I recently came into possession of an upright walnut piano which had E.Belling signed on the front of it. I have searched the web to try find out a little more about its history/make etc and perhaps gain some insight as to its worth, however am having some difficulty in doing this. Has anybody ever heard of this make and if so know where I could find out more about it.
Thanking you all in advance.
PIANO TUNERS & TECHNICIANS GUILD (QLD) INC.
SOME BRIEF HISTORY OF PIANO RETAILERS IN BRISBANE
To the earliest of our research a Mr. Oswald Floher imported pianos in parts from Germany in the 1920's and assembled them at Ipswich Road, Annerley and sold them under his own name.
Aeolian Company and the Wertheim Company set up side by side in Queen Street near Custom House. Aeolian operated a showroom and workshop and closed in the late 1920s. Wertheim sold pianos and sewing machines and also closed operation about the same time.
First and only piano factory was operated from 1932 to 1936 by Carl Heiden using, Schwander (English) actions and keyboards, and Higel (Canadian) actions and keyboards. The timber used in the manufacture being English Beech for tuning, planks and bridges, Swiss pine for soundboards but all other timbers were supplied locally, including solid Queensland Maple cases, (not veneered). Pianos were sold under Heiden, Victor and Belling, brands by Palings. The factory was forced to close after the death of Carl Heiden. His Hammer press is still in use in Brisbane today.
W.H. Paling & Company operated from 88 Queen Street with a workshop and store in William Street (near Parliament House). At the outbreak of the war in 1939 the workshop had 10 tuners, 2 apprentices, 5 polishers and outside staff for the Brisbane district and country tuners. The William St. Building, was taken over by the Government for the war effort and the workshop was moved to the top floor of the Queen St. shop. Those who did not join the forces were sent to Archerfield Aerodrome where most of them were working, on instrument repairs. At the end of the war most of the original staff worked for themselves either in Brisbane or country towns.
G.J. Grice worked from 90 Queen Street (next door to Palings) and had their workshop at the same address. They were taken over by Palings in the 1950's. Kin. and Kin. also operated a showroom and workshop combined from Queen St. opposite Palings. This company also became one of the Paling Nicholson Group. Camegies of Queen Street also had a showroom and workshop combined a few doors up from Palings. They ceased operation in Brisbane in early 1950's. Nicholsons of George Street later became Grice-Nicholson a subsidiary of W.H. Paling.
B.B. Whitehouse set up a showroom and workshop in one building in George Street. Established 1883. In the years 1946-50 Whitehouse Tuners numbered about 5 with about 8 trainees and 5 french polishers.
In 1981 B.B. Whitehouse was taken over by Brashs who have since taken over Palings and the business is now being conducted in the city under the "Palings Whitehouse" label.
HISTORY OF THE HEIDEN PIANO
Carl Von Heiden was born in Berlin 13th April, 1880, the only child of a Prussian Army officer.
Carl trained at C. Bechstein factory in Berlin and in the early 1900s left Germany and worked with Steinways in New York, but after a short time was recalled to Germany to start a five year compulsory army service. While awaiting the call-up, he went to Switzerland and then to Australia as a Lipp piano representative and worked for Palings in Sydney.
His ambition was to manufacture pianos and he had his own retail showroom in Pitt Street, Sydney and the factory at Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. The Beale company started to make pianos about the same time instead of importing Beale Hapsburg pianos.
Carl's business flourished until the war in 1914 and, he being German, had to close down the operation with a large financial loss. After this he lived in Fairfield on an acreage property where he built his home. He was never interned. Following the war he married and moved to Brisbane and worked with B.B. Whitehouse for a short time. He then started his own repair workshop in Melbourne Street, South Brisbane.
He started the Heiden Piano factory in Stanley Street, South Brisbane (the Expo site) in 1932, after spending some years designing, drawing plans and making patterns for the iron frame. The frames were cast in Brisbane at Balmer & Crowthers foundry and later at Scott's of Ipswich . The keyboard and action were Schwander (English) and Otto Higel (Canada). Soundboards, wrestplanks and bridge timbers were imported but all other timbers were local products.
The pianos sold under his own name and he also manufactured pianos for Palings which were sold under the name of Victor & Belling. The wholesale price was &70, retail being &120 and at that time Palings were selling German pianos for &70 retail.
The Heiden piano factory operated until Carl's death in 1936. Without his presence to oversee the construction and final fitting of actions and keyboards personally, the operation could not continue.
Research by: (Late)Ted Garratty