Nathaniel Berry and Sons age and pedal

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Mutleyjess
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Nathaniel Berry and Sons age and pedal

Post by Mutleyjess » 04 Jun 2020, 21:22

Hi

We have a Nathaniel Berry upright piano, that we are interested in knowing more about the history.

The piano itself has been in our family for perhaps 40 years - it was used to teach my wife to Grade 8 when she was in her teens, our 11yr old daughter to G6 and son right behind her (and two more to follow!) and so has a lot of sentimental value and will never be sold.

It has two numbers on it that I can see.

On the left hand panel inside is stamped on the wood 10434.
On the right hand side on the peg board (forgive poor terminology) is stamped 29258. (pictures below)

There are no additional features to note, i.e. no ash trays or lights.

As for the pedal mechanism, some advice please. The soft pedal is in operable as the rising rod is missing. The bar and felt remains in place and mobile in its lower position. It would be great if we could reactivate it and so wondering if anyone has any photos of what the upper end of the rod should look like?

Many thanks in advance for any information or advice that can be offered.

MJ

PS - I have noted elsewhere on the forum about cleaning with 50:50 linseed oil and vinegar in a jar, then beeswax for polishing which we may well give a try to restore it a little.
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Bill Kibby
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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Jun 2020, 10:37

The number 29258 suggests that it was made around 1932, the other number 10434 would suggest something nearer 1910. The case appears to have been modernised, was that done when you had it?

I can't picture what type of rod would be on the soft pedal, is it up the side of the piano, or in the middle?
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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Mutleyjess » 05 Jun 2020, 20:23

Thanks for the info.

No, nothing has been done to it since our family have known it, though that only takes us back to the 70's.

The rod for the soft pedal goes up the left hand side, behind the sustain lifting rod. I have tried to sketch it out from memory (I can't take it apart to take a photograph tonight - sleeping kids!).

It would seem that whatever rod slides up the sloped section to push the link up. What I don't know is what shape that rod would be...the link is not very thick, almost like a large lolly stick!

But I don't know what profile the head of the rod would be. Exerting too much force in the wrong plane would potentially break the remaining mechanism.

Thanks again.
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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Jun 2020, 22:03

It is normally a very simple vertical square stick, rounded at the top end to pass through a guide hole that keeps it aligned.
I will have a look at my pianos in the daylight and see if any of them resembles your sketch.
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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Mutleyjess » 05 Jun 2020, 23:11

Thanks for that

Yes that description fits the sustain rod but I couldn't see anywhere that looked like anything but the rod missing for the soft pedal. I'm wondering if it is a rod with a groove in the top to keep it located correctly.

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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Bill Kibby » 06 Jun 2020, 16:20

The type of soft pedal you have is known as a Celeste.
We have a number of pianos with celeste pedals, but I have just checked, and they all use the same system, in which the pedal operates 2 wooden rockers, one raising at each end of the piano, so the celeste rail is raised equally at both end, and no swivelling is involved. Sorry I can't help, in spite of the many Berry pianos I have tuned over the years.
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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Feg » 06 Jun 2020, 21:30

I've seen a version of the mechanism in your diagram where the lift rod is at one end only and the celeste rail is angled so that when it lifts, it is pushed up behind the hammers.

The important connection will be at the top of the rod. The bottom of the rod could just be glued in place. A photo of each connecting point would be useful.

Fiona

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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Mutleyjess » 07 Jun 2020, 09:44

Thanks Fiona

The bottom of the rod is the usual felt pad and peg with a square rod.

BIG NEWS. I found what looks to be the old rod for the Celeste in the back of the piano. It is a square section, tapering over its length to a thin tongue, the top of which is broken off.

There is an additional screw on the link with felt washers, so it looks like the thin section was just attached at that point by the screw.

I'll have a look this week, and take some photos to post as well. I think I have a suitable rod that I can use as a replacement.

Thanks!

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Re: Nathaniel Berry and Sons upright - advice on age and pedal mechanism requested

Post by Mutleyjess » 07 Jun 2020, 09:49

@Bill

I had a look at your website regarding numbers. Excellent resource and happy to make a donation.

So I went looking for other locations on the piano, especially in the base. I found the 29258 number on one of the main corner posts at the bottom right of the piano, so would suggest that is the real number.

I also noted, that I hadn't before, two cigarette holders under the keys, one on each side!

I'll post pictures when I can next for reference.

R

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