I purchased a W R Yates & Sons piano at auction in Vancouver British Columbia Canada in 1975. It has a cast frame and an over damped spring & loop action made by Schutze & Freund Berlin. The name was found on the string side of the action partly under a central metal gusset secured by 4 screws. The numbers are not very legible but start with 36??32, which may indicate that the action was made in 1894.
The number of the piano is 14412, stamped just below the tuning pins on the "bridge" that the bass strings traverse on the left hand side of the frame. I haven't been able to find anything on the number. The first 3 keys, (white-black-white) on the low (left) side do not have any date written on their sides, but all are letter stamped 58 on the top side inner end. This may indicate that the keys were made in 1858 according to some information I have found.
It is burl walnut, in very good condition cosmetically including the sound board, I had it tuned in 1978, and it needs tuning again. Not much as a musical instrument, as the piano people will tell you. I have been trying to give it away without success so far. I have also thought of removing the action and cast frame and converting it to an electronic but still using the original keys if possible. It is such a beautiful piece of wood, I hate to see it go to waste.
Hope this information is helpful.
Regards, Al Chambers, Gibsons, BC Canada
By 1892, the firm was called W.R.Yates & Sons, the piano would have been made after the change.
W.R. Yates & Co. were established in 1852. [According to their 1878 ad, they were established in 1855, but their 1896 ad says 1852, and the pianos agree with this.] Having said that, my many London lists do not list Yates until 1878!
An 1858 piano would be very different, 58 on its own doesn't indicate anything useful, there are no records to help us with key-makers' numbers.
You must have seen my Numbers page for the Schutze & Freund date, and 1894 is just an estimate, but my Victorian page will show you what 1858 cottage pianos looked like, as well as a selection of 1892 upright pianos.
At the Hendon District Council Offices, on Wednesday, Mr. Francis Danford Thomas conducted an inquiry into the death of William Robert Yates, aged 52, pianoforte manufacturer, residing at 14, Yew Grove, Cricklewood. Mr. W. B. Barnes was foreman of the jury. Laura Yates identified the body as that her husband, who, she said, had been worried recently over business matters. came home late on Saturday evening, and slept that night with his son. Early in the morning she heard a peculiar noise, and went into the room in which her husband and son were sleeping. The deceased was snoring. Subsequently she found that he was again sleeping heavily, and her son went for a doctor.—Questioned by the Coroner, the witness said that she had never contemplated the deceased would do injury to himself, but he had been taking drugs for some time past. Frank Richard Yates said that the deceased slept with him on Saturday night. His father did not take any medicine before he went to bed, and did not notice any medicine bottles in the room. When his mother awoke him on Sunday morning his father was snoring heavily. Witness tried to rouse him but failed; and, thinking that something was the matter, he and his brother went for doctor.
A. Theia, son-in-law of the deceased, living in Kensal Rise, stated that he was sent for Sunday morning. It was stated to him that it was thought the deceased had taken poison, and, on going into, the bedroom, witness found a big bottle which had contained chlorodyne. The bottle was empty. He had seen deceased from time to time, and thought he had been greatly worried about his business. Sergt. Smith, 8 8, produced a letter 'which had been found in deceased's clothes. The Coroner, after reading it, told the jury that the deceased had stated that he had been greatly worried, and that his mind was unhinged. Thirty years of business had been too much for him. Dr. Kelly, of 25, Chichele road, Cricklewood, stated that he was called at half-past ten on Sunday, and on arriving at the house found deceased in bed, almost black in the face, with every sign of poisoning. On the mantelpiece was the bottle produced, which was empty. He was told it had not been there the night before. From 10 to 30 drops was a dose, hut the bottle must have contained between 550 and 6OO drops. He applied the stomach pump, and deceased actually became conscious, while 11 o’clock at night he seemed to recognise people. Witness gave him stimulants for the heart, and then thought it safe to leave him for a time. About two hours later, however, he received another message, and found that death had taken place. The immediate cause of death was syncope when suffering from the effects of poisoning by chlorodyne. The jury returned a verdict accordingly, and that the deceased committed suicide, the Coroner observing that there was no doubt his mind was unhinged.