Thos. Dawkins & Co., London

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Thos. Dawkins & Co., London

Post by jimbobkelly » 07 Aug 2018, 03:48

I am trying to help identify the real builder of a piano with the above name on the fallboard. Several items that might help the id the real manufacturer are

exposed pinblock serial number stamped on the block 48451

two pedals ; 85 notes; ivory keytops; black partial metal plate with the number 292 raised surface inside a circle; cross strung with shared hitchpin on each plain steel string; music desk rack was stored inside the piano and folds up like a portable music stand ;
this is a vertical console piano

can forward pictures to you

I am located in the US but it looks like this is a case of a "stencil' piano - trying to date the piano and who/where made ;

another question when did iron plates get introduced in the UK? It would seem after Jonas Chickering came up with the one piece cast plate .
Where there a number of foundaries making plates for pianos or did makers cast their own ?
Since I do research on Chickering & Sons I am interested in any or all you know of in the UK.

Jim Kelly
Fur Elise Piano Service
Pawleys Island, SC 29585

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Bill Kibby
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Re: Thos Dawkins & Co., London

Post by Bill Kibby » 07 Aug 2018, 11:26

Apart from a modern influx of Baldwins, we rarely see American pianos over here, and I have never seen a Chickering in England.

Photos would certainly help, especially if they show what the WHOLE piano looks like. This side of the ocean, we have no idea what a vertical console is, and plates are known as frames. There was no single moment when iron suddenly appeared, the amount of cast iron gradually increased, although there were more widespread advances in the 1890s. The description with 2 pedals, 85 notes etc. could apply to most of the pianos in front rooms over here. See

The 292 scale was mainly used in the mid-twenties, but no archives are available to tell us why so many makers used them, so we don't know if they bought in the frames from a wholesaler, or bought strung backs, or bought the whole pianos ready-made. They appear in pianos with a variety of names including Crane, Harcourt and Dunkley. The most likely wholesaler is Windover, in which case the number suggests 1931.

The so-called "stencil piano" is not unusual, and my Names page
explains that many piano names are meaningless. Have a look at

1781 is the year Dawkins claimed to have been established, but he does not appear in any of my many lists of London piano firms, he appears to have been a musical instrument dealer, although his name appears on some pianos, presumably sold by him. I can find no reference to him being a piano firm, or piano maker.

1858 Ad in Kelly's Directory: Thomas Dawkins, 7 & 8, Little Warner Street, Clerkenwell, London. E.C. Sole Agent for Rodolphe Harmoniums. Also advertises The Eclipse Cornet.
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