Mustel, Victor, celebrated French builder of harmoniums; b. Le Havre, June 13, 1815; d. Paris, Jan. 26, 1890. He began as a carpenter, and in 1844 went to Paris, where he worked in several shops, becoming foreman in Alexandra’s harmonium factory. He established himself in 1853, and the following year invented the harmonium with “double expression” which won 1st prize at the Paris Exposition of 1855. From 1866 the firm was famous as V. Mustel & ses Fils. He also constructed an instrument consisting of graduated tuning forks in a resonance box, operated by a keyboard; this was patented in 1886 by his son Auguste Mustel (1842–1919) as the “Celesta.” Tchaikovsky heard it in Paris and became so enchanted with it that he used it for the first time in any score in his ballet The Nut cracker.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire