Headquarters for Vintage Piano Restoration

Welcome to Victorian Piano


Although I have recently purchased a Civil War era Victorian and moved to Norwalk CT , I am only an hour from Times Square, so I'm still totally involved and accessible to the Greater New York area.

This website and this business are all about old pianos. I call it the “Victorian Piano” because many of my “patients” have been instruments made , literally , during the reign of Queen Victoria – who died in 1901. However the “golden age” of pianos in the United States was the 1920’s, when approximately 8 major manufacturers were slugging it out for supremacy, and West 57th Street in Manhattan , ajacent to Carnegie Hall, was highlighted by piano showrooms. It was an era of wonderful pianistic talents , Ignace Paderewski, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Josef Hofmann , among many, whose endorsements were solicited by the piano manufacturers.

In case you were wondering , the companies were Steinway, Chickering , and Knabe, which were founded before the Civil War, Mason& Hamlin, Sohmer , Hardman, and Weber which were started in the 1870’s and 1880’s and a relative newcomer , Baldwin. Each of these makes had their own designs and manufacturing techniques [all protected by lots of patents] and their own distinctive sound.

Before the days of TV [and even radio] , everybody had a piano , and many less famous makes than those listed above , turned out quite decent pianos for home use. Until 1930 , the standard living room piano was a fullsize upright [about 52”tall] with grands for higher end folks. The truth is that even the “no-name” pianos from the ‘teens and 20’s were often very decent quality instruments.

During the Depression , pianos downsized too , literally becoming smaller . The 6’ + parlour grands were replaced by 5 foot baby grands, the big uprights by 40 inch tall spinets and consoles, but many pianos were still handmade , with matched pattern veneer and real spruce soundboards. That’s why “pre-WW2” is the catchword for piano restoration . The piano industry as it existed then has disappeared . This quality cannot be duplicated in a new piano except at the higher end of the market , as the majority of inexpensive pianos are being mass produced in China.

I have been doing restoration on these wonderful older pianos for many years. There is nothing like reconstructing a real ivory keyboard using salvaged pieces, and repairing a spruce soundboard with shims cut from deceased soundboards and putting it all together to get a complete piano with a wonderful resonant sound . I love to feel as if I have saved a piece of history from the dumpster.
Victorian Piano
Restringing a 1918 Steinway "K" Upright , Nov 2013