Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

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Rodger
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Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

Post by Rodger » 25 Aug 2014, 01:43

(Two postings combined.)

Hello,
We have a Willoughby , upright, two pedal, plastic key, veneer.
Style and provenance suggest it was made around 1895.
Found in Texas, was told by the owner it is a bar or saloon piano
Any information would be very helpful. Thanks.
Serial number 1438 is stamped, with hand scribed initials "ls" (?) prefix that is under the original finish.
Keys are sticky but can probably be freed, one snapped off hammer, think playable with modest repairs.
Was found in Texas and was supposedly a "bar (saloon?) piano".

Is there a chance this piano is of historical significance?
Lack of information suggests it could be very rare....

Thank you,
Rodger
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IMG_0948.jpg
mechanism
IMG_0965.jpg
sn 1438
IMG_0945.jpg
Mfg. Willoughby

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Willoughby upright "upright iron <??>" ~1890

Post by Colin Nicholson » 25 Aug 2014, 12:09

Probably not far off with the date... but by no means rare! .... just run a mile from them!
Most of these old pianos are now scrap sorry to say..... ok for tinkering/ free piano etc.

Might be tuneable, but it has all the deadly sins a piano tuner dreads....

1. Over damped birdcage action (wires at the front)
2. Straight strung (strings go up and down)
3. probably a "spring & loop" action
4. 3/4 cast frame with fully exposed wrest plank.

If you google those terms, it will bring them up.
Many retailers added their own name to pianos.

The punched numbers are a stock/parts number, and not traceable. Even if you found the genuine serial number, I don't think there are any records of it.

Hammer shank can be repaired OK.... look in the bottom of the piano, the head may be there near the pedal traps.
Look out for any mice though!!

From what I see of the keys, they look like celluloid - often go a yellow shade and matted looking.
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Re: Willoughby upright "upright iron <??>" ~1890

Post by Bill Kibby » 25 Aug 2014, 18:28

You'd have to be a rich tuner to turn down...

1. Overdamper action
2. Straight strung
3. "spring & loop" action
4. 3/4 cast frame with separate headbar.

They have been the mainstay of many British tuning rounds for many years, and are still doing a useful job in many front rooms. The result is that people are paying more than the piano is worth, just to tune it! 2 pedals is the normal arrangement in most old pianos. It would be interesting to me to see what the WHOLE piano looks like, the action appears to be a German import before the 1914 war. I guess it may be Edwardian, so have a look at...
http://pianogen.org/edwardian.html

It is a mass-produced piano. Rarity is no guarantee of value, and the internet does not lists many of the names that I have on file. The name probably means nothing, see
http://pianogen.org/names.html

The number beginning with G is probably a dealer's stock number, see
http://pianogen.org/numbers.html
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Re: Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 27 Aug 2014, 00:01

Oh I agree, some spring & loops are fine - not worth much, but still sound reasonable after a tune up.

The proof is in the pudding with these pianos, and actually booking a piano tuner (and watching the expression on his face) to repair one before tuning can be a task. Some need moderate repairs, others need repairs way over their value, and it is down to whether the piano is economically repairable at the end of the day. The Hillman Imp was probably a good car in its day, and was the back-bone for many other Hillman cars, but repairing one now within a budget .... it all depends how deep the customer's pocket it?
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Re: Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

Post by Bill Kibby » 27 Aug 2014, 00:10

This is a piano HISTORY forum, so if you are going to dismiss anything that does not conform to modern specifications, why bother coming onto a HISTORY forum?
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NewAge
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Re: Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

Post by NewAge » 27 Aug 2014, 13:26

Oh dear! Looks like Bill is having a BAD hair day.... or something.
I take his point about this being a history forum, but not quite the way in which it was communicated.
C'est la vie.
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Re: Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

Post by Bill Kibby » 27 Aug 2014, 14:05

No, my hair is fine today, it only goes funny when someone videos me singing, it's my nose that is the problem.

When someone comes onto a piano history forum and then rubbishes the pianos because they are not like new ones, that gets up my nose. I do, of course, have the right to an opinion, and I don't see why it is necessary to repeatedly abuse people when they come on this forum seeking help and information. We don't need to be told that an antique piano does not conform to modern specifications.
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Re: Willoughby "Upright Iron Grand" ~1890?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 30 Aug 2014, 08:39

[quote="Bill Kibby"]This is a piano HISTORY forum, quote]

Perhaps should be reworded...... This is MY piano HISTORY forum !!

entitled to an opinion .... or at least I thought I was?
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Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
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