Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Ask questions on piano history and the age of your piano.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Bill Kibby

Post Reply
Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 23 Jan 2017, 14:24

I'm looking for any history/information anyone may have on this piano. It needs tuning and five of the hammers/dampers are sticking. I've started cleaning it and hope to get it fully working again in next few months.

There are various numbers/markings inside, including:
714 - stamped on the inside of the panel above the pedals, stamped on the lid that goes over the keys, and in pencil on the back of the hammers/dampers assembly.
2714 - stamped (etched? ) on the metal that holds the strings.
VI (might be VF or VH as it is only a partial second letter) - just above the 2714, though this is part of the casted metal.
66285 - stamped on the back on the hammers/dampers assembly.
J 27/8 (might be Y or lower case b instead of J) - in pencil close to 66285.
H. COY - stamped into the frame close to the lowest key.
24733 - stamped on the lowest two keys. The rest are numbered 3 - 85.

I plan to keep this in the family, even if it's not worth keeping. Many thanks in advance to anyone who can help.
Attachments
IMG_20170122_211620.jpg
IMG_20170122_211550.jpg
IMG_20170122_212133.jpg
IMG_20170122_211824.jpg
IMG_20170122_210718.jpg

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5282
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: East Anglia UK
Contact:

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Bill Kibby » 23 Jan 2017, 19:31

There are a few of these around, but I have no record of a real maker by this name. "Vosemar" is thought to be an alias used by Sharples for pianos bought in from an anonymous wholesaler. Some of the other pianos Sharples sold were marked "Martin, London, sole agents.". Some of the mysteries of piano names are discussed at
http://www.pianohistory.info/names.html

There is useful general information about upright pianos at
http://www.pianohistory.info/edwardian.html
and this one is typical of the twenties, but it might be as early as 1918. If you want to search inside the piano for clues, have a look at
http://www.pianohistory.info/datemarks.html

The action (the working parts of the notes) appears to have been imported from Germany, and the best hope is that it may be marked on the rear with the action makers’ name and number, and I may be able to date this. However, removing the action can be risky in an old piano, and you may need your tuner’s help.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email bill@pianohistory.info
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, alter these to pianohistory.info

Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 23 Jan 2017, 21:38

Is this the "action" bit? If so I called it the hammers/dampers assembly above where I listed all the markings I've found and where.

This came out very easily. Undo two hand tightened, ornate nuts where the two "arms" from the top of this unit where screwed to the metal strings unit. It is all one piece with inverted U feet at either end. Though only the front foot (nearest to the you when you are sat at the piano) touches anything when it is fitted in the piano. Each of the two feet sit in what looks like a large nut, allowing it to pivot slightly on them.
Attachments
IMG_20170123_203000.jpg
Last edited by Jason Erskine on 24 Jan 2017, 01:08, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5282
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: East Anglia UK
Contact:

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Bill Kibby » 24 Jan 2017, 01:00

I was hoping you had found the action makers' name to go with the number.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email bill@pianohistory.info
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, alter these to pianohistory.info

Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 24 Jan 2017, 01:11

Not as yet. Though the only place I haven't looked on that part is underneath it.

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5282
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: East Anglia UK
Contact:

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Bill Kibby » 24 Jan 2017, 10:29

Have you looked under the bottom keys as suggested at
http://www.pianohistory.info/datemarks.html
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email bill@pianohistory.info
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, alter these to pianohistory.info

Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 24 Jan 2017, 10:51

Yeah. There is nothing there, or on the sides of any of the lower octave of keys. Just the number stamped on the top of the lowest two.

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1829
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Colin Nicholson » 24 Jan 2017, 12:55

Just be careful the bridle tapes don't start to break off when looking for numbers with action out. They look OK at the moment, but when an action of this age is removed, the undercarriages/ jacks are now suspended by the tapes so they don't dislocate because they are no longer resting on the key capstans. When the action goes back in, the capstans take up the slack (the bridle tapes go slack a bit), and relieves any bridle tape from breaking at either end.
Just by the action sitting on the floor will put pressure on any weak glue or leather joints due to the weight of the undercarriages. Best to put the action back in. Yes, we all know here how the ball & socket feet resting points work.... a typical 1920s action I think.... or could be earlier.

Some re-pinning may be required for the hammers/ dampers that don't return first, before tuning.
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 24 Jan 2017, 13:30

All the bridle tapes appeared to be soft and flexible, but once I've had a look underneath for any codes/names I won't be removing it again.

I noticed that someone else has asked about the same company, and that the address in Blackburn was in use in 1903, and another address is used in Blackpool from 1911. Does anyone know if this was a move of premises or another branch, and if so, when the Blackburn one closed?

http://188.65.114.254/piano-forums/view ... 2ed#p58045

Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 24 Jan 2017, 15:52

I've found an ink stamped name and other details on the action unit next to the numbers and pencil marks I quoted in my first post. Unfortunately they are too faded to read or get a good photo at the moment. Any suggestions on how I may be able to make it more readable?

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5282
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: East Anglia UK
Contact:

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Bill Kibby » 25 Jan 2017, 01:17

I've never found any tricks for clarifying faded marks, unless you can do anything with the image on computer.

At the beginning of the 1914 war, Sharples had branches at Blackburn and Blackpool. Some upright piano styles changed around 1918, and this one is typical of that period. By 1928, Sharples was only listed in Blackpool.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email bill@pianohistory.info
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, alter these to pianohistory.info

Jason Erskine
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 7
Joined: 22 Jan 2017, 20:17

Re: Vosemar upright from H. Sharples & Son, Blackburn

Post by Jason Erskine » 29 Jan 2017, 14:20

I still haven't been able to make out the details on the ink, but thanks for all your info ☺

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests