Aeolian and Beckwith Pianos
By Mark Van Essen
I have questions about two pianos. First, my Beckwith:
1. The serial number is about 44,000 below the lowest number listed in Pierce's Piano Atlas, which only goes back to the year 1900 for Beckwith. The numbers increased by 7,000 per year, so would I be safe to count backwards from the year 1900? Or, was there another number system for players?
2. I read somewhere that Beckwith pianos are better quality than average. The sound board, ribs, etc., seem to be in very good condition. My bubble was burst by a player rebuilder who named Beckwith as one of the worst. Any opinions out there?
3. This Beckwith came with a cabinet for roll storage and a stool with claw feet and glass balls. The finish on both appear to be the same as the piano, which I know to be original. Both are in good shape. Any guesses on the value of these?
Next, my 1917 Aeolian Metrostyle Themodist.
4. There is a plate in the spoolbox with Aeolian information on it. This plate covers the back and bottom of the spoolbox, and is quite worn from the roll tabs striking it. This plate is printed, not stamped. What are my options for this restoration? Should I just leave it the way it is, or can this plate be restored in some way?
5. The plates for the expression levers on the keyslip are worn, also. These are stamped, with the background being painted(?) black, and the letters are raised metal. They are tacked, not screwed, to the piano. There are only levers, no buttons. What can I do to restore these plates?
6. I'm looking for a service manual for this piano. Any suggestions?
One more question. I would like to give each of my two children a player piano restored by me. I thought it might be nice to have a plate engraved with information about the piano, and myself, with the hopes of creating a treasured heirloom. Something short and sweet like, "To my darling daughter, Tina, on your 16th birthday, (month day year.) This 1917 Aeolian player piano, lovingly restored for you by your adoring father. Mark David Van Essen." Where would I put such a thing, or should I not attach it to the piano, since it would not be original to the piano?
Thanks and Happy Holidays!
(Message sent Thu 5 Dec 1996, 04:01:44 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)