Age of Piano? W H Barnes Verte-Grand Overstrung

Ask questions on piano history and the age of your piano.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Bill Kibby

Post Reply
norstar
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 May 2020, 09:44

Age of Piano? W H Barnes Verte-Grand Overstrung

Post by norstar » 15 May 2020, 10:11

Hi, I've been reading the site with interest and saw that W H Barnes were a large retailer and used various factory built pianos to sell.

We just rescued one from the tip - an upright piano with "W H Barnes" embossed on the centre and to the right of the keys and in a bolted plaque on the inside.

There's a serial number on the top left hand case side: HO16053 and another on the side of the fallboard lid: 43480.

I can't see any other manufacturer name inside or out and there's a badge in the centre of the backboard on the inside that says "Gold Medal Overstrung Verte-grand" with W H Barnes again written on it.

Can anyone shed any light as to the providence and likely standard of the piano? It looks 30's to me and the excellent pianohistory.info suggests the 43480 number puts a Barnes piano in 1936, but is there anyway to tell who actually made it and is this correct?

Thanks!
Attachments
IMG_7271.jpg
IMG_7269.jpg
IMG_7267.jpg
IMG_7270.jpg
IMG_7268.jpg

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5546
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: Lincolnshire UK
Contact:

Re: Age of Piano? W H Barnes Verte-Grand Overstrung

Post by Bill Kibby » 16 May 2020, 11:14

Thanks for your kind comments about my website. The Numbers page explains that dating pianos purely on the basis of numbers is often not as simple as it seems, and pianos have several numbers inside, so it is sometimes difficult to be sure which is the actual serial number. The page also explains that HO before a number suggests that it is the stock number for the Head Office of a company such as Barnes. The same page also mentions that Barnes sold pianos made by Bansall, Kemble and others, so it is not easy to tell whose number you are looking at. My Names page also has information about Barnes. My Edwardian page mentions the Kemble pianos with green edges to the casework, and sometimes green keys. With this in mind, you probably have a Kemble piano, which may have a serial number preceded by K imprinted on the soundboard near the bass end, around keyboard level. Next step is the Datemarks page, which may help you find a date inside.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email via my website.
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, they should refer to pianohistory.info

norstar
New Member
New Member
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 May 2020, 09:44

Re: Age of Piano? W H Barnes Verte-Grand Overstrung

Post by norstar » 16 May 2020, 12:10

Ah sorry - I missed the HO bit but that makes sense.

I've probed further and got the front panel off to reveal a couple more numbers. There's 32323 embossed on the two lowest and two highest keys (on the action on the inside), and the same number that is printed on the fallboard lid features on the sound board - 49480. The action is Gamble London.

No Ks found anywhere but if it's a Kemble made for Barnes, your datemarks would put it around mid 30s? Does it look like a Kemble? I can't see anything inside besides the "Barnes" plaque that gives a clue!
Attachments
IMG_7307.jpg
IMG_7304.jpg
IMG_7305.jpg
IMG_7306.jpg

User avatar
Bill Kibby
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5546
Joined: 04 Jun 2003, 19:25
Location: Lincolnshire UK
Contact:

Re: Age of Piano? W H Barnes Verte-Grand Overstrung

Post by Bill Kibby » 16 May 2020, 17:46

Key numbers are not usually helpful, but keys are often dated. I am not sure what you mean about "your datemarks would put it around mid 30s?" but the Barnes numbers on my page would suggest 1936, and the number is repeated so it is probably the right one. I think it looks like a Kemble, which could make it early thirties, but 1936 seems more likely, although I haven't been able to pin it down to another maker.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email via my website.
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, they should refer to pianohistory.info

Post Reply