Cunningham Piano II

Posted by: tyler thompson

Cunningham Piano II - 08/20/13 10:57 PM

Thought I'd show you the piano..Site didn't seem to want to add photos to the original. Here is the Cunningham. Two of the piano itself and one of the top of the leg.
I filled the holes and will trim it in a couple of days. Ordered new wood screws with phillips heads. The screws are large and a very strange size..Hopefully they will be right, otherwise I will see a machinist. The positions of the braces are apparent and are a common size. I will retrofit them after she is up on all three wheels.

The ornate desk is not original and you can see that whatever was there was on a piano hinge..Wish I still had it...There are some dings but with a tune in a couple of weeks it will work out okay..Thats all we will do for a long while...The sustain pedal works fine and that;s probably good for us now..The others need adjusting.

thanks for the feedback

Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/21/13 08:46 AM

Aha!

I think that everyone assumed that the piano was of recent vintage, i.e. the new Cunningham produced by Cunningham Piano and built by Hailun. Visually, at least, you seem to have one of the original Cunningham 'Matchless' pianos. You can get additional information here:

http://www.cunninghampiano.com/cunningham/

The damage you have described is not catastrophic. The resetting of the leg lock is a simple carpentry repair, rather than related to the technical issues of a piano.

As was mentioned in your other thread, Cunningham Piano in Philadelphia is co-owned by Rich Galassini and he is an active member in the Piano Forum. You could contact him by sending a PM through Piano World or use this contact information.

Direct Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com

He will be able to help you with the lyre supports you need or provide you with a photo to help duplicate the supports locally.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/21/13 10:52 AM

That desk is from a Steinway. It has the Steinway lyre logo cut into it.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/21/13 11:17 AM

Lots of other choices in music desks from Europe if there is a desire for changes there;

music desks
Posted by: tyler thompson

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/21/13 06:28 PM

I'm wondering why I find so little about the Cunningham matchless? Is it a relatively unknown or cheap piano? Where is the serial number? i feel if it was worth something I may put money into it and have other repairs made. Otherwise it's seem solid plays nice, there are a few things but otherwise I have no complaints. Thanks for the help
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/21/13 07:04 PM

Tyler,

Have you contacted Rich Galassini? He will be the best source of information. Cunningham doesn't have quite the same stature as Steinway and at the late 19th and early 20th century there were hundreds of piano builders. They are often only documented locally.

Here are a couple of other links you might enjoy:

http://m.philaplace.org/story/1271/

http://www.antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum/cunningham/
Posted by: tyler thompson

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/21/13 11:02 PM

Added a couple of more photos...Can't find a serial number...However, stamped into the mounting base of each leg is 587.....Screws coming in tomorrow. Hopefully they will be right and I can mount the legs and start playing off the horses..


http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/4450/xhvr.jpg
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/22/13 09:55 AM

Good Day Tyler,

Yes, you have an original Matchless Cunningham piano and, judging from the style of the plate, this piano was built before 1930 and after 1900.

I know that is a wide margin of error, but the serpentine writing and the decorative buttons around the sound holes were used for some time.

As far as a serial number, it is always stamped on the frame at the "V" that is formed between the bass strings and treble strings. It does not surprise me that you do not see it. Your piano was obviously reconditioned, but not rebuilt.

From your photos, it appears that the plate was "regilded" and the piano itself was refinished (and a new music rack added) at some point. In addition to that, it looks like new damper felts and new tuning pins and strings were installed as well.

In the Philadelphia area, these pianos are respected and we have fully rebuilt several in the past few years. However, fully rebuilding this piano will not generate profit for you, so I caution you in considering doing that work - unless you love this piano.

I will also add that great musicians did enjoy the original Cunningham pianos, like George Gershwin, who wrote Porgy and Bess on one. Chubby Checker, who owned one, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who burned several. smile

My 2 cents,
Posted by: tyler thompson

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/22/13 01:22 PM

Rich,

Thanks

Never getting rid of the piano, fixing it up though, yes..Bought this for my wife. Heading to Philly in Oct., will check your shop out if that is possible. I have plenty of time.
Posted by: tyler thompson

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/22/13 01:39 PM

One more thing...Anyone guess insurance value? Forests burning up all around me this summer. Maybe natures providing me a fire barrier for a few years.

thanks
tt
Posted by: BDB

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/22/13 01:45 PM

The insurance value would be low. It probably is not worth insuring beyond the contents coverage for your home.
Posted by: tyler thompson

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/23/13 08:53 AM

Thanks everybody
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/23/13 12:33 PM

Originally Posted By: tyler thompson
Rich,

Thanks

Never getting rid of the piano, fixing it up though, yes..Bought this for my wife. Heading to Philly in Oct., will check your shop out if that is possible. I have plenty of time.


I would love to host you Tyler. Give me a call when you are in town.
Posted by: phacke

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/24/13 02:06 AM

Mr. Thompson,

I think you have a nice looking piano.

In the late 60's, you found grandparents' solid wood heirloom furniture and wooden travel trunks with which they came to new world on ships dumped on big garbage day on the streets of New York City, to make way for the particle board entertainment center shelving for the big cable TV. We picked up a number of things but our station wagon wasn't that big. We made out pretty well though considering. Those with the big pickup trucks and storage for 10-15 years made out extremely well.

Now, people are paying top dollar for new particle board pianos, and abandoning the real wood pianos.

I don't know the future and I can't advise on the quality of the piano on your hands, but I think it is best to forget about market inefficiencies for a while and look at the intrinsic value of what you have (as I think you indeed are).

best wishes-

Posted by: tyler thompson

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/25/13 04:30 PM

OKAY, the piano is on the ground and the hole filling, drilling and screwing went fine...Went to put one of the other legs on and the caster axle had snapped and the brass had seized with the steel axle. I drilled that out, and made a new one out of a heavy duty nail which is about 90% identical to the original...

Now is time to repair (both are missing) the lyre brace..Looks to me the original was probably wood 3/4" and 22.5" long...Any input on that is appreciated.
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Cunningham Piano II - 08/25/13 05:24 PM

Sounds about right.