Take a look at this!
This beautiful electrically operated player pipe organ is one of only two known to still be operating. Manufactured near the turn of the Century in Switzerland, this George Baker orchestrion plays daily to the hundreds of visitors at the renowned Asa Packer Mansion.
Several years ago we completely disassembled this organ and restored its operation.
Now here is a real beauty like you won't find on every corner. This 1915, Sohmer upright was a sorry sight when first we saw it. Someone had tried to strip the old finish with the wrong solvent. Much of the fine Mahogany veneer around the keybed was split or torn off and, in general the piano gave the appearance of having had its finest days. Positively not true! After all the cabinet repairs, the gorgeous Red Mahogany wood restored just like the day it was first made. The owners of this fine piano never thought it could look so very beautiful. Today, it is valued at about $12,000.00.
A great save! This Palace Pump Organ, made by Loring and Blake, was purchased (unrestored) by a young couple and placed in their new home. Shortly thereafter, the house suffered a devastating fire and many thousands of gallons of water poured through the organ cabinet, reed pan, keyboard and pump area. Nearly every single glue joint in the organ was destroyed. There were cracks in the wood, rust on metal parts, all the felt was washed away and the stop board was simply dead. Just drying the wood and reversing the effects of warping took several months. With an unwavering commitment by the owner, this fine organ was completely restored to its original glory. Today's value may be as high as $15,000, and possibly more to the right buyer. The owners of this unusual piece, however, are not selling any time soon.
Action Piano Company
Professional Repair, Restoration, Refinishing. Expert Service
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STORIES OF REBIRTH!
To replace, or not to replace-- this was the question. The piano is a 1933, Cable-Nelson Grand, and it is owned by a church. The music director was not sure if the church should replace it or restore it. It looked pretty sad, as institutional pianos usually do after many years of use. But with badly needed action repairs and cabinet restoration now complete, this timeless piano will be around for many more services. A comparable new instrument would have cost three times the amount of restoration. The original scale is still in place.
QUILTED PIANO COVERS
This beautiful Estey Pump Organ was made at the original Estey factory at Brattleboro, Vermont in 1878. Our customer had the parts of this organ in the garage of her new house. The pedal unit was missing entirely. The lower sixteen keys had become wet, and were warped completely off their pins. The key cover was also missing, and the fretwork in front of the keys was completely gone on one side. On the top, there was just about nothing at all remaining of the original decorative railing. Inside, the organ had 172 Reeds, as well as a Sub Bass unit, which gave the instrument a very lovely tone. However, with many broken reeds, rotted leather, and many inoperative stops, it would be nearly a year before we could hear that unique music once more. Even though the organ had quite severe damages, we custom made a new pedal unit and new bellows boards from scratch. We fabricated a curved key cover to match the original design, as well as new railings for the top. New fretwork was cut by hand, and extensive work was done to restore the reedpan, vacuum reservoir and cabinet.
A rare, and surely priceless 1878, Estey pump Organ
THE 1877, NEEDHAM, SILVER TONGUE ORGAN
This beautiful 1877, Needham Pump Organ came to us for restoration from a customer in Tennessee. While we don't have any 'before' pictures for you, this case was a classic example of what can happen to solid wood, when the exterior finish is not maintained or renewed during one hundred and twenty-seven years of life. The right side of the cabinet was split down the center from the top to the bottom. The front of the keybed was separated from the sides by more than an inch, and the bottom panels were badly warped from the outward pressure of the pedal springs. The fretwork was missing or broken, the gallery was gone and the old holes filled in, and there were many large and blackened water stains in the wood.
Inside the organ, things were not much better. The pump is a special type, which incorporates the Vox Humana feature inside the pump. This innovative control makes it possible for the Vox stop to only affect the treble and high treble notes, with no changes at all in the bass or tenor sections-- truly a superb technical achievement for the time. The pump needed total restoration, inside and out. The wood was repaired, treated, sealed and recovered with bellows cloth of the highest quality.
The keys are original ivory and these were cleaned and polished, and retained for historical purposes. Many hours were spent restoring the fretwork, which you can see is only attached to the wood front by very small parts of the design pattern. The Needham gold lettering was restored in the original font, and the Silver Tongue insignia line (not shown) was also restored.
BACK TO PUMP ORGANS
Watch this space for another 'BACK FROM THE DEAD' ENTRY. WE HAVE SOME AMAZING ORGANS AND PIANOS IN PROGRESS.
McPhail Before Restoration
McPhail After Restoration
I wish we had the space to tell you all there is to know about this McPhail, Imperial Upright Grand Piano and show you all the photos. Take my word for it, the BEFORE picture is doing this piano a lot of justice, as it was really in serious need of our services. In the end, we completely rebuilt the action, restored the soundboard and iron frame, installed all new strings, new hammers, custom made a new piano bottom board and all installed all new felts. The nickel plating on the pedals and back plate was restored and new keys were installed to compliment the beautiful, restored finish. All that detail work you see was sanded, inch-by-inch by hand and the original grain of the wood really came out. Hand rubbed in satin piano lacquer, this will dazzle people for decades.