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MMD > Archives > July 1997 > 1997.07.16 > 10Prev  Next

W H Howlett and Sons Piano
By Larry Lobel

This sounds like an English piano with a "birdcage" action.  They are
always in beautiful cabinets, but the insides of these pianos are
disasters; usually with loose tuning pins, and almost impossible to tune
and regulate because of the location of the damper wires in *front* of
the action.  It's best to avoid these if you want a playable musical
instrument.  As a piece of furniture they are great -- maybe it could be
converted into a unique piano roll cabinet!

Larry Lobel

 [ Editors note:
 [ In my opinion the "birdcage" damper mechanism is only a nuisance,
 [ which must be removed before servicing other components.  The 
 [ main problem is the wood frame -- these pianos were built without
 [ the usual cast-iron plate to support the tension of the strings,
 [ and so there's little tuning-stability.  The old "birdcages" I
 [ heard in England sounded rather nice, actually, when freshly tuned.
 [ MMDer Brian Thornton once worked in a Midwest shop which imported
 [ antique British "birdcage" pianos, threw out the piano guts, and
 [ mounted a new piano inside the old case.  Brian had foresight, too:
 [ he salvaged the old (spruce?) sounding-board wood !
 [  -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 16 Jul 1997, 15:35:35 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  H, Howlett, Piano, Sons, W

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