post

Antique Pianos – an Introduction

Rather than being restricted to any formal definition of an antique being “at least a hundred years old” we will generally use the term on this site to refer to instruments that are at least somewhere in that vicinity. Other terms may be Vintage Pianos or Classic Pianos.

Depending on one’s perspective and interests the antique category can be further divided into areas that focus more on a particular aspect such as type, style or period (early pianos, those much older, are a special breed in which case we will identify them as such but otherwise we will use the term “antique” more generally).

For instance many of us love the old antique upright pianos for their nostalgia, looks and sound. It may be hard to find a similar wood or design in a contemporary instrument. Even if you find something close, it isn’t quite the same thing and we know it. Those old pianos even have a certain smell (although that could be good or bad).

Square grands hold a special interest for some. These are essentially a forerunner to the modern grand piano and although possessing some pleasing attributes they are hard pressed to compare to a modern piano in playability or sound. Nonetheless they do have their own peculiar charm.

As with anything in culture, whether cars, fashion or haircuts, older pianos can be recognized by the time period in which they were produced. Many of us like antique pianos so much because of their look. A gorgeous inlaid rosewood front board or carved tiger oak cabinet can be captivating. But if that’s your interest, you will be looking at instruments built pretty much prior to 1920.

In addition to furniture style, the time period will naturally determine certain aspects of the piano from a technical standpoint. Obviously newer innovations will not be found in earlier instruments. So it can be instructing, even fascinating, to compare pianos from different periods to learn more about their differences.

About Cool Piano

146 Responses to “Antique Pianos – an Introduction”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Heather says:

    Am looking to find sconces for my fer manthey upright. It is 1869 with 85 keys. The serial # is 4606. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Heather, I can check through my inventory but it may take me a few days. Not sure how particular you are about matchng the original. I have emailed you for further discussion. Meanwhile if anyone else has something for you they can mention it here in the comments. BTW, if the serial number is actually 4606 our records show the date as 1903.

  2. Jill says:

    I have a Francis Connor piano that was given to me almost 20 years ago. It was found in the basement of an old church, but is in decent condition. The last time it was tuned was 1983. Other than that, I know nothing about it. I’m interested in selling it but I can’t find much about it online and am unsure of it’s value. Any suggestions for where to start?

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Jill, thanks for visiting the site.

      The Francis Connor factory was established in the 1870’s. The brand is not one of the better known but did appear to have a respectable reputation. We have little information about the company much beyond the turn of the century.

      You don’t say whether it is an upright or grand which can have some bearing on the value. For the most part it’s condition and the local market will determine value more than anything else.

      The following articles may be of benefit. Good luck!

      http://www.coolpianostuff.com/selling-your-piano-start-here/

      http://www.coolpianostuff.com/how-much-is-my-piano-worth/

    • Lacyr Junior says:

      Hello Jill

      I have a Francis Connor piano as well and I would like to sell it. This piano is almost 50 years. Did you get the price? It’s so difficult to get information and price from Francis Connor piano.

      Thank you and regards

      Lacyr

  3. tiffany says:

    I would like more information on a piano I have come across. It is a De Rivas & Harris. New York. THe serial nember is 27638. thanks

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Tiffany, thanks for visiting the site. That serial number for De Rivas & Harris puts the date at c. 1914. In addition to that brand they also built the Candler and Farrington brands. Located in New York City, the company began in 1906 and lasted until roughtly 1925. Their production was probably decent quality in their day and included uprights, small grands and players.

  4. Felicia says:

    I have a steinhauer Chicago cabinet grand. I cannot find the value of this piano. Where do I start?

  5. chanel says:

    Hi I would really like some information about the piano ive come across that I know nothing about, other then it sounds great. It is an upright piano, on the front above the strings it say wilson piano co. Milwaukee WI. I believe thats all in brass. Ive searched high and low for any numbers and dates. But cant seem to find much. There is a 4 digit number on a peice of wood that starts with 5 but thats all thats readable. Theres also something on the top that says paitent pending double pressure bar. Any info would be great!

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Chanel, thanks for the question.

      The Wilson Piano Co. in Milwaukee Wisconsin was owned by the Waltham Piano Co. which was associated with a few other brands as well. It’s possible there may be some brass but more likely the color is gold paint over the cast iron plate. It was common to “advertise” features such as patents with information cast into the plate.

      Serial numbers can sometimes be difficult to find but most often on uprights will be somewhere in the top front area of the plate above the strings. Without a valid serial number we can’t give an accurate date. The numbers we have for Wilson Piano Co. are all five digit so either you are missing a digit from your number or it is not the serial number. Years range from 1900-1928.

      Wilson: http://www.coolpianostuff.com/pastbrands/wilson-piano-co/

      Waltham: http://www.coolpianostuff.com/pastbrands/waltham-piano-co/

  6. Jeff Stevens says:

    I have a Schiller and company baby grand that also says Haines and brothers on the inside of the keyboard. The serial number I found was 10982 which according to anything I could find dates it to pre 1900. I have been unable to find a contact number for the schiller company which appears to now be in stevens point, Wisconsin. Any info you could provide me about this piano would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Cool Piano says:

      We would need to clarify the identification of the instrument before we could tell you much about it. There was no Schiller & Co. that we are aware of although there was a Schiller Piano Co. located in Oregon, Illinois and a J. Schiller in Berlin, Germany, neither related to the other.

      German Schiller: http://www.coolpianostuff.com/pastbrands/schiller-j/

      American Schiller: http://www.coolpianostuff.com/pastbrands/schiller-piano-co/

      The company with the Wisconsin address is apparently a retail music store using the name on pianos built, we would guess, in China. Hard to tell as they aren’t particularly forthcoming. They cite a history of the German instrument to promote their own. It’s possible, though doubtful, they could provide any information about your piano. The Schiller name has also been used recently by Bluthner but its status is uncertain right now.

      As for Haines, again there was no Haines & Bros. that we know of but there was a Haines Bros. and later a W.P. Haines & Co., both in New York, and neither as far as we know related to Schiller.

      If you piano is a Schiller from Illinois serial number 10982 puts it at c. 1901.

      • Jeff Stevens says:

        Thank you for the information. I checked the labels again and it is a Haines brothers new York piano. It also says Schiller piano company Oregon ill. The serial number I had sent before is correct and thank you for dating it to @ 1901. I did a little research and the Schiller piano company has some cool history. I am not a piano guy and know very little about them. Is their any value to this piano? Or is this something that would be better off donated toa school or something?it sounds great and is a beautiful piano. if it has any potential value I would see about having it refinished. Thank you again for the information

  7. Ferguson says:

    Hello,

    I have inherited a Story and Clark upright piano. The serial # is: 108622. It also says Chicago underneath Story and Clark on the upper part of the sound board.

    I’m curious as to what it is worth currently. Only one key sticks – all others sound good and tuned. It is a bit scuffed up from moving or kids (I’m sure) over the years.

    I’m debating on whether I could get more $$ out of it if I painted it to resell. Suggestions? I don’t want to put to much $$ into it if it wouldn’t make much of a difference to Shabby Chic/Antique buyers.

    Thanks!

    -Newbie to old piano’s

  8. Richard A. says:

    I have a De Rivas & Harris upright piano with the serial number of 34073. I would like to know what year it was made. Thank you.

  9. Brian says:

    We have a Steinhauer Cabinet Grand – completely refurbished about 7 years ago. Serial Number is 102606.

    I understand that would give us the year manufactured, and possibly the approximate value; any thoughts would be appreciated.

    thanks

  10. Brian Thomas says:

    Just curious on dating our Wadsworth upright piano. I believe the serial number is 18041. There seems to be little to no information on the Wadsworth Piano company (at least on line).

    Thanks

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Brian, thanks for visiting. We have very little information on Wadsworth. The piano was built by Krauker in New York and apparently also distributed by Mason & Risch in Canada. The only serial numbers we have range 54900-63400, c. 1914-1916.

      You might want to look again to see if you find a number in that range. This might help:

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

  11. Jeremy says:

    I have a Weser Bros. upright piano with the serial number 69086 and I want to know what year it would have been manufactured and an approximate value in good condition. Thanks for your help

  12. CJ says:

    I have an Ernst Kaps baby grand piano that a friend gave to me after his son died. His son worked for the historical society of Fort Worth. It needs restoring. Can you help find any information about it? The serial number is 3350 dated 1872.

    Thank you for any help you might have.
    CJ

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi CJ,

      As you say that serial number Ernst Kaps piano was built c. 1872-1876 according to our numbers. The company was establshed in Dresden Germany c. 1858 and seems to have been out of business by 1930.

      An instrument of that age really needs inspection by a qualified technician to determine it’s condition, value and potential for restoration, rebuilding or repair. At this point its condition will be more important than the name brand.

      You may want to contact the Piano Technicians Guild at http://www.ptg.org/ to find a technician in your area.

  13. Jean Kester says:

    We have a beautiful 1926 Reichardt upright player piano made out of (I am told) Black Walnut. It has beautiful carved columns on it, and the sound is very rich. We purchased it for a granddaughter taking lessons. It has been tuned to play, however we cannot get the player portion to play. I have 40+ rolls with it and we are looking to sell it and have listed it all over our area. Is there a market for these any longer? I was told by our piano tuner with the exception of a few blemishes it is in excellent shape for its age!

    • Cool Piano says:

      Sadly the market for pianos has declined in recent years, more so for old uprights, and especially so for old players. Your best hope may be to find someone specifically interested in an older player and willing to invest in the work necessary to make it playable. Here are a couple of sites which may be helpful:

      http://www.amica.org/

      http://www.mmdigest.com/

  14. Bri says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve just purchased a 7′ Karl Kutschera antique Viennese piano (85 keys). There’s not much about old Austrian grands online and almost nothing about Karl Kutschera specifically (although this was apparently the name of Maria Von Trapp’s father, who also lived in Vienna around that time period, but I have no idea if it’s the same person or if that’s just a common German name).

    I’m aware that antique Austrian grands generally aren’t considered worth much unless they’re Bosendorfers, which is fine; I like the look and the tone of it and am an amateur player. I’m just curious in finding out whatever I can about the piano. Serial number appears to be 1506 (unless I am looking at the incorrect number). It has a medal on the front for the 1873 Weltausstellung (World’s Fair) but I know that Austrian makers would display these medallions on their pianos for years after they were won, so that only narrows the year down to “sometime after 1873″. By comparing my piano to similar ones online, I think I can narrow it down to between 1886-1890, but I’d love to find out something more exact, if possible.

    Thank you for your help! :)

    ~Bri

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Bri,

      Unfortunately you have one of those names we simply don’t have much information on. Typically instruments of that era have their own beauty and charm but are naturally different from more modern instruments in a number of ways.

      According to our information the company may have been established around that 1873 date but we have no viable serial number information available. I wish we could tell you more. Good luck in your endeavors!

  15. Justin says:

    Hi, I was given a steinhauer cabinet grand. According to the serial numbers It was built in 1915.I have scoured the web for information about the manufacturer and have come up with almost nothing. I’m curious about where it was manufactured, and what kind of quality they were known for.

    Thanks,
    Justin

    P.s. great site :)

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Justin, thanks for visiting. The basic location and years of that brand can be found on its page at http://www.coolpianostuff.com/pastbrands/steinhauer/. Beyond that we can’t offer much detailed information about Steinhauer, which is not at all unusual. Thousands of brand names came and went in the heyday of the piano. Very few exist today.

      The “Cabinet Grand” notation was basically used to promote uprights as being larger, better sounding, etc. than other uprights. Sometimes that was justified and other times it was more a marketing ploy.

      What is generally more important regarding an instrument’s playability and value is it’s age and condition. It’s quality when built has some bearing but not nearly as much as its environment and the care it has received throughout its life.

      Enjoy the piano.

  16. K. says:

    I was exploring through an abandonded hospital in New York many years ago, and there was this hideous large upright piano located in a large room that still had wheel chairs, walkers and other aids for the disabled strewn about. I remember the piano having the name DeRivas & Harris on the inside of the lid. I remember plunking on a couple of the keys and to my dismay several black rats skurried out of the front of the piano. One rat lept right onto my arm and the thing wouldn’t release. I was screaming and my boyfriend runs over to me grabbing the rat and throwing it to the ground. I had no idea rats would attack like that. Before my boyfriend and I left the old hospital he walked over to the gross old paino and pushed the piano knocking it backside down. He wanted to take an axe to it, but I just wanted to get out.

    • Cool Piano says:

      What fun! Sounds like something one might see on late night TV. I’ve come across my share of mice, living and dead. It definitely keeps you on your toes. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Erin says:

    Hi, I have just been given a Evans Bros piano, s/n 12042. I was wondering at the age of the piano. Its in beautiful condition, birds eye maple veneer and works great. Thanks

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Erin, thanks for stopping by.

      According to our information, that instrument was built c. 1915. Enjoy your piano.

  18. mary says:

    I have a Laffargue upright Piano serial 72945. Could you tell me something about it. We bought it at an estate sale about 20 years ago. What would it be worth and any dates you might have. Never been tuned since we had it, but sounds real good. Little rust on inside. Thanks a lot.

  19. Adrian says:

    A cousin of mine is offering to give me her DeRivas & Harris upright, mahogany piano. She said it needs 3 new hammers and a tuning, and at some point had been quoted $1000 for the work. I’m hesitant to take in an instrument needing that much money sunk into it without knowing if it’s worth the cost to repair. Any thoughts or advice? I’ve never seen it in person, only pictures, and don’t know anything about where it’s been kept all these years.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Adrian,

      Your hesitation is well placed. An instrument of that age, especially with an uncertain past, should definitely be considered carefully. It may well be worth investing some time, money and TLC but there is no way to determine that without a thorough inspection by a qualified technician. Even a “free” piano could become quite costly. You may find, however, that the instrument has potential and decide it is something you would like to have. To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  20. Debra Downey says:

    Have a Weser bros New York upright #116882 can you tell me what year it is?

  21. Michelle says:

    Hi, I have a E. D Westermeyer baby grand piano s/n 945, looked in the various piano books but only can find out about Westermeyer. Haven’t found any history about the piano.

    Would be very appreciated if anyone can tell anything about this piano.

    Thank you

    Michelle

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Michelle,

      Ed. Westermeyer was a small firm in Berlin. According to our information they built pianos approximately 1863-1938 and serial numbers range 1180-15050. While it’s possible yours was an earlier instrument, it’s also possible the number 945 is not actually the serial number.

      One may often find other numbers on a piano which can be confused with a serial number. The diagrams at the link below might help you locate it.:

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

      If you find a number in the range mentioned we could date it for you. Beyond that there doesn’t seem to be much information available on the company, which is not uncommon for a majority of names from the past.

      • Michelle says:

        Hi
        Is there anywhere I can attach a photo of the serial no ? Also I’m sorry I wrote down the wrong number it’s 914 not 945.

        Thank you for your help

        Michelle

  22. Michelle says:

    Hi,
    If it not possible to upload then this what it says :
    Flugel u PIanino Fabrik
    Bon Ed.Westermayer
    Berlin
    No 914

    Thanks

    Michelle

    • Cool Piano says:

      A picture wouldn’t really help in this case. Serial number information is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate or unreliable but it’s the best we have available. Much of this sort of information has been lost to history. So it may be that your serial number is valid but we are unable to date it more precisely than c. 1860 or so.

      Ironically the earliest serial numbers we have listed are supposedly from 1860 but the company was also supposedly established in 1863. This sort of discrepancy is sometimes due to dates attributed to some formal status of a business entity but the builder may have built pianos prior to that date.

  23. Joe says:

    We have a De Rivas and Harris, New Yourk, with the serial number 35539. Can you help us with the year made?

    Thanks,,Joe
    Pensacola, FL

  24. Janette says:

    Across the inside top back says Franklin Piano Co New York Patent action Frame.. Serial # 19458 could you date this for us its a upright
    Thank you

  25. Robert says:

    I have a Gourlay, Winter and Leeming that has possibly been in my family since manufacture. The only number I could find was 986. It was underneath the manufacturers logo on the sound board. A GWL was sold in Hamilton to an E. Pearce who was a relative. It is a quite ornate pano. Can you tell me any more?
    Thank you

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Robert,

      Gourlay, Winter & Leeming, based in Toronto Canada, was a retailer of pianos and related musical items for a few years before it began building pianos c. 1904. The first year we have serial numbers for is 1905 beginning with 900. If 986 is the serial number of your piano, and it sounds like it probably is, we estimate it was built that same year c. 1905 or possibly the next. The company lasted until 1924 when it was bought by Sherlock-Manning which continued using the name until c. 1961.

  26. Tammy says:

    I have a Keller Bros upright #9548 with ivory keys. Can you tell me the year and a little about what it might be worth totally restored?

  27. Rachel Starling says:

    Do you have any information on Thien pianos? Rachel

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Rachel. I don’t know of a Thien but I presume you mean Thein. I can’t tell you much but we do have a Thein page at http://www.coolpianostuff.com/pastbrands/thein-otto/. The Otto Thein company, located in Bremen Germany, was established c. 1863 and went out of business c. 1966. We do have serial number information available. If you know yours, we can provide a likely date for your piano.

  28. Alison says:

    I had just picked up a laffargue upright piano. We had to take some pieces off to move it and I noticed a number that was under it lid and it was different from it serial number. Should these numbers be different? One is ingraved the other was large hand written numbering on the wood it seemed like it was the same color as the finish of the piano. Sorry about this question if it I dumb but this is my first piano other then the one I had at my parents house as a kid.

    Thanks
    Alison

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Alison,

      There are no dumb questions, only dumb…wait, that doesn’t sound right. :) Seriously, it was, and still is, quite common for a manufacturer to assign a production number to an instrument in the factory. By applying that number to the various pieces they can make sure they go on the correct piano and don’t get mixed up. The production number is different from the serial number which is assigned to the completed instrument.

  29. Kelsey says:

    hello. i found the back of an upright piano at my art school. i decided to make it into a sculpture. half the strings on the treble bridge are still there and all the pegs are still in. but everything else is pretty much gone. it says Evans Bros Ingersoll in the top right corner. and i found the number 14809 on it. any information would been great. i am just interested in maybe the age or anything about the number i found. thank you very much and i hope to hear back :)

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Kelsey,

      Yeah, sometimes a piano can only continue to live in some other form :)

      I’m not sure how much you have left there but a word of caution. If the strings are at full tension, there is some risk of injury. I would make sure the tuning pins are turned counterclockwise enough to lessen the string tension. They don’t need to be competely loose but enough to reduce the tension on the plate and less risk of string breakage. When that wire breaks it can move pretty fast and cut you or hit you in the eye, something you should want to avoid.

      Having said that, Evans Bros. was established in London Ontario Canada about 1872 and moved to Ingersoll around 1887 where they remained in business until approximately 1930. Piano serial number 14809 was built c. 1916.

      Have fun with your piano art.

  30. donnell says:

    I have a kohler and chase upright piano serial number 14796 under kohler and chase it says made by franklin I wanted some info about it thanks

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi donnell,

      Kohler & Chase serial numbers grew by about 1000 a year or less and reach 8500 in 1905. In 1906 they begin again at 51000 and go up from there. So there’s quite a jump which generally indicates some change in manufacturing or business structure. It was not uncommon for companies to be affiliated in one way or another and sometimes that is reflected in serial numbers.

      I couldn’t tell you what the Franklin name means there. Kohler & Chase was in San Francisco. There was a Franklin Piano Co. but it was in New York.

      It may be that the number you have cited is not the serial number. If that’s the case the diagrams at the link below might help you find the correct number.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

      Beyond that any worthwhile information such as condition or value would need to be determined by a qualified piano technician or other expert who can physically inspect the instrument.

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  31. June Briggs says:

    I have just been given a Wadsworth Piano by a neighbour who was moving. I live in the UK and understand that these pianos were made in the USA?
    I will try to search for a serial number- did they export to UK?

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi June,

      We have very little information on Wadsworth. The name was apparently used by Mason Risch in Canada and Krakauer in New York. As for their export history to the UK, we couldn’t say except that apparently at least one piano was :) .

  32. Dave says:

    Hello I recently purchased a warren company piano serial number 74320. I have been unable to find any information on it ( age, value, ect.) I found very litlle info on the company, only that it was around from 1911-1918. Any further information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance Dave

  33. Lisa says:

    Hi there! I have a Hospe (M. Schulz & Co.) piano, serial number 97774. Can you tell me what year it was made? It has a couple of keys that don’t work, but other than that, some surface finish crazing and veneer damage, it still plays well and appears to be a really nice piano. We wondered if it was worth the investment to refinish it. I plan to have it looked over by a local piano guy, but wanted to get some background on the quality of the M. Schulz & Co. brand of pianos first.

    Thanks!

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Hospe Piano Co was actually a retailer in Omaha, Nebraska who had pianos built under their name by M. Schulz & Co. which seems to have had a good reputation. For a vintage piano like that, it’s condition and the local market will probably have more impact on the value than the original quality. I would definitely get an opinion from a technician who can advise based on both it’s condition and other factors such as your long term intentions for the instrument.

      Your number is not in the range of serial numbers we have. You may find the diagrams below helpful in finding the serial number. If you do find a number between 140000-192000 we can tell you the date.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

  34. Wayne says:

    Hi there i have a lovely old Weser serial number 96894 i have had it a while now and has to almost have the best feel and tone to any piano i have ever played before can you please give me an idea how old it may be kindest regards …

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Wayne,

      According to our records, if it is a Weser Bros. from New York your piano s/n 96894 was built c. 1919.

  35. Pam says:

    Looking for any info about Camp & Co. baby grand.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Pam,

      Camp & Co. was established in New York City in 1879 by Newton Camp. Around the turn of the century the company introduced a “Newton” line of instruments and shortly thereafter changed the name of the company to Newton Piano Co. Some manufacturing was done by the Henry G. Johnson Co. in Bellevue Iowa in the 1920s and the company was taken over by Kohler & Campbell c. 1930.

  36. ine says:

    Hi,I have an upright Fritz Kuhla ser nr:4468 or 28227. Not sure wich one to use. Can can u tell me a bit more please.

    • Cool Piano says:

      We have Fritz Kuhla serial numbers which range 32000-122000 so 28227 would be the correct number. That puts the date at c. 1912 using serial numbers for Euterpe Pianos, the parent company, now owned by Bechstein.

  37. Debbie Reiners says:

    Hi, I recently bought a Schumann (Schumann Special, Chicago) 54″ upright #40076. Can you tell me anything about this piano? Thankyou.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for visiting.

      According to our records, Schumann Piano Co. was established c. 1893 in Chicago and moved a few years later to Rockville, Illinois. It was a large and well established manufacturer and seems to have enjoyed a decent reputation. In later years the name has been owned and used by other companies (not an uncommon practice) including Estey, Kimball and Samick.

      Your piano was built c. 1919.

  38. Carol says:

    I have a cabinet grand by Thiebes Manufacturing Co., Rockford, IL. The serial number is 54470. Can you give me an idea of how old this piano is? Thanks!

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for the question.

      We don’t have any information on Thiebes Manufacturing Co. in Illinois but we do know of Thiebes-Stierlin Music Co. in St. Louis Missouri. According to their serial numbers, your piano would have been built c. 1918.

  39. PJ Jones says:

    I have a Bush & Lane Victor upright piano. The number located at the top is 97779. It has been moved twice in the last 30 years. It was tuned after the first move but not after the second (over 10 years ago). It was moved by a piano company due to it had recently been tuned. My brother and I both found enjoyment in playing in our younger years, even though he can still walk in and sit down and play the most beautiful songs. Actually, in May of 2009 we had family from both sides at our home and he started playing. He and his wife were the only ones in the room with the piano. The music he played and the amazing tone and clarity of the piano brought everything to a “pin dropping” silence throughout our home. Everyone just stopped and listened. Some even thought I had put on music through speakers throughout the house. Everyone slowly and quietly (even babies and toddlers) made their way to the front room. Of course we didn’t have enough seating for everyone, but everyone was watching in amazement. All the little ones sat down on the floor near my brother and just watched in amazement. Everyone was actually at our home for our daughter’s graduation. When referencing that day in years forward everyone always recalls the beautiful music my brother played on our old piano that was full of such a wonderful solid sound. I wish I could find the words to express the beautiful tone/sound/acoustics/? sound this old piano delivers. Nothing could have ever made our girl’s day more memorable than her uncle playing at her graduation party. It was not planned, he did not have music, but he made our piano sing like it was brand new. He and I shared it as kids. He acquired it when he married. I acquired it after he adopted 3 children and needed to convert his music room to a bedroom. anyway, several people have asked me how old it is. For some reason I have always thought it was a 1901. Looked today and there isn’t a year on it. Could you possibly tell me anything you may know about this piano? I am not even sure of the wood type. I apologize for such a lengthy message, but wanted to express the most memorable moment of this amazing piano. Thank you for your time.

    • PJ Jones says:

      Oh, under Victor it has Chicago.

    • Cool Piano says:

      According to our information Victor Piano & Organ Co. was established in Chicago in 1891 and changed it’s name to Bush & Lane shortly after the turn of the century. They built a factory in Holland, Michigan and moved there c. 1905.

      The serial numbers we have go as high as 63000 c. 1930 when the company dissolved due to poor business, unfortunately a common occurrence during the time of the depression.

      It would appear the number you cite is not the actual serial number. The diagrams at the link below might help you find the serial number.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

      Bush and Lane was known as a high quality instrument, especially toward it’s later days. I’ve owned several myself and was usually impressed, although the age and condition of a specific instrument will generally be more critical than a brand name.

  40. Luci says:

    Hi! I just got an Evans Bros a few days ago and I found the serial number 17239 on it. I was wondering if you could tell me how old is it, when it was made, and the value of it! Thanks!

  41. Tera says:

    I’ve been searching for an age for my piano for quite sometime now. This website is the only one I can find that has any information on the Bowen Piano Company. The serial # of my Bowen Upright 52′ piano is 27341. It is not a player piano like most I’ve seen that have been restored. If you have any more information on this company or when my piano was made I’d really appreciate the help. Thanks.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Tera,

      We have little more information about Bowen Piano Co. (located in Boston) than a listing of serial numbers. They range from years 1913-1927.

      The first serial number we have is 38000 in1913 but it’s important to realize this type of data is not always exact. Based on the available information our best estimate is your piano was built c. 1910-1911.

  42. Becky says:

    Hey There. Thanks for being so knowledgeable about pianos. I have a Weser Bros. Upright serial # 283970 and I don’t want it to go to waste or worse to the dump, but it is untuned and lonely. Can you tell me the year based on the serial number and whether it is worth trying to save?

    Also, Not that I have a piano problem, but I rescued a 1936 Baldwin Upright with beautiful mahogany and maybe Cherry? inlays. The keys are in bad shape, but the sound board is good. Should I scrap it or find it an enthusiast to save it?

    Thank You so much!
    Becky
    Maryland

  43. Aleia says:

    Hi!
    I am a proud owner of a Ferrand-Cecilian Upright player piano. I have some questions. I found out when it was given to me that the player mechanism was removed and the piano was actually converted to a manual piano (the piano no longer plays on its own). It has not been tuned since 1993, but it sounds pretty great! I’m not sure of the year, but given the style, it appears to be one of the first produced. This piano is in amazing condition The keys are still white! I am very anxious to know if the value is diminished because of the alteration. Please advise! Thank you so much!

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Aleia

      Given the vintage of your piano, there is likely little difference in value with or without the player. In fact, without the player it provides easier access for tuning and maintenance and is also a bit lighter if you need to move it. And if the player were still intact it would probably need a good deal of care to restore to top working order which can be fairly costly.

      The typical unrestored old upright, player or otherwise, has negligible value in today’s market although that can vary depending on a number of factors. There is no way to give you any accurate figure without seeing the instrument and knowing the local market. I recommend seeking help from a local professional. If you haven’t seen this article, I explain a bit more here:

      http://www.coolpianostuff.com/how-much-is-my-piano-worth/

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  44. Linda Jimenez says:

    Hello! I have a 1920′s (I think) Merrill upright piano. Serial number 1144. All keys work except for one. I was curious about the year it was manufactured and if I should invest in refurbishing it. It looks likes it has several coats of wood stain and varnish from over the years. The piano was given to me about 15 years ago.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for visiting.

      The serial numbers we have for Merrill Piano Mfg. Co. range from 11000-47200 for the years 1904-1926 so I’m not sure about your number. The diagrams at the link below might help you find and verify the actual serial number.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

      By far the decision to invest in an older instrument like that depends on its condition and your personal interests rather than the brand name. I would recommend you have a qualified technician inspect it and advise accordingly.

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

      If you haven’t seen it, this article may be helpful:

      http://www.coolpianostuff.com/how-much-is-my-piano-worth/

  45. Aileen says:

    Hi there! I’m so glad I found your site. Can you give me information about my Henry G. Johnson upright piano? Serial number is 9324. Thank you for such an impressive service and information that you offer.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Aileen, thanks for visiting.

      According to our information your piano was built c. 1926. The company was established in Bellevue Iowa in 1919 (by purchasing the Bellevue Piano Co. which had been started in 1906) and was in business until c. 1928. Henry G. Johnson built pianos for other companies in addition to their own brand name.

  46. Andrew G. says:

    I am looking at purchasing a Franklin Baby Grand Player Piano. The piano is in great shape overall. The woman selling it is not very knowledgeable about the piece, however, and she claims it is an 1895 piano. I found two sets of serial numbers on it. First, there is a serial number on the black metal player component under the piano, P 3333 with a 6 about a half inch below this number. On the top of the piano’s leg, where it attaches to the piano, there is the number 3802. Are either of these numbers useful in dating the piano? Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • Cool Piano says:

      I’m not sure what type of player system the instrument has but regardless, any number on the player would be different from the piano serial number. The second number you mention sounds more like a production number, something you will commonly find on various parts of the piano but again that is not a serial number.

      The numbers we have for Franklin range 10000-97000 for years 1900-1933. The diagrams at the link below might help you find the serial number. If you find one in the range above we can date the piano for you.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

      If you haven’t done so, having a qualified piano technician inspect the instrument for you prior to purchase may be advisable.

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  47. Scottie says:

    I have a Wellsmore &Co of New York piano. It needs just a little restoration, but I dont want to spend more than it’s worth restoring it. The U.S patent No. is 1055323 and I believe the 13309 # is the serial #. Does anyone know the value of this piano. I have tried desperately to find out this information, and even paid someone to find out. I came up unsuccessful with this. Thanks

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Scottie,

      According to that serial number your piano was built c. 1912.

      Without seeing the instrument and knowing more about what you want to do, it’s not possible to give any specific figures. Note that “just a little restoration” could mean any number of things.

      For an instrument of that vintage the name is less important than its condition. It’s possible you could have certain work done that would fit both your needs and your budget but again only a qualified technician could advise after inspecting the instrument.

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  48. Fred says:

    Hi there! I “acquired” a “MASON – New York” piano, s/n 149450. I’d love to know anything about this instrument’s history. The only info I find online is the Mason & Hamlin or Risch labels.

    This piano is blond wood, dusty (but no rats!), and out of tune. The soundboard is sound–but the braces do not run perpendicular to its grain.

    Any insights would be much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Fred,

      No rats is good. :)

      Yes, the Mason was a different brand from Mason & Hamlin or Mason & Risch. It was built by Jacob Doll & Sons, in business in New York from 1871-1931. According to our information your piano was built c. 1921. It would probably be best described as an average instrument.

      Generally for an instrument that old, it’s condition will be more important than the brand name. To learn more about yours, you may want to have a qualified technician inspect it for you.

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  49. Fred says:

    Thank yo so very much!! It’s great to have some sense of the heritage of this instrument–just to imagine its journey through time. Hopefully I can get it sounding passably good–and maybe keep my brain a little nimble as I descend into my waning years.

    Best to you!

  50. J. Anthonis says:

    Hi,
    I have a Ed Westermayer (baby) grand piano with serial number 11230,
    rather basic with ivory keys, and i was wondering how old it is and what kind of value it has

    kind regards

    • Cool Piano says:

      According to our information your piano was built c. 1906.

      There is no way to give you any kind of accurate figure for value without inspecting the instrument and knowing the local market. I recommend talking with a local technician, teacher, dealer or other professional who can better advise you. You may find this article helpful:

      http://www.coolpianostuff.com/how-much-is-my-piano-worth/

      Thanks for visiting the site.

  51. Jared J says:

    My husband and I are trying to decide between a W.P. Haines Baby Grand Piano serial #31402 or purchasing a Haines brothers upright piano serial #62481 (the last digit is hard to make out but we believe it’s a 1). I enjoy your site and was wondering if you could give us information on both. I’m having difficulty finding the age and deciding which one would be a better investment and good for teaching our daughter how to play. Both are in good condition and I’m having difficulty deciding which one is a better value because both are asking for a similar price. Thank you so much for your time and knowledge!

    • Cool Piano says:

      Thanks for the question. Sounds like you like the Haines name :)

      We have serial numbers for W.P. Haines starting with 36000 in 1899 but using Haines Bros. numbers, piano s/n 31402 was likely built c. 1892.

      Haines Bros. piano s/n 62481 was built c. 1915.

      But either way with instruments of such an age, their individual condition is much more important than the brand name. Since there is no way to give any kind of accurate advice without seeing the instrument I strongly encourage you to have a qualified technician inspect them for you.

      To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

      Good luck!

  52. Cassandra says:

    hello, i have a kreiter milwaukee upright piano. serial number 289441. i can’t find any thing about it what year it was made its history. if you could help that would terrific.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Cassandra,

      According to our information Krieter Manufacturing Co. was established c. 1890-1897 (date uncertain) in Milwaukee. The factory was later moved (c. 1911) to Marinette, Wisconsin. As was typical of most manufacturers, the company did not last much beyond the depression in the 1930s.

      The serial numbers we have range 500-37000 so we can’t match 289441. If you find a number within the range we have we can determine the date. The diagrams at the link below might help you find the serial number.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

  53. Noelle A says:

    Merry Christmas,
    I was given a Laffargue Cabinet Grand for Christmas. I am pretty excited about it as it is the first piano I have actually owned even though I have played since I was a child. I am sure it is not worth much because the cabinet is very scratched up, it belonged to a school for a long time, but the inner workings look to be in great condition and it has a nice sound. I was wondering how old it is? the serial number is 55738.

  54. Anthony Montoya says:

    Hello, I have recently came to be the proud owner of a W.P. Haines & co NewYork upright piano serial# 36047 I would love to know what year the piano was made, and she is worth restoring the keys, they are really warn down, but I love it, well thank you, I will be eagerly awaiting your reply, I can send some pictures also if need be

    • Cool Piano says:

      According to our records your piano was built c. 1899. As for determining its viability for having work done, you would need to have a technician inspect the instrument. To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  55. Sam g says:

    I wanted to know the date and worth of a Schmidt-Dauber piano with the serial #15304

  56. Talia says:

    I have a vintage 64 key piano. The woodwork is in good shape and all the keys work. Some of the ivory is chipped on the ends of some keys. On the front center above the keys it says ” Beethoven”. On the right above the keys it says “From Heinrzman and Co. Lmd” Inside the piano it says ” Cameo, Toronto, New York”. The serial number is 95230. Can you give me any idea as to the age, history and potential value of the piano? Thank you.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Shorter keyboard instruments such as yours have been built over the years at one time or another by a few different manufacturers. According to Heintzman & Co. serial numbers, 95230 was built c. 1954.

      The company was established in Toronto, Canada in 1866 by Theodore August Heintzman who had emigrated from Germany. As is often the case, the company went through changes in name, ownership and location over time. Most recently the name has been used by a Canadian distributor and Chinese manufacturer, although unrelated to the original company. This later use of an earlier name by a different company is also somewhat common.

      You can find more on the company at http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/heintzman-co-ltd-emc/.

      As for the Beethoven, we don’t have much specific information. Bear in mind that the value would be based on a number of factors including the condition of the instrument, the local market and other factors. This is even more the case when dealing with a somewhat unusual piano like a short keyboard.

      You may want to have a technician inspect the instrument. To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

  57. patrick says:

    can you tell me something about a joesph kramer upright from boston? is it worth any thing?i think it dates to 1906.thx

  58. Sue Chelini says:

    Hi Cool Piano,
    I loved reading your comments. I have an 85-key upright piano that says “Winkelmann, Braunschweig” and “J Muir Wood & Co., Glasgow” under the key cover. There are two numbers inside: 7116 is engraved on the top of the right side panel. 8364 is stamped on the side board. There are four ornate (brass?) candelabra and two ornate side handles. Can you tell me anything about this piano?

    • Cool Piano says:

      Thanks Sue.

      According to our information Winkelmann & Co. was established in 1837 and became known as Zeitter & Winkelmann which I believe was in business through c. 1989. They seemed to have had a good reputation as quality instruments. Keep in mind, however, that the condition of such an old instrument is more significant than any brand name (your piano was probablly built c. 1885-1890).

      As far as numbers go, either of yours could be the serial number. Likely one is the actual serial number and the other is a production number, something you would find stamped on various cabinet pieces. They are usually different.

      The diagrams at the link below might help you identify the correct number.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

  59. Sue Chelini says:

    Thank you for such an incredibly quick reply. I will check out the link.

  60. Sue Chelini says:

    I believe that 7116 is the serial number. It is engraved on the sound board in the area described on the web site. Does that tell you anything?

  61. Sue Chelini says:

    Thanks. Now to have someone look at it and see if it still is good.

  62. Tom Bilse says:

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to post a message. Your website is great.
    My wife and I own what I believe is an 1890 Emerson studio upright piano (serial # 49087. It is being restored.
    From viewing an 1889 Emerson catalog and noticing mount holes on our piano, it should have a mouse-guard plate which surrounds the (2) pedals where they “enter” the piano cabinet.
    Is there a resource for such an item?

    • Cool Piano says:

      Thanks Tom.

      I got my start in this business almost forty years ago restoring antique uprights and have a small stash of rare parts so it’s possible I could supply you something.

      We would need to clarify what you want. Strictly speaking a mouse guard was some sort of contraption that attached to the pedal to actually block entry into the inside of the piano around the pedal.

      On the other hand, decorative kick plates screwed to the cabinet behind the pedals were fairly common although they didn’t necessarily block the holes. In fact you will see something similar on some pianos today although they are mostly a very thin plain piece of brass rather than the very ornate and beautiful examples found on antique instruments.

      I don’t believe I have any actual mouse guards but I know I have several decorative plates. I would need to check my inventory and compare what I have to your instrument.

      I have emailed you so we can continue the discussion.

      • Tom Bilse says:

        Thanks for the prompt reply. Sounds good. I can fwd photos of our piano and the page from the Emerson catalog.

  63. Sandy Collins says:

    Thank you for your “cool” website and amazing information. I have a Steinhauer Cabinet Grand #69428. I would love to know the date it was built. Do you have that information?

    Thank you,

    Sandy

    • Cool Piano says:

      Thanks Sandy,

      We have a listing for the Steinhauer name, apparently used as a stencil in Chicago.

      It was not uncommon for a company to have a manufacturer build a piano for them and put their name on it, something called a stencil piano, a practice which continues even today.

      When that is the case, there isn’t usually much detailed information available about the instrument. In this case we do have some serial numbers but they range from 10625-37000 so either your number is not a valid serial number or our information is incomplete.

      The diagrams at the link below might help you find the serial number.

      http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/findno.html

      The years we have for the name are 1902-1920, a period of tremendous activity in the industry. Not long after that due to changes in entertainment trends, technology and economic issues, the popularity of pianos declined. The Great Depression especially had a devastating and lasting effect.

  64. Tom Bilse says:

    Though we’ve been communicating via e-mail, I feel compelled to “publicly” thank you for your prompt help in finding the pedal plate and sending it to me so quickly. I believe it will be a nice finishing touch to the Emerson once it’s restored.
    I will definitely inform the restoration shop about CPS, you and your website.

    Thanks again.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Tom, thanks so much for the kind thoughts. I’m glad I could contribute to the restoration of your instrument.

  65. Yvette says:

    I just acquired a Gibson upright piano with a serial number of 18459. The plate inside says Gibson @ Co. I can’t seem to find any information on this piano. Are you able to tell me how old this piano is and any other information? It has three beautiful carved panels on the upper part and lovely carved rails on the front edges and carved legs. I’m not sure what type of wood it is either which I’m also trying to find out. Not sure if you will be able to help me but any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Yvette, according to our records your piano was built c. 1902. We have listings for Gibson in New York from 1890-1908 but not much information beyond that. Your description of its appearance is typical of that era.

      If you want to learn more about your instrument I would recommend having a technician inspect it. To find a local technician you can visit http://www.ptg.org/.

      • Yvette says:

        Thank you!

      • Yvette says:

        I just pulled out all the keys to clean them and vacuum out the layers of dust in the cabinet and was surprised to find that someone had handwritten the date March 26, 1897 on the side of one of the keys. It looked like the ivory had been repaired so I’m assuming the date is the date of the repair to the key :-)

  66. larry jones says:

    trying to date a piano I am about to buy and can not find the info I want. It is a Morris piano made in listowel serial number 5278. any info would be appreciated

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Larry, thanks for visiting.

      Morris went through a number of name changes over time, not that uncommon. According to our information, it was established in Listowel, Ontario, Canada as Morris, Field and Rogers c. 1891-1892. If that is the name on your instrument and 5278 is the actual serial number the date is c. 1894 and yours was built in the first several years of the company. Here’s a bit more:

      http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/morris-pianos-ltd-emc/

  67. Lorette says:

    Hi. I have a F Helmholz piano which has been in my family for about 80 years or so. It still has the brass candle sticks, and the serial number is 7039. I have searched the internet to try and date the piano, to no avail. I would appreciate your help in this regard. Many thanks.

    • Cool Piano says:

      Hi Lorette, thanks for the question. Unfortunately we have no serial number information for F. Helmholz so can’t offer much help in dating the instrument other than the firm was apparently established in Hanover, Germany c. 1851.

Leave A Comment...

*