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#316330 - 01/29/06 09:52 PM Hackley Upright?
MLuddyJr Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/29/06
Posts: 1
Loc: Fuquay-Varina, NC
Hello everyone,

I was recently given an older upright and I'm trying to dig up more information about it. It is labeled as a "Hackley" of Chicago & Muskegon. On the sound board it has a number of 50752, I assume this is the serial number. From what I can find it was manufactured by the Chase-Hackley company in 1905 or 1906. It is quite tall, standing just over 56" to the top of the cabinet.

I don't know much of its history, but I do know that it has been kept in a finished and air-conditioned basement for the past ~30 years. The finish is quite faded and has acquired some sort of white mold/mildew on the surface in a few areas. The cabinet itself still feels solid, at least from what I can tell none of the external wood has rotted. Mechanically it has one broken hammer and a few keys that require more effort than the others, but none of the keys stick and there are no broken strings. All of the pedals work as intended and the piano seems to be relatively playable aside from being sorely out of tune.

I understand that an upright of this age and condition may not carry any monetary value, but it seems like a shame to haul it to the dump due to its size and age. Does it sound like this piano is even worth considering for a low-budget restoration?

Thanks in advance,

Mike Luddy, Jr.

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#316331 - 01/29/06 10:14 PM Re: Hackley Upright?
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3458
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
I share your concern about having to give up on an old piano.

If you're thinking of reselling it, it's very probably not. These are available for free all over the country. A rebuild sufficient to make it playable is probably more than double what it would be worth afterwards (probably no more than $2000). Here's an example of the fatal problems inside old pianos that are hard to see:

"Pianos" and "basement" are two words you never want to hear together, because basements are usually damp. If they're dry, it's often because of baseboard heaters, which also damage pianos. ("Mold" is another word you don't want to hear!).

Other factors may go into your decision, such as if it has sentimental value. Some of them can sound fairly nice, as the large size allows a good scale. Many have ornate cabinets with wonderful veneer; it doesn't sound like this is the case here.

Sometimes replacement parts are just not available. There were many different designs in those days.

They can make great desks:

If there's ivory on the keys, it can be salvaged. The back posts are probably very good wood, too. Just be careful moving it: it's very heavy, and it's tall, and it's *top-heavy*. Typically there's a person on each end of the piano, but it falls over on its keys (or back).

Ask your local technician for an appraisal. You can find one on this board or at www.ptg.org.

Cy Shuster, RPT
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute


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