Saturday, November 24, 2018

Mosaic Monday #4 - The Piano Man


Do you own anything that is 100 years old?  Last week, our upright piano was serviced by Daryl Frank, piano technician, and he confirmed that it was crafted at the turn of the century.  This was not a complete surprise since I know it originally belonged to my maternal great-grandfather Clem.  My mother inherited it, and the piano lived with one of my sisters for a time until I adopted it.

But Daryl was a veritable font of information, confirming some points I already knew, while adding facts about the piano that were news to me.

ONE: The piano is made from quarter sawn oak.  This corroborated an assessment by our good friend Neal, the general contractor for our house who knows a lot about carpentry.  Uprights made from quarter sawn oak were the most expensive uprights you could buy.  



TWO: The piano was originally stained and shellacked a dark, almost black, color, as can be seen on the inside of the lid of the piano.  This was news (I am not sure I ever knew you could open the lid!)


THREE: Later, someone stained and lacquered the entire piano a cherry color, which still remains on some of the inside sections of the piano.  I remember this color - it was the shade I first recall on the piano, that is until my Mother decided to remove it in the late 1970s, revealing the marvelous oak grain underneath.  (She applied a protective coat of polyurethane to all the surfaces.)  Daryl and his wife Connie, who together run Daryl Frank Piano Services, remarked on the professional work of my Mother, to remove all trace of that cherry from even the intricate sections of the piano.

FOUR: Quarter sawn oak is also referred to as Chatter Oak, because of the way the saw leaves a 'chatter' pattern on the oak.  This was a new term for me; when I looked it up on the Web, most of what I found described how to eliminate chatter!!!

FIVE: The piano contains a serial number, which will allow Daryl and Connie to identify exactly when this piano was built, even though Price and Teeple has been out of business for decades.  Of course I had noticed this number in the metal frame of the piano, but I didn't realize it could be used for anything as important as this!


SIX: Daryl estimated that Great-Grandfather Clem paid $275 to acquire this piano.  In today's dollars, that equates to roughly $8,000.  I had no idea!

Detail stripped by my Mother
SEVEN: The piano is dramatically out of tune, by at least a whole tone.  Although I play, recognizing an instrument in tune is way beyond my capability.  Glad we have experts for this!  Daryl was cautious as he tuned the piano; with its age, the likelihood of breaking wires during tuning increases.


Detail stripped by my Mother
EIGHT: Humidity (or lack thereof) can affect the tuning of a piano, and Daryl theorized that the piano (moved from Ohio) might still be 'drying out' in Montana.  Until it is dried out completely, the tuning of the piano could still fluctuate.  So, partly for this reason, and somewhat due to the age of the wires, Daryl only tuned it partway and will return in the spring for another tuning.

NINE: The "action" on our piano will need repair.  The bridal tape, a component that moves the hammer back and forth to strike the strings, is made of leather.  After 100 years, those skinny bits of leather have started to deteriorate.  Also, the felt on many of the hammers (especially for those keys used frequently) has been crushed and will not be effective.  The good news?  Daryl can simply remove the action and take it to his shop, rather than have to move this massive instrument.  He plans to do this in the spring, after or as part of the next tuning.


TEN: Piano craftsmen often put pennies inside the instruments for good luck.  Another novel fact.  But, no, we are not going to tear it appart to see if we have one of those lucky pennies!

ELEVEN: Daryl pointed out the scrollwork inside the piano, which I had taken for granted.  Apparently, the decorations were hand-painted onto the metal frame.  The painter must have had a steady hand!


TWELVE: While packing his tools to leave, Daryl asked if we had any trouble getting the piano across the state border.  Spousal Unit and I exchanged puzzled looks, and he explained that some states are starting to explore legislation prohibiting the import of ivory, regardless of its age or source.  Oh my goodness - after all the trouble we had getting the piano into position (see previous post), I can't imagine what I would have done if someone wanted to strip the keys off the instrument!!!

If some of the edges are sharp, Connie advised that I could use an 
emery board to smooth the edges.  Acrylic, like that used for
nails, could be used to build up/replace the chips.  Vinegar
water can remove some of the staining without
affecting the ivory patina. 

THIRTEEN: It's irreplaceable.  Yep, I think I knew that.
(Although a physical item like this cannot be replaced, it is some consolation to receive monetary compensation from your insurance company if the item is destroyed, as in a fire.  Make sure you work with a specialist and your insurance company to document the value of such a specimen!!!)



Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.
 

45 comments:

  1. That piano is a beauty!

    My dad uses a keyboard now, but he played an upright piano for many years, and every once in awhile he'd have a piano tuner come in to service it. The guy would do his work on it and then have a go to test it out. He liked playing ragtime music, which is a welcome genre to me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A great post! <3
    I am following you and invite you to me
    https://milentry-blog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is some terrific piano and the history is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wonderful old piano with lots of pretty details.
    I have an old desk that was my grandmothers. If not 100 years old it is close.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I used to play the piano, most likely because the lady down the street taught piano and my parents thought exposure to a musical instrument would be good for my development. I never was very good, but again I didn't like to practice very much. You have a beautiful keepsake and it's a bonus that you play. - Margy

    ReplyDelete
  6. ...the figured oak is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a beautiful piano. Love the wood and the details. We just had a piano tuner come last Monday to tune the Chickering Baby Grand and yes it's over a 100 years old. She spent 3 hours here and it now sounds a lot better. She said for an "Old Girl" she's doing pretty good. We were so glad to find the piano gal who is good at what she does. She had to drive a fair distance to come to us. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How wonderful to have something that old and special. It is made from beautiful wood too. It is also great to have a tuner who is so knowledgeable. We have two cabinets my hubbys grandparents brough out from Germnay in 1936, they are beautiful but we do not know much about them.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your piano is a treasure! I enjoyed reading about it. I have one that we bought when got married. It's a studio model, so not as high as an upright piano. Tuning is something it needs now. I'm teaching my eldest granddaughter to play piano on it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. your piano is truly gorgeous and valuable no least by being in your family for so long. It is fabulous that you were able to find out more information about your piano, and that more work can be done with the tuning. Enjoy your beautiful paino. My sister had an old cupboard that was shoved in a farm shed striped back of many layers of paint, and the result is stunning. I think the oldest thing I have is a biscuit barrel that belonged to my grandmother, from late 1800s. I treasure it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Angie, the piano is a real treasure. How nice that you have kept it in the family.
    I enjoyed reading about its history. Thanks for hosting!

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a wonderful family heirloom with so many memories attached to it! I'm glad it is still in good working order and treasured by your family, Angie! I enjoyed learning about all its details.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amazing treasure, Thanks for sharing your heirloom piano. Happy Mosaic Monday. I feel so humbled and special to own a wire basket which is older than I am made by my maternal grandfather's hands.

    much love...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello, Wonderful post on your family treasure. It is wonderful you were able to keep it in the family. The wood is beautiful. This post reminded me of my grandmother's piano. Thanks for hosting Mosaic Monday. Have a happy day and a great new week ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  15. That's a magnificent piano, Angie. I hope it gets played often. My piano is about 50 years old now, and I keep it tuned and play it whenever I can.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have several books that are more than 100 years old, Angie, and also some old decorative plates that I have inherited from my grandparents.
    Great photos of your piano!

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a beautiful story about your piano! I love it. We had to sell the piano I had as a kid. It was nothing like this one. I donated it to an auction for a charity.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow! what an interesting story---well not a 'story' but a truth. Lovely piano--- a real treasure
    MB

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh my gosh! This piano is so fascinating and has been through more upheavals than some folks have in a lifetime. Glad you’re looking after it and extending its existence. It’s strange about the “ivory-key” concerns. This is the type of thing that unfortunately makes some roll their eyes over current genuine abuse of animals for ivory.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your inherited old piano is a real treasure and so beautiful. I feel happy with you for all the new information Mr. Daryl gave you. Happy MM.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It really is a wonderful treasure and I'm so glad you have it! Didn't know so many things you shared...especially about the ivory! My husband and I both play but we don't practice enough. I like to put some Christmas music on my piano for the holidays. And I'll play a few Christmas carols too. Happy Mosaic Monday! Hugs, Diane

    ReplyDelete
  23. The idea that piano keys could be forbidden to cross state lines is amazing. Wouldn't that make a great basis for a novel or movie? We have a 100+ year old organ that the Husband inherited from his dad. The side of it looks similar to what I see in the photo in terms of style and wood. Neither of us play or want to learn to play so it holds up the TV. We really need to find a forever home for it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What an amazing family treasure!

    I was given an old milking cupboard by the former owners of our new house as it is made out of oak and too heavy and big to move. It was handbuilt by a dairy farmer for his daughter sometime in the mid-1800s.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for hosting. I did not know the tip about acrylic.

    ReplyDelete
  26. You have a priceless family treasure, Angie. The piano is so beautiful both inside and outside. I like the antiques which has patina of age. So wonderful to continue the legacy, keeping maintenance and adding your dream into it. Thanks for letting us see the inside of the piano and sharing the information.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
  27. I loved that story and the photos Angie. $275 dollars must have been a small fortune when the piano was first purchased.

    When I was a child my grandparents had a piano, many did in those days, and I used to look forward to going there and with one finger tunes, tinkling the "old joanna" as they called it.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Beautiful piano, the ornate is superb.

    ReplyDelete
  29. You have a family heirloom - what a treasure. It's gorgeous! I love the way your mother stripped the dark finish off to expose the grain. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Now it’s time for reading... MosaicMonday times! I enjoyed your post. Thank you for hosting.

    Indeed I have an old newspaper. It’s a famous newspaper. Called SIMPLICISSIMUS from 1904. And magazines named Graphics from my grandfather - He was a graphic artist.

    Heidrun xxx

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lovely photos of a beautiful treasure ~ don't think they make pianos like that anymore ~ I try not to get attached to things ~ life is all about letting go each day ~ grateful that I had them ~ ^_^

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

    ReplyDelete
  32. That's a beautiful old piano - such a great instrument to have in your house.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I own a few books that are over a hundred years old. They are mostly in good condition, a couple in excellent condition. At least one should probably be conserved by a skilled artisan, but that is an expensive proposition. I have it carefully stored and it may have to stay that way.

    ReplyDelete
  34. So interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  35. The piano is absolutely beautiful. What wonderful information you gained from Daryl.

    ReplyDelete
  36. How wonderful to find out all this stuff about the piano!
    I hoped to join your link-up but never seem to get here in time. I will try harder...

    ReplyDelete
  37. So lovely you have such a great antique! :) Kit

    ReplyDelete
  38. That is so interesting! You really have a treasure. I grew up with a piano similar to that, but ours was the almost black finish. I took piano lessons when I was young but I never enjoyed it. My parents sold the piano after that. But it wasn't an heirloom.

    ReplyDelete
  39. What a glorious treasure - we have a piano that was manufactured in 1898, we bought it from Craigslist for 100.00 - the young lady just wanted it out of her house. Not as good as one that has been in the family for years - but treasured by us for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  40. That is such a gorgeous piano. Great that they were able to tell you so much information about it. I play the piano too, so enjoyed reading the post immensely. Thanks for sharing!

    -Soma

    ReplyDelete
  41. Dear Angie,
    What an interesting post- Your piano is so beautiful and what a treasure!
    I really enjoyed those detail designs too.
    Reading your story about the piano,I think you are right. Maintenance for a old piano would not be so easy.

    My upright piano that my parents bought for me is 60 years. When the piano was 10 years old it was sent to my cousin because I got a new large piano called grand piano . Now I still keep the grand piano in my house. Once in a while I miss the upright piano made of ivory keyboard.I feel the touch is warmer than acrylic keyboard.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Have a good weekend.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...