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I would put it nearer 1890. However, it is always unwise to base the date of a piano purely on numbers, as explained at that page. There may be a year marked on the left end of the action. Martin was a senior worker at the London factory.
At the bottom of my Archives page
I explain that Erards' London archives are not available, nobody knows if they still exist.
Around May-June 1845, the numbers jumped from 17000 to 18200. The text at the top of the page in the records explains that the Paris and London branches being the same (They probably merged officially around this date), the "Erard Paris" numbers are offset by 1200 in order to account for the 1200 pianos made by Erard London to 22 March 1845.
Erard London probably went on using their initial series till the end, and the adjustment to the Erard Paris serial numbers was probably a one-off.
So, your 18023 was manufactured in London, since it cannot be a Paris number. Actually, if it was made in London, it should be written on the fall, and also likely on the sound table.
" The Erard piano factories in Paris and London are based on the same principle, Sebastien erard's inventions. These two factories being now managed by the same person, Pierre Erard, following his father Jean-Baptiste Erard, and his uncle, Sebastien Erard, it would be possible to include in the same number series the pianos made to date in the Paris and London workshops. Therefore, one adds to the seventeen thousand pianos manufactured in Paris the twelve hundred pianos manufactured in London, which results in the total number of eighteen thousand two hundred for both branches. 22nd March eighteen hundred and forty five."
So basically, someone decided that it was normal to have different number series for London and Paris since they were considered to be two different companies. However, since the death of sebastien erard in 1831, both companies were managed by Pierre Erard, they were two different branches of the same company, and the number series should be merged.
1) Since the London branch went on with its own serial numbers, this idea didn't go very far.
2) This raises the question of the independence of the London branch. For example, the London pianos mention the Erard patent. Is it because they had to pay royalties to the Erard Paris which considered that they were not part of the company ?
If only we had the London archives, a lot of these questions might be answered.
I wonder if the Royal College of Music have any documents that could help gathering data on Erard london. It looks like they've got a music history department. Also, a website on Sebastien Erard is planning to publish part of his correspondence. This may help as well.
At the bottom of my Archives page
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