Hilton & Hilton piano

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stuartd99
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Hilton & Hilton piano

Post by stuartd99 » 14 May 2015, 13:17

It's a Hilton & Hilton Gold Medal with brass candleholders...Sold by Arthur Wood, Station Road in Redhill. Currently sitting in a house dating from early 1870s.

Any thoughts much appreciated.

Thanks

Stu
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Bill Kibby
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Bill Kibby » 14 May 2015, 16:33

If you open the top of the piano, you should be able to see the serial number, and I may be able to give you an approximate date from this. If you want to search inside the piano for clues, have a look at
http://www.pianohistory.info/datemarks.html

It appears to be Edwardian, as described at
http://www.pianohistory.info/edwardian.html

but the photo is not very helpful because we can't see the whole piano.
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by stuartd99 » 14 May 2015, 16:37

I can check inside for dates in a few weeks, plus provide better pics. It's a lovely piano...great tone and nicely tuned, in spite of being apparently neglected for the past 10 years :-)

Thanks so much for your help :-)

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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Bill Kibby » 14 May 2015, 17:06

Arthur Wood first appears in my files in the 1890s, is there a number in Station Road?
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by NewAge » 15 May 2015, 11:51

It's interesting to see the sconces still present, the pair of which I guess could be worth as much as the piano itself - although I may be wrong.
I realise that some tuning pins can remain very stable within the wrest-plank, but I'm having difficulty in seeing how a piano that has been neglected for 10 years or so could still be "nicely tuned". Could the experts please comment on this? i.e. how long could a piano stay well in tune without any tweaking?
I recall reading on an American piano forum of an Asian who insisted that he'd never had the family piano tuned in over 12 years, because it remained "in perfect tune". That made me smile and wonder at the same time.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Bill Kibby » 15 May 2015, 12:57

That was exactly my comment on one of my web pages, the sconces are probably worth more than the piano, so is the stool!

Having done a long survey on the tuning thing, I find that most pianos will drop more in pitch in a year than they can be raised in one tuning, but there are occasional exceptions which hardly need any work after a year. Mostly, the tuner is left to decide how much the pitch can be raised in one tuning without destroying the stability of the over-all tuning, so it is not surprising that many pianos will, after a life of neglect, not be up to A440.

As for "perfect tune" I think that is a matter of the person's assessment of something that they are not necessarily qualified to judge. Tuning is an art AND a science.

I actually had a customer who left the piano 12 years, and it required surprisingly little work to get it in tune in itself, but its over-all pitch dropped far too much to make it stable at A440 in one tuning.

Of course, it is easy for anyone to have a free tuning app on their phone that checks the pitch of a note, and some people think this means they can tune pianos. At least it shows them that the pitch has gone down.
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 15 May 2015, 17:13

It's a bit like the scenario "excellent condition" for a car, when it's NOT. I sometimes use my app just to show customers where the pitch has settled for Middle C, and they aghast in astonishment when they see the needle so far down.... a good visual aid..... and I sometimes 'grade' by fees like band 2, band 3.... depending on how far it's flat or sharp. It's a horrible feeling when I tune a piano one tone flat.... weird sensation - but if the customer is happy and don't want to pay the extra, I tune it as is. When the customer hears my tuning fork.... that's the killer!
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Gill the Piano » 15 May 2015, 17:38

I don'[t have perfect pitch - for which I thank God every time I tune a piano that's a tone and a half flat! I'll do a double tuning and oik it up a semitone but usually spread a pitch raise over many visits to maintain stability. One lady said her piano was at concert pitch because she'd tried it to the tuning fork, despite the piano having been left untuned for 20 years. When I visited, the A was indeed spot on to her tuning fork...which was a C.
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Bill Kibby » 15 May 2015, 17:53

Just a little flat then? I can't imagine it dropping a 6th, even in 20 years, so it was probably well on the way then.

I find that in order to keep stability, it is wise not to raise the A much more than a pure third to the C#, by my reckoning that is about an eighth of a semitone.

And yes, I work to the widely-recognised standard note A, not a C fork.
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Gill the Piano » 16 May 2015, 16:14

No, not a 6th, a minor 3rd. Bad enough - if it had been a 6th I might have just run away screaming...
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Bill Kibby » 16 May 2015, 16:28

If the fork was a C and the note looked like an A, it was either up a 3rd or down a 6th!

If an "A" sounds like a C it has either gone up 3 semitones or down 9 semitones?

Is that a picture of your new car?
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by vernon » 16 May 2015, 18:32

took me ages to even work that out.
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Re: Can anyone help date this Hilton & Hilton?

Post by Gill the Piano » 17 May 2015, 16:50

Got it. It was an A fork which tallied with her C. Must have been... God, my memory. Is there a home for knackered tuners...apart from mine?
No, my car is still the smart, but I couldn't get it to take as my avatar for some reason. So I chose the nearest thing in the selection to a smart car... :mrgreen:
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