Henry Zender & Co. London

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ChristopherT
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Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by ChristopherT » 01 Jan 2017, 14:57

Henry Zender internal copy.jpg
I have seen for sale a five octave (61 note) Henry Zender & Co piano (In Timaru, New Zealand). The only information that can be trace through a nationwide newspaper search, only the local Timaru musical instrument seller was advertising Zender pianos, and only from March - June 1900. (And also an auction of a Walnut semi-grand Zender in Dunedin in 1906). Of the instrument itself, the casework is in good condition sans sconces [of course], and the fabric backing is rotting away. The action as you can see is an overdamper, (with various broken or missing hammers), and the frame appears to be timber rather than metal. The key stamp number is 7719. Can anyone offer any more information?

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Bill Kibby » 02 Jan 2017, 00:02

Henry Zender seems to have started in business around 1893, and disappeared around 1930, probably taken over by Sydney Zender. These little 5-octave uprights were often described as "Student Pianofortes", I would guess this one might have been made around 1905. Key numbers are rarely useful, but the action was imported from Germany, and may be marked on the rear with the action makers' name and number, and I may be able to date this. The arrangement stopped with the 1914 war. The iron frame is probably there, but not extending to the top, it would be a three-quarter frame, and may have date-marks below keyboard level, see
http://www.pianohistory.info/datemarks.html

Could we see a picture of the WHOLE of the outside of the piano?...

But please don't post it 3 times again! If you buy it, you may have to spend a lot of money on the action repairs.
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Jan 2017, 00:27

It may be a suggestion to get a tuner out before purchase, to see if it is tuneable - a tuner would randomly test a few pins to ensure they are tight for future tunings. The reason I say this is by the photo, some of the extreme left bass tuning pins (top ones of each pair) appear to have chalk marks on?.... this is sometimes a classic sign of a previous tuner marking either 1. very loose tuning pins, 2. cracked wrest plank (this appears to be painted gold to look like cast iron, but is maple wood in disguise), or 3. wrest plank/ holes dried up - rendering this section un-tuneable. I suppose the left bi-chords could be muted off if any tuning problems occur.

The missing/ broken hammer heads may be lying loose inside the piano, indicating brittle hammer shanks, and the hammers lying against the strings could be issues with the spring & loops or re-pinning - quite expensive to repair. If the piano is peanuts to buy, although attractive to look at (and quite rare now) - but might not be economical to repair fully. Always a risk buying old pianos online.

We often like to think of the history side when buying an old piano, and sometimes overlook the "mechanics" until we get the piano moved. Just some friendly professional advice!

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Bill Kibby » 02 Jan 2017, 02:14

Quite right Colin, and the missing strings are another clue to problems with loose pins. The extra movement leads to metal fatigue in the strings.
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Jan 2017, 15:55

For anyone else interested in some more info....

Probably best not to remove the action for now - in searching for date stamps / markings / action numbers etc.
Bill will suggest this for further clues, but only if safe to do so - in his defence.

A closer inspection / re-thinking my thoughts.....
I suspect that the action has been previously removed (and not safe yet to remove now), which has resulted in various springs or loops breaking (under the weight of the lower parts), then the action forced back in against its will, as can be seen by the 5 or 6 jacks/ undercarriages pushed forward because the jacks are now blocked under the hammer cushion felt butts; this can cause a lot of damage if not caught in time. If the hammers needed re-pinning only, this wouldn't cause the jacks and undercarriages to be forced forward in the "on" position aswell.

As the action seems to be forced in, the RH turnbuckle has not been located, and the previous broken hammer heads have snapped off due to too much excursion and possibly a good old fashioned DIY hand shove! Some of the hammers have survived (but now wedged against the strings - poor things :( ), but I suspect there may be other broken or loose/ cracked parts such as flanges, jack toes, and possibly the odd cushion felt ledge snapped off. Hope not.

I think the reason for the snapped hammers is not down to general playing, but originally by fault of any broken springs or loops - a quick look by a piano tech will tell you immediately why.

The action may need to be removed/ dismantled in stages, starting with the dampers/ lift wires, then tape up or string up the undercarriages for later repairs. If any other broken loops/ springs, when the action is removed, depending on the design, the u/carriages fall like pendulums. Get the jacks tripped back to their proper position.
The loops are straight forward to replace, but VERY time consuming, and costa springs are difficult to get hold of, unless hand-made (if about 72mm). This is JUST the action.... nothing to do with the tuning aspects!!
Best of luck anyway.
I've tuned and serviced many S&L pianos, mostly good - so the piano could be repaired to last longer.
It is always interesting to see quite rare pianos like this, very petite looking (and often luring!) .... but at this stage, it might be best to get a few repair quotes/ assessment - then later bury your head into the history books. Unfortunately rarity doesn't come with value for some old pianos. Could be a saviour for this piano, but also could be a money pit.

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by ChristopherT » 05 Jan 2017, 10:34

Zender external.jpg
Zender action markings.jpg
Zender action.jpg
Further to my first post - I went into the shop after New Years, and got permission to take the action out. Three quarter metal frame, no broken strings, pins felt tight (the marks visible on the bass pins are gold paint, and the three pencil marks seem to be marking broken hammer shanks - as if anybody could not notice.) Six broken shanks, five hammers lurking in the bottom of the instrument. The action was definitely forced into position, and two springs were damaged/floating free. So I pick it up this weekend.Action markings are 285626
ERNST JACOB
PIANO M_CH?
BER_ _ ?

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Jan 2017, 11:06

If you have a look about halfway down my Numbers page
http://www.pianohistory.info/numbers.html
there are some dates for Jacob, which suggest that the piano was made in 1908.

The interior photo clearly shows very odd spacing that suggests there are one or two strings missing.

When you get it home, I would be interested to know if you find any serial numbers anywhere else.
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by ChristopherT » 05 Jan 2017, 11:54

The odd spacing on the bridge, and the marks seem to indicate that there are broken strings (bottom B and Tenor C), but looking at where a corresponding pin should be located has a rather large bolt head, (also at middle f). It seems quite odd having the bolts right in the midst of the pins - almost as if it was an afterthought. I shall look at it closely once home and in my workshop.

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by ChristopherT » 05 Jan 2017, 12:21

Strings.jpg
Those bolts seem to have been an afterthought as it would seem to be a fair deduction from the marking on the bridge and the cut felt that there were strings originally.
Henry Zender & Co.jpg

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Colin Nicholson » 05 Jan 2017, 16:43

I agree Bill, spacing of bass strings and the two centre domed screws (wrest plank) look in an odd place. The only thing I can think is perhaps the strings & wrest pins were removed at some stage to allow the added screws, possibly to strengthen the wrest plank in the middle if separating or bowing from back post (some unusual gaps aswell) - and with the red voicing cloth being torn, something going on there and strings removed. Difficult to see though. The corresponding damper felts also have two grooves where the strings were once in place. Might affect the tuning stability.... but I would be wary :?:
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by vernon » 05 Jan 2017, 19:22

the third black bolt head from the right goes where there was once a wrest pin hole. viz missing string- no wrest pin for it!. Obviously has had some drastic re-designing
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Jan 2017, 02:13

Certainly causing a stir this piano!
I think there were (or are) wrest plank problems - top right edge seems to be OK.... flush with top lid, but in the middle, I can see it has warped forwards and top edge of plank can be seen .... mmm. (recent photo)
About 16-18 tons of pressure on those strings pulling down, and quite possibly there could be down-bearing/ tuning problems with the upper bridge. If those bolts were intended, they should be smaller/ long countersunk screws at sides of pins..... but usually seen if the wrest plank has a metal protection plate over it - like Bluthner.
Of course, the "empty" hitch pins at the bottom will give the game away.
Yeh, I think someone has desperately tried to save this piano by the looks of it.
Good luck
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by ChristopherT » 07 Jan 2017, 09:48

It definitely looks as if the wrest plank has had to have been secured at some stage. I did not pay enough attention to the bolts at the back of the frame (as I had seen something like that before).
Frame bolts.jpg
That is the treble end, and here is the wrest plank bass end showing the 'emergency repair' bolthead, plank and for Mr Bill Kibby the bridge with the job number stamp 7579.
Wrest plank and bridge.jpg
There is only one number cast into the frame, 335.
Frame number.jpg
And the key number which I mentioned previously. (As an aside, pipe organ keyboards are usually much easier to trace as the key makers would usually stamp the top or bottom key with their name as well as a job number. A few would even date the frames which was very kind of them.)
Key number.jpg
As the previous poster surmised, the hitch pins at the bottom do give the game away, both in terms of one being broken (fourth from the right) and the middle F# down one string - centre, wire looped. (Sorry it is just above the shadow line which I did not notice until I downloaded the image).
Frame pins.jpg
And as he also wished Good Luck - I suspect I may need all I can get with this project.

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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by Colin Nicholson » 21 Jan 2017, 00:52

how's the project going?
any new developments/ near completion?
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Re: Henry Zender & Co. London

Post by ChristopherT » 21 Jan 2017, 06:35

No new developments yet. Still clearing a prior project off my workbench before I can get some action on the Zender. Once started (probably in about two or three months given my work schedule) I will be updating this post.

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