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MMD > Archives > June 1995 > 1995.06.19 > 05Prev  Next

Piano Case Styles and Important Lesson on Preservation
By Mike Walter

Subject: Piano Case Styles

Terry Smythe mentioned a couple of days ago that he was looking for various designs of piano cases, since there is not very much avail- able on the subject. Back in 1926 the Chickering Company produced a small brochure (around 30 pages) that included photographs of their pianos in homes around the country. The brochure also includes the sizes available and the weight of each piano and also boxed weight and cubic footage. The latter pages include period designs with the AMPICO included. I have only photocopies of the original pages and they certainly do not give justice to the original instruments, but at least I know that something like that does exist, and there are probably are other copies floating around out there. All you have to do is look for them!

A sad story to pass on which has a definite lesson for everyone!

Over ten years ago, long established piano store in Downtown Buffalo decided to close its main store and do business only in the burbs. Knowing that they had been a Steinway dealer I inquired whether they had any rolls on the various floors upstairs. No one knew anything about old piano rolls or player piano parts at all. About two months ago I was talking to a man who went into the same store probably on the last day they were open. He did get permission to look around and see what was to be seen. He looked on all the floors and didn't see much worth talking about. He then went into the basement and was surprised to see all sorts of player parts and everything else immaginable. He related to me that in one seperate room there were floor to ceiling wooden crates stacked on their sides. In each of the crates were brand new piano rolls. Probably Duo-Arts! Unfor- tunately he wasn't into player pianos at that time, and so he left them. Soon after that the building was demolished with all the rolls and everything else that was in the basement! To this day the lot is empty. I often wonder if some Duo-Art rolls could be dug up out of the rubble. If you know of any long established music stores in your area, Go and visit them!! Ask to look around in their basements, and if you see anything, grab it if you can. You may never get another chance.

Mike Walter

(Message sent Tue 20 Jun 1995, 02:28:26 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Case, Important, Lesson, Piano, Preservation, Styles

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