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I found a 1915 Brinsmead catalogue online, and my one bears a strong resemblance to Style 14, the "Semi-cottage vertical strung". The dimensions match. The details are different though.
The things I'd like to know are:
Is it safe to say that the manufacture date is 1907?
What would it have cost originally?
What are the possible woods that it could be made of?
Is there any way to trace the original purchaser?
Is there any way to find out anything about the Osborn(e) fellow (presumably a professional piano tuner) that seems to have maintained it for a quarter of a century?
Thanks in advance!
Here are a couple of pictures. I can take more if you want to see other details.
I have certainly heard of Vickers, and I will see what I can find about Osborne. I have the world's largest directory of UK piano firms.
As for prices, a 1905 Article in the Musical Herald: Pianos in L.C.C. Schools: The London County Council has been reconsidering the question of the supply of pianos to the schools, and from a considerable number of manufacturers, selected four firms to send in sample pianos, upon which special reports have been made by the Council's Musical Adviser. The selected firms made offers as follows: (1) John Brinsmead & Sons, to supply 50, at a cost of 22.10s each, and to tune each four times a year for 12s 6d.
1914-1919 Charles Begg & Co.'s stockbooks: The biggest seller was Charles Begg’s own brand. Seventy-three were sold, at prices ranging between £35 and £60. Most were around £50 and up, and the cheaper models would have been second-hand. £50 in 1914 equals approximately $10,000 now. The next biggest seller was the Brinsmead, which mostly sold for £80 – though one, presumably a grand, was £175.
Now I'm wondering whether when purchased, there may have been a service contract with it. In your pricing info regarding the London schools, there's a service contract mentioned. Also in the 1915 Brinsmead catalogue they say that within a certain radius of London they can do servicing, and for those farther away they should "choose their tuner with the same care that they choose their piano". Is it plausible then to suppose that a piano merchant like Vickers would provide such a service, and that perhaps the tuner that left the log worked for or contracted to Vickers? I asked my tuner whether logs like that are normal, and he said not as such, although it used to be common practice for notes to be left on the keys with dates and possibly noting what work had been done. He'd not seen before a log like the one I've got that covers so many years.
You may wish to see the signature and the log... here are some pictures. In the order they should appear: Side one signature unenhanced, Side one enhanced, Side two signature unenhanced, Side two enhanced.
I'll put another post with photos of the whole log, as it doesn't seem to allow so many attachments in one.
I really appreciate your help with this!
but they don't usually give so many dates, so it is interesting to have the photos. I am still looking for Osborn. Lerner Street?
VICKERS (J.) BOLTON LANCASHIRE
1886 J.Vickers, 37 & 39 Higher Bridge Street, Bolton.
1894 Not listed.
1899 Not listed.
1911 Not listed.
1914 J.Vickers, 47 Knowsley Street, Bolton. - Instruments & music.
1928 My "Musique Adresses Universel" lists Vickers Pianos, Bolton.
1936 Not listed.
VICKERS (G.) BOLTON
1938 My Music Trades Directory lists G.Vickers, 18, Burlington Street, Bolton - Pianos, organs.
Can you post photos here to show what the whole piano looks like? Or email them to me to post? Also, see if there are any other numbers visible when you open the top.
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