When Sam Harris first inquired here about a number for his Steinway XR,
several responses resulted, including mine. While other contributors
suggested various hiding places, when the plate number has been covered
and lost, I suggested that there may be no serial number anywhere on
the piano other than on the plate. True, many Steinways have the
number marked in many places, so that a thorough search will often
identify the true number.
As I stated before, there are some Steinway Duo-Art pianos that have
the serial number ONLY on the plate. Those pianos left the Steinway
factory with no serial number at all, and later, the number was applied
by Aeolian. All Steinways have markings that are traceable. The case
parts are marked with production numbers.
While these case numbers are in the records owned by Henry Z. Steinway
and are not generally available, there is at least one copy of these
records. One of my friends can make a phone call and retrieve that
information. At my request he obliged.
Sam Harris identified his piano as being marked as F1019. This is a
production number. Inside sources at Steinway identify all "F" case
numbers as being produced in 1927. Specific cross references to F1019
show that indeed it is an XR Steinway, with stretched case (spool box
above keys), covered in walnut veneer, and the plate bored with small
Steinway told Aeolian on January 18, 1928, to assign number 259547 to
case number F1019. According to the Steinway web page, 1928 serial
numbers begin at 260000. Thus, Sam's piano, 259547, is an 1927 piano.
This late 1927 piano has the expected attributes of the above keybed
shifter, hammer rail lift, the lack of the dance mode on the modify
lever, and still has the external tracker ears. In other words, it is
a typical 1927 Duo-Art.
It was fun to get this information for Sam, but I will not dig out this
information as a matter of routine. I had to prevail on resources of
others and I had little to do with the recovery of the actual
information. I respect my sources and their time.
Sam, enjoy your piano and christen it again with its real number!