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Astor & Co. Pianoforte: University of Kentucky, Lexington

Description by Dwight Newton, 2006

Astor & Co.

This pianoforte was in the home of a woman in Louisville, Kentucky. She donated the instrument to the University of Kentucky School of Music and we are evaluating it to determine the fesibility of restoring it to playability. Some of these pictures were taken at the home of our donor.

The most interesting aspect of this instrument is the fact that it is an early piano (before 1810) with a full six-octave range.

The donor has no information about the piano's provenance. She apparently purchased it from an antique dealer (possibly at an estate auction) in the 1960s. It has been in her home serving as an ornamental sideboard ever since. She has never played it.

A preliminary examination of the piano reveals problems and issues that were not immediately evident when it first came to our attention. The hammers are not all resting in their inactive positions as they should be, the apparent result of swelling in the wood or possibly from rust in the guide pins. It's clear the instrument was worked on at some point as evidenced by a large plank attached to the bottom and numerous other odds and ends, as will be documented here. Most significant is the apparent fact that the lid is probably not original to this piano and that several pieces of veneer have been patched. A number of the ivory keytops have been replaced, but we have the originals. It's not clear what other patchwork may have been done.

Click images for larger

There are more pictures of this piano here.

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There are more pictures of this piano here.

Copyright © 2006 by Dwight Newton. All rights reserved.
© 2001-2008 D.Newton/

Updated 12/13/2006