Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meet My Piano

     My piano is a D.W. Karn & Company.  It has a patent scale full iron backframe.  Boy, is it ever heavy! It took 5 men to get it into the house when we moved, and no matter how much I may want to rearrange the living room, that beautiful beast is not going anywhere!

     D.W. Karn and Company comes out of Woodstock, Ontario. I am not as familiar with the Canadian piano makes and models, but this piano was a gift, so I have enjoyed getting to know this make. Despite the fact that it is very old, it still has a nice touch and the keys are still even. The hammers and pads are in good shape, and the backframe is not cracked. However, because of its age, it does not hold a tune very well. Thankfully, the out-of-tune sound is picked up mostly in the lower bass and higher treble, so for the normal playing range, it sounds pretty good.

     According to the research I've done on the Blue Book of Pianos website (and you thought only vehicles had a blue book), my piano is a Grade III Vintage piano.  In fact, D.W. Karn is not even listed in the Blue Book alphabetical list~ it is listed under "Vintage Pianos."  I like the sound of that! Also, the only serial type number I can find is "1715," which is not a modern serial pattern. Pictured below is a general model of the pianos made during the time frame of 1893-1908.  One of the characteristics of pianos during this time is the intricate woodworking, making them a really special and unique piece of "furniture."  It also has only 2 pedals.

                                                                        GRADE III

Possesses all the qualities of grade II but contains carving on the front around the [optional] stained glass area (Instead of stained glass, mine has wooden engraving with a red silk fabric showing through from behind). Grade III pianos usually have marked elegance and style with carving on top sides of leg portions. They may have nice molding on the side of the piano with carved pieces at the top of the molding. Usually will have a 3" molding skirt around the bottom of the piano but not always (mine does). Circa 1893 - 1908 

      Here are some photos of my piano the day it was moved into our house (this is the house we lived in until November, so yes, we had to move it again after this!) 

You can see some of that era-traditional woodwork on the front of it
If you look beyond us in the photo, you can see that beautiful woodwork and the red material behind it

In this picture you can see some of the ornate woodwork of the legs- they appear to be merely decorative, although I'm sure they lend some sort of support.

Here it is a little closer up. Notice the emblems that are right under the make name~ They are copies of coins from several places in the world, including London and Jamaica. One of them has the date 1888 on it, so I at least know my piano was made after that year.  I would love to find out the history of why those coins are there.

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