Chickering c. 1867

The development of the square piano into its final form took just about a hundred years, from the Zumpe dating from the mid 1760s (above) to the magnifient Chickering below.  Steinway continued production into the twentieth century, but there were no significant further developments. These two pictures are reproduced to the same scale, by the way. 

In the 1840s, the Boston firm of Chickering and Sons was responsible for two important innovations which are the basis of all modern pianos made today: the one-piece cast iron frame, and the pattern of overstringing which made best use of the soundboard.  The iron frame made practical the huge increase in tensions and greater volume, whilst ensuring tuning stability.  

The piano now offered for sale is number 32204 which the Pierce Piano Atlas dates to about 1867.  

The owner assures us that the piano, which has been with the family for many years, 'is complete, and plays' although is well out-of-tune.


Because it has been standing in a bay-window for some time, there is sun-bleaching to the back and top, but it is amazing how this can be improved with 'Magic Reviver'.

This is a heavy piano to move, and it does need a new home, and so the owner would consider any offer.  It is located near Nottingham. Please contact Michelle Aitken


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© David Hackett