Age of a pianola

You can usually determine the age with the help of the serial number of the (grand) piano. If you have already found the serial number(s), our service "How old is my piano" may help you to determine the construction year of the piano. Two serial numbers are usually be found - one for the acoustic piano - and one for the player mechanism -, because very often, they will originate from two different enterprises.

Finding the serial number

How to find a serial number at your pianola

You can generally check the age with the help of the instrument number. If you open the upper panel, these serial numbers are in general found on the cast iron frame or on the inside of the case.

Where to find the serial number

You can open the upper panel by swinging the upper lid open and removing the inside locking right and left by turning the little wooden pins applied there. Then you can remove the upper front panel forward. If any candlesticks are mounted, make sure that they will not smash against the panel and cause scratches when removing or mounting.
You can remove the lower panel either by bending the wooden pin in the center upwards or by turning the swiveling pins right and left so that the panel will freely move forward. To make the piano ready for transport, remove this lower panel or, better still, secure it, because it may easily drop when moving and get scratched.
Welte push-up player usually have two serial numbers - one is stamped into the wood right in front of the air motor..., is stamped into the wood at the backside (upper right corner) of the Welte-Mignon push-up player. This is the more important cabinet number realted to the year of production.
Welte-Mignon cabinet pianos (and upright pianos) have the cabinet serial number at the backside of the instrument in the top right corner.
The piano serial number at Welte-Mignon cabinet pianos can be found (with Feurich pianos inside) on the soundboard left below the action.
Welte-Mignon grand pianos have another serial number stamped in the wood below the keyboard (right and/or left).
Welte-Mignon upright pianos as well as grand pianos have a piano brand specific number on the windchest (i.e. ST for Steinway, FEU for Feurich etc.).
Hupfeld player pianos usually have a metal plate showing two serial numbers, one for the piano, one for the player mechanism.
Hupfeld player mechanisms have a serial number stamped into the wood in the area of the wind motor.
Hupfeld DEA push-up players have their Hupfeld serial number inside, right behind the front cover.
Hupfeld Phonola push-up player have their Hupfeld serial number on the edge of the plate that holds the pedal poles at the backside of the player.

Examples for serial numbers

Some examples of serial numbers found in the instrument follow. The serial number is sometimes deeply hidden or was scraped off during a previous overhaul. In that case, you may determine the age of the piano by checking the serial number of the action as well. The only other way is to check the design or other details.

Pictures of serial numbers

Documents of the manufacturers of your instrument

Documents of the manufacturers of your instrument

Few manufacturers (e. g., Ibach or Schiedmayer & sons) still possess the original documents from the production sites, unfortunately. Most documents have been destroyed during the world wars, so that the year of construction can be determined only with the help of the serial number. In the case of Ibach, you can begin a pay query in their archives by entering the serial number and you will receive a pretty certificate that will state the precise production date, the model name, the original price and the first owner of the instrument. We also have many original catalogs from that age and can extract some details out of them.

Original catalogs and brochures of the pianola

Original catalogs and brochures of the pianola manufacturers

Pianola brochures

Old catalogs and brochures of the former manufacturers can also be a very interesting source of original and in-depth statements. See some examples of such catalogs, brochures, service manuals and books, sometimes with original drafts and descriptions of the instruments, including contemporary data on price and delivery. Sometimes this even helps to find out which original candlesticks were intended for which model. We will be glad to offer you copies of these original documents for a service charge - if required, please contact us.

Some Pianola catalogues and books