Bell Piano age

Posted by: Canadian Worby

Bell Piano age - 12/17/08 07:58 PM

I found a gorgeous Bell piano with the Illimitable Repeating Action. It was fully restored 4 years ago. New (or fully reconditioned) hammers, refinished cabinet. a HUGE sound.

Serial number is 25199 which I understand puts it around 1915...am I right???

I assume this is the serial number. It appeared in a separate box right under the words "Illimitable Repeating Action".
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/17/08 08:26 PM

Probably 1913. No serial numbers given between 1914 and 1916, but judging by the other serial numbers, they produced around 700-800 pianos a year, and the first serial number for 1913 is 24760.

Sounds like a beauty. I love Bells.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/17/08 08:51 PM

That’s absolutely correct Anne and by the way, for your viewing pleasure, here is Bell # 24760.

http://picasaweb.google.com/silverwoodpianos/BellPianoOrgan1913#5276040481679155266

Enjoy the show…..

www.silverwoodpianos.com
Posted by: Canadian Worby

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/17/08 09:39 PM

Just wondering; there were about 9 cracks in the soundboard. They were all around 3 feet long. They ran with the grain, the majority being on the seam of the peices. The widest one was only 1/16 (at the most!). I played it hard and heard no vibrations. I also read that cracks in piano's were no big deal. Is that true???
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 08:52 AM

Cracks in a big old upright like that would be no big deal because most of the old uprights have them by now, if you are east of the Rockies. With that many in the sound board itself, I am wondering why they were not repaired during what you describe as the restoration. As long as the cracks don’t vibrate or separate from the rib you will be ok. New hammers and a finish on the cabinet does not constitute a complete restoration.

www.silverwoodpianos.com
Posted by: Canadian Worby

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 11:16 AM

Thank you Silverwood. I do not know much about piano's except that this Bell wowed me!

None of the cracks were pulling away from the ribs. The piano has spent it's entire life in Saskatchewan. It has lettering on the inside of the piano on the case that says it was made for some place in Saskatoon (I don't remember which place). As such, I am surprised that it did not crack more! I had read that Bell did many custom cabinets for people. This cabinet is entirely different then the Bell that I learned on which is about the same age. This Bell is very squared off, meaning no rounded edges or scroll/carving work what-so-ever. My mothers Bell has curved legs and scroll work all over it.

Anyhow, this is the first piano that I have found in my search that made me go WOW! BIG tone. The treble shocked me. It was loud but not painful...very clear.

The piano looks brand new. Any chips were proffesionally filled. You can't feel them and can't see them unless you are 6 inches from it.

I am obviouslly taken with this piano!

You see, I was looking at a Mason & Risch from 1899. It is the one with individual agraffes all the way to the last treble note. It looks very classy in it's traditional styling. BUT...it had a 1/16 wide crack that runs all the way from the bottom corner diagnolly to the top. Someone has put 7 or 8 screws through the ribs into the sound board to stabalize it I imagine. As well, the bottom corner were the crack starts, the leg is coming out of the bottom of the piano. Not the vertical leg that goes up to the keys, I am refering to the leg that comes horizontally out from the bottom of the piano that the vertical leg attaches to. I am suspicious that the M&S was dropped at some point as this damaged leg and the large crack start at the same point. This M&S has had the hammers shapped and some parts replaced. It sounded great but...I just have a nagging suspicion.

Once again, thanks to all you experts and lovers of piano's for you help!!!
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 11:38 AM

Sounds like the board in the M&R cracked across the crown, so that one is too bad. The instrument could have been dropped if the toe/leg assembly was loose.

The Bell is the better instrument in my opinion. They do have a particular tone as do the rest of the famous Canadian uprights of the same era.

Top of the line stuff in those days, enjoy it while it lasts, they are all aging gracefully, and some like the M&R not so gracefully…...but they can still be loved for years.

www.silverwoodpianos.com
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 12:46 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Silverwood Pianos:
That’s absolutely correct Anne and by the way, for your viewing pleasure, here is Bell # 24760.

http://picasaweb.google.com/silverwoodpianos/BellPianoOrgan1913#5276040481679155266

Enjoy the show…..

www.silverwoodpianos.com [/b]
Wow, Dan, that's cool! The first Bell made in 1913. Of course I believe you, but I didn't actually see the serial number in those pictures... or did I miss it?
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 12:48 PM

I admit my experience with either brand is limited but I'd take a Bell over a Mason & Risch any day.

Why do I see so few M&R tall uprights? All I ever get is consoles and studio uprights (most of them not very nice).
Posted by: Canadian Worby

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 12:58 PM

Well Anne, here is a M&S tall upright (about 58 inches).

http://www.usedregina.com/classified-ad/7737265

Not the greatest picture but you can see that it has some nice cabinetry. It's too bad that it has substancial damage to the sound board. It still sounded sweet ... but quiet. Perhaps the substantial cracks and separation from the ribs has caused it to lose volume.(?)

Again, thank you Silverwood. I will go with the Bell.
Posted by: Canadian Worby

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 01:00 PM

ONE MORE THING.

The Bell was in good tune except for one note in the 3rd octave from middle C. Only one of the 3 strings was out but... It was VERY out (at least half way to being fully flat). Could that be a bad tuning peg and is that expensive to fix? Can one simply remove that string that won't tune? I imagine there would be a volume loss with only 2 of the 3...??
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 02:29 PM

Anne,
Yep it is a nice one for sure… the only time I have ever had an instrument with the serial # posted in the Atlas. Picture #2 of 36. Maybe you had the eggnog in the way there ;\)

In your area most of the older uprights are so damaged by the winter heat that they are not around much. But you will still see a lot of post WWII instruments that you have referred to…..

CW,

Yes the tuning pin can be changed if it needs to be. Either a larger diameter pin or a bushing for the same pin.First it should be inspected for why the string is out of tune there.

Just had a look at the M&R…yes it is one of those with the open pin block style and the interlocking block construction. Most of those fell apart because they did not have bolts through to the rear plank, so the pin block separated from the rest of the construction. If not repaired immediately this would have resulted in bending the plate at the top…..maybe why you don't see many of them around your parts there Anne.......

www.silverwoodpianos.com
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 07:40 PM

Oh silly me, you're right Dan, too much eggnog!!

I tuned one of those Bell "steelbacks" last week, and I noticed the plate at the back.

Was this open pinblock thing specific to M&R? I see lots of really old uprights, just not many M&R's.
Posted by: Canadian Worby

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/18/08 11:51 PM

Well I secured the sale of the Bell piano. I am VERY happy. This is a surprise Christmas present for my three girls who have been playing piano for a few years now. I grew up on a Bell and didn't realize how much I prefer the tone until I heard this one! Here's a picture. NOTE: this link won't work in a few days...

http://regina.kijiji.ca/c-ViewAdLargeIma...3%2F71a7_18.JPG

Thank you Dan & Anne for your advice!

Dan, that is a GORGEOUS Bell piano. The carving on it is amazing! I can't imagine how it must sound with all new strings. I know that when I re-string my guitar I am always exhilarated and inspired anew.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 12/19/08 08:55 AM

Lots of companies used the open block style Anne; you are still seeing a lot of the older uprights there? I am surprised actually, thought the harsh winters would have finished most of them off, surely a testament to the quality of materials and the builders. If I remember correctly I think the open block style ended around WWI.

CW that is the way to go about your piano purchase, forget names, and just buy the tone you like. If you don’t like the tone, you will never listen to it played, so this was the right choice for you and your family. That is what it is all about; bringing the joy of music into your home, a few cracks in the sounding board won’t stop all that fun, probably been cracked for 20 yrs. or more, just a guess on that part. Have fun with the new instrument.

Never got a chance to see the ad, it is gone now, but that is ok I know what most of them look like anyways, big and bold.

Thanks for the comments on the picture album, yes, I have never seen one as dressed up as that Bell. The cabinet work is amazing like you have stated. With all of the new components, and 56 inches in height the sound is unreal.

www.silverwoodpianos.com
Posted by: Mll

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/11/11 11:06 PM

I recently bougt a upright player piano and it's says bell and Co new York on the inside and has Serial number of 183515 Any ideas On year made or model ?
Posted by: Emmery

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/11/11 11:18 PM

Worby, both you and your girls will be happy with that Bell. I don't see as many of them as I used to, but they do come up every now and then here in Niagara. Another good one with similar booming sound are the big old Berlin uprights, some of them with phenominal hand work on the cabinetry. Old world European craftsmanship brought right to our shores.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/12/11 02:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Mll
I recently bougt a upright player piano and it's says bell and Co new York on the inside and has Serial number of 183515 Any ideas On year made or model ?


There were a number of companies with the name Bell. Yours is probably a different company than the one this topic was about. Dating it would be difficult, but most players dated from about the end of WWI.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/12/11 12:48 PM


Eight companies listed for making the Bell instrument; five of them American. Of that five, three were located in NY.
Posted by: Mll

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/12/11 01:03 PM

Do you have a list of manufacturers? any way to tell the date or value? its a upright player piano and works well but somewhere in its life was painted so other than bell name on inside don't know what it is. appreciate help. do you have email so could send couple pics?
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/12/11 01:33 PM


My mistake I read the list incorrectly…only two in NY.

Bell Bros, Chicago Il.

Bell Bros Piano Co. Munci Ind.

Bell Piano Co. 546 East 57th St.

Bell & Co. NY

Most likely there is a date written on the back of the piano action but that is a bit of a job to get there if this is a player….. For photos, email direct from my web site icon below my signature here…….. or post the photos here.
Posted by: Mll

Re: Bell Piano age - 07/12/11 04:26 PM

Just sent you pictures. Thanks for your help