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#272612 - 03/24/06 11:53 AM Willis & Co Limited????
2-thumbs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Canada
My parents have a beautiful old upright in their basement that my brother learned to play on. (I think it actually is older than Christ! \:\)
Its an upright but much lower an upright than what I think of as an upright. (don't know how else to describe it. My mom calls it an apartment size. Somehow i suspect that probably 40 to 50+ years ago when this thing was built, "apartment sizes" would not have been much of a consideration)
It was made by the Willis & Co Limited.
I've been able to Google that the company was based out of Montreal, Canada and that they went out of business in 1979. (1900-1979)
I'd like to find out as much about this particular piano as I can since its been in the family for years. (Some day when my daughter or I get good enough I'd like to get it all re-done, inside and out. If this would still even be possible?)
Anyone have any ideas where I could start my investigation?
The only other markings on the piano other than the manufacture is what I suspect is a serial number on the inside. #36958
Any help would be much appreciated.


Forget the Dog...Beware the Kids!

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#272613 - 03/24/06 01:45 PM Re: Willis & Co Limited????
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14781
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Your piano appears to be 1940 vintage.

Willis was a good company, but not spectacular - at least not being made in the 40's

Get it 'serviced' - not *rebuilt* - and enjoy it for what it was meant to be: a very decent family piano!

If your kids need to step up to something better later, they would need a different piano at any rate.

Hope this helps!

norbert \:\)
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller

#272614 - 03/24/06 01:49 PM Re: Willis & Co Limited????
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19059
Loc: Victoria, BC
Paul :

According to the Pierce Piano Atlas, your Willis piano was made in 1941. I would suggest that, if this is either a "console" (40" - 44") or a spinet (36" - 40"), you put aside the sentimental value that the piano may have for you and not invest in having it rebuilt; it may cost you much more than you realize. Whatever money you may put into this piano - and, yes, it's possible to put money into it - you will still end up with either a console or a spinet; either is a poor compromise and in most cases is more a piece of furniture than a musical instrument. Rebuilding one that is more than 60 years old doesn't make any sense.

- - - - -
Estonia 190

#272615 - 03/24/06 03:08 PM Re: Willis & Co Limited????
niceusedpianos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Michigan
Dear Paul,

I have spent many years in the used piano business, and I have seen a few of these Willis pianos. The ones I have examined have had an unusual key design - at the back end of the key, not the "ivory" part - which made them somewhat more difficult to service. They had a metal alloy "S-elbow" that connected the back end of the key to the bottom of the action.

My very strong recommendation is for you to hire a qualified, experienced piano technician to thoroughly evaluate this piano. Then you will have hard information upon which to base an intelligent decision for you and your family. If you can, try to find a technician that has dealt with hundreds and hundreds of older pianos. They will be more likely to familiar with this one.

I wish you well!
David - Internet Sales
For used pianos, Nice Used Pianos, visi...eusedpianos.com ! [/url]
E-mail: info@niceusedpianos.com
248-332-7055, ext. 10

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#272616 - 03/24/06 04:05 PM Re: Willis & Co Limited????
2-thumbs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 20
Loc: Canada
Thanks for all your good advice. I suspected that this might be the case.
In a round about sort of way you are all saying the same thing.
Leave it at moms house, get it tuned to as best as it can get and enjoy it for the sentimental value that it has.
Don't spend a pile of money on this instrument, the quality is not there.
Thanks again everyone. This forum rocks. \:\)
Forget the Dog...Beware the Kids!

#272617 - 05/03/07 08:43 PM Re: Willis & Co Limited????
deCarabas Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/02/07
Posts: 1
I was just curious as I have a similar piano that I have to sell and was wondering what it's worth considering it has been regularly maintained and last time it was serviced the tech said it was in good condition and only needed a tune. The serial number is 37197 which I believe is around 1962. I learned to play on it and it's been in the family 30+ years. (I am 32)Due to it's sentimental value I find it hard to price without bias so I ask any of you approx how much is it worth? I appreciate any info or advice. Thanks


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