimension, every wood species, every cut nail or flat-headed hole-less tuning pin should always be copied. My kits aim to re-create approximately the sound, the touch and sometimes the appearance of the early models they are based on (Taskin in this case [the French Double]). But many things in this kit do not follow Taskin exactly. ... When you hear it, I hope you will agree with me that exact authenticity isn't everything."

I agree.

Thomas Green, York, UK