1874 Broadwood 7'4

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1874 Broadwood 7'4
This is a fascinating instrument, of significant historical and educational value, almost all original. It was built in 1874 in London, and, from technicians' notes on the action cover, seems to have remained in London until at least 1934. Lots of cool details--from builders' and technicians' signatures, stamps, and dated notes underneath and inside the instrument, to shims in the action stack made from an 1880s London Metropolitan District Railway ticket. Under what circumstances it came to the U.S. is a mystery. It was obviously very well cared for, both in England, and by its owners in the US.

The technology in this piano is unchanged from Broadwood's heyday in the 1840s. Broadwood was on the cutting edge of piano tech, pushing the envelope from the late-18th through the mid-19th centuries, and its instruments were favored by Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Liszt. With the exception of the expansion of the range from 82 to 85 notes, this piano is the same model, identical in every detail, to the Broadwood grand Chopin owned in London in 1848. It has an English action, is straight-strung, and has a five-piece, bolt-together cast iron plate. While there are many excellent replicas being made of pianos from the late 18th and turn of the 19th century, it is unlikely replicas of these sorts of instruments, the last drafts before the leap to the full modern piano, will ever be made--unlike fortepianos, one needs a factory to make these guys--one can't do it in a small workshop. It's been nothing short of awesome to own and play.

I would be remiss not to mention the quality of the woodwork, which is a beautiful example of 19th century English cabinetry at its finest. The piano is finished in rosewood, and the lid is solid rosewood. The keys are the original ivory and ebony.

Buyer is responsible for arranging pick-up, and all moving costs. You will need professional piano movers--I am happy to recommend movers based here in the DC area I've worked with and trust, who move nationally and internationally.

The piano plays as is, but if it is going to see heavy use, it will need restoration. Holds tune, but 4 strings go flat faster than they should. Sound is even and resonant across all registers despite cracks in the soundboard. Hammers and shanks are very old. English action is in good working order. Minor chips in the rosewood veneer in a few places. Has seen daily use as a second piano in my teaching studio for the past year and a half. We need to upgrade, and I can't afford the rebuilding costs, otherwise, we'd keep it. More photos available upon request.


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