Three Pianos Needing Good Homes

The beautiful nameboard indicates this as one of the first pianos to carry William Rolfe's name alone.  The Sigal Music Museum in South Carolina has one with a very similar (but not quite identical) painted decoration; that one has been in America since 1797, so we can confidently date this one to the end of the eighteenth century.

Most, possibly all, of the hammers are present, but the entire damper assembly is missing.  This would have been the pushrod-operated wooden lever type, which is quite easy to make.  Most of the original baleen 'whalebone' springs are still there.

It has lost its original French stand, and was converted (possibly in the early nineteenth century) to stand on four screw-in turned legs.  There is a good selection of turned legs with this collection of pianos (some of them seen here) which need to be shared out amongs the three pianos!  Note that the Broadwood has its original pedal, so it deserves to keep the matching legs!


The 'Goulding' business  went through several changes of partners, and this combination 'Goulding D'Almaine & Potter' belongs to the years 1810 - 1823, and the style of this piano suggests an early date.  

The firm were music publishers, sellers and dealers, and did not actually make pianos, nor any of the other instruments including flutes, etc. that they sold.  This piano carries the initials GWD, for the distinguished maker Georg Dettmer.

Good to see the green 'shade' present.   These had an acoustic function, and were not 'dust covers'! (That is what the lid is for...)

This one has its dampers, and all the hammers as far as we can see.  The bridge and soundboard look OK.


Of the three, perhaps the Broadwood needs the least work.  It is one of the last to show a date (1808) - these were gradually dropped in the early 1800s.  Also one of the last to carry the name 'John Broadwood  & Son' - this was the year in which James Shudi Broadwood'  half-brother Thomas was made partner.  John Broadwood died in 1812.

There might be a couple of missing (or loose) hammers, but the dampers are all presnt and correct, and the strings have evidently been replaced.  A well as its legs, this one does have its pedal - these are so often missing.

A piece of the bridge is detached, but if the rest is secure, it should be possible to make a good repair from above.


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© David Hackett