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What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

  • 1.  What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-26-2018 22:36
    I recently acquired a small school district as a customer. 24 pianos, once a year. Mostly PSO's but what can you do? In the band room of the high school is a beautiful Friedrich Ehrbar from the late 1870's that is currently being used as a table to store stuff on. Strings are rusty and popping so nobody has even tried to play it since it was donated to the school a couple of years ago. They want to get rid of it but don't know what to do with it.

    See pics --

    I understand that in spite of its beauty, and its unique action, that it may not have ever been considered anything special and that they made mass quantities of them. Just the same...

    Today's question: what would you do if you found this piano?

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 2.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-26-2018 23:46
    I would tell them not to throw it away. It's a unique antique worth saving. Tell them to donate it to a museum where it belongs. Just my thoughts, maybe someone a little more hardened will have a different opinion.

    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez
    Professional Piano Services
    (805)315-8050
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    BenPianoPro@comcast.net
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 05:53
    There has to be someplace the instrument can be studied, put on display, refurbished and no longer used as a table. I would contact
    Bill Shull or even PTG Home Office. There are also a number of collections around the country that may have interest. It is another piece of piano history...

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 09:47
    First off, I see a strong resemblance to Bechstein in construction. Probably was a seriously good piano.

    Perhaps some wealthy and generous person in town could be persuaded (by the school) to foot the bill for restoration and then they would really have something (not at taxpayers expense). Or it could be donated to a local museum or recital hall if there is one.

    Is there any history attached to it in the town/city?

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 09:59
    Often when I have clients with a rare piano, I show them the history of the instrument. A good percent changed their minds and decide to keep it. Especially if there is some perceived value. A long shot, but it's paid off a few times. Here are my notes in F. Ehrbar, maybe they will decide to keep it or have it restored.

    Ehrbar

    1829- Friedrich Ehrbar's parents and sister died when he was 2 years old from a cholera epidemic.

    1841-As an orphan his natural talent for music and mechanical ability caught the attention of organ builder Frederici.

    1848- After serving a seven year apprenticeship, he then decides to move to Vienna, then the leading capital of piano making. While Ehrbar was in Vienna he meets Henry Steinway, forming a lasting friendship. He secures employment with Eduard Seuffert.

    1854- Sueffert was so impressed with Ehrbar, that he gave him the task of building six pianos for the 1855 Munich Exposition. All six pianos sold and Ehrbar even received a gold medal.

    1855- Seuffert dies. Ehrbar marries his widow Rosa, and acquires the business 2 years later in 1857.

    1862- First prize in London

    1867- First prize in Paris

    1873- The Emperor of Austria awarded Ehrbar the title of "Purveyor of the Court". Ehrbar was also one of the first Vienna makers to use a full Iron frame in all of his pianos.

    1877- The Concert Hall Palais Ehrbar is built.

    1898- Ehrbar retires, hands the business over to his son Frederich Benedict Ernst Ehrbar (jr.).

    1905- Ehrbar dies in his country home at 78 years old.
    -chris
    #caveman







    ------------------------------
    A hunter's drumbeat steers the stampeding herd,
    His belly growls in hunger to what he sees.
    The mammoth aware blows his mighty trumpet,
    But alas, the caveman tickles the ivories.

    chernobieffpiano.com
    865-986-7720
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 10:04
    Kind of a close knit family of piano makers to marry your bosses widow. Just saying!
    -chris

    ------------------------------
    A hunter's drumbeat steers the stampeding herd,
    His belly growls in hunger to what he sees.
    The mammoth aware blows his mighty trumpet,
    But alas, the caveman tickles the ivories.

    chernobieffpiano.com
    865-986-7720
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 10:39
    It looks like a keeper to me. Perhaps starting a drive would help keeping it from being just a table. Get a professional photographer to do some free photos to kick it off. maybe there is a traceable history of who owned it and how it ended up as a table. The connection to Steinway sounds worthwhile historically. Definitely get in touch with Bill Schull at the historical piano preservation center in Californa

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 12:01
    Like Dylan said, I can't help it if I'm lucky!

    ------------------------------
    Zeno Wood
    Brooklyn, NY
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  • 9.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-28-2018 13:48
    Maybe these folks would be interested? Shipping may be a deal killer, though,
    but at least they would restore it and find a new home for it rather than
    consign it to a land fill. It looks like the case could come up quite a bit
    with a "french polish".

    PianoGrands - Fine Antique Pianos




    ------------------------------
    Richard Adkins
    Piano Technician
    Coe College
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-28-2018 22:14
    Thank you for this link, Richard. I will be back at the school next month and plan on finding all the numbers and taking a bunch more pics. Even if it means I have to unload all the stuff from the top to do so.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 11.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-28-2018 13:25
    Sweet piano when restored. Maybe they would appreciate the piano
    more if they visited these links on Youtube?

    Mozart - Duport-Variationen, KV 573 (Ehrbar, 1883)
    YouTube remove preview
    Mozart - Duport-Variationen, KV 573 (Ehrbar, 1883)
    Instrument: Ehrbar-Flügel aus Wien, Bj. 1883, 2,20m, Wiener Mechanik, restaurierter Originalzustand (2011)
    View this on YouTube >


    A. Scriabin - Poem in Fis-Dur, op. 32,1 (Ehrbar, 1883)
    YouTube remove preview
    A. Scriabin - Poem in Fis-Dur, op. 32,1 (Ehrbar, 1883)
    Instrument: Ehrbar-Flügel aus Wien, Bj. 1883, 2,20m, Wiener Mechanik, restaurierter Originalzustand (2011)
    View this on YouTube >

    Mephisto Valtz. Franz Liszt
    YouTube remove preview
    Mephisto Valtz. Franz Liszt
    Piano Ehrbar 1883. Colección de pianos históricos de la "Colección Serrato". Extracto del concierto realizado en la Fundación J. March de Madrid el 4, 6 y 7 de Mayo. Interpretación histórica a cargo de Miriam Gómez Morán de la obra: Mephisto Vals de Franz Liszt.
    View this on YouTube >


    ------------------------------
    Richard Adkins
    Piano Technician
    Coe College
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 10:36
    Geoff,
    Throw it away. Who would pay to restore it? If Bull Schull wanted it, who's going to pay shipping to southern California? Talk is cheap. When it comes down to the final logistics, who would shepherd a salvation plan?
    Roger





  • 13.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 12:31

          If it all played somewhat I might deed 40 minutes to see what gives. Rusty old strings sometimes do fine carefully tapped and treated with corrosion inhibitor. Snug plate and bridge screws if any and attempt pitch raise. Throw away? Boo hoo sad if true.




  • 14.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 13:02
    It's beautiful, it's historic, there aren't a ton of them around, and no one could build it today.

    Tossing something of that caliber just because immediate profit can't be pulled from it is a failure in attitude. A fairly small "pro bono" task to get it out of the band room and find it a safe space to live until someone is willing to take it on shouldn't be past someone's abilities. Anyone who likes antiques and has a big living room would do, or many a small museum might find a spot for it, neither of which would require that it be playable ... or a bigger museum might just put it on its side and store it "for later."

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 15.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 13:19
    That was fairly standard succession practice in olden times, the chief apprentice joins the bosses family.. Didn’t Taskin marry Blanchet’s widow and take over the firm?



    ---Dave

    Sent from my phone, forgive typos!




  • 16.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 13:26
    Yes, it was common practice. So… choose your apprentices well!

    Alan

    ------------------------------
    Alan Eder, RPT
    Herb Alpert School of Music
    California Institute of the Arts
    Valencia, CA
    661.904.6483
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  • 17.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 02-27-2018 13:34
    Choose your apprentices well. Hilarious!!!!





  • 18.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-01-2018 17:02
    If, after some reasonable effort, no interest can be found to actually restore it, THEN throw it away.

    Pwg


    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-01-2018 18:17
    Peter, I disagree.

    First, there is no reason to throw it away if a safe place to store it "till later" can be found. It's in California, with a benign climate (at least for now.)

    Second, if it waits a long time without being rebuilt, its original condition may be far more valuable than any rebuild it gets. Extremely old but high quality pianos are a diminishing resource -- there are going to be fewer of them all the time, especially if climate change related natural disasters become more frequent and widespread. Eventually scarcity kicks in. How many pianos in Texas and Florida were destroyed this year alone?

    Third, why throw anything that good looking away at all, whether or not it plays right now?

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 20.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-02-2018 09:41
    Edited by Peter Grey 03-02-2018 09:57
    LONG POST   I'm at home sick with flu so...

    Susan,

    I totally agree with you. Personally I would probably hang on to every old, unique, rare instrument I could find (if I had unlimited storage space). I have a 1875 Bluthner laying on its side now for roughly 20 years. And all (8) but one of the pianos in my shop (the one I'm working on for someone else) are old and in various states of repair/rebuild (and they are ALL potentially great ibstruments). I have deluded myself into thinking that someday these things will be enjoyed by someone else because I cannot bear to discard them...but no one is interested in them either (at present).

    Many (not all) of us technicians are the same way (or similar).  There's a guy in our chapter who has literally hundreds of pianos, and parts of pianos, littered about on a factory floor. Many are rare. (I personally gave him a 1860 Chickering square...why?...because I couldn't bear to take it to the dump [cost me $500 to get it to him too]). He is in his 80's. What will happen to these? I think you know the answer. Same as when another chapter member died and his barn had to be evacuated of dozens of pianos.

    I am SLOWLY coming to reality on this issue. This is why I say: try to find a generous person with deep pockets and a love of history to bankroll restoration of a fine instrument. If, with reasonable effort this cannot be done, and basically no one wants it...and the school doesn't want it...and none of us wants it...you see where I'm going.

    One thing that has helped me to be a little more realistic on this is recognizing that the original makers of these fine instruments never in their wildest dreams expected any of their pianos to be being used or restored 100+ years down the road. They built a fine product (because high quality was generally the norm back then) but they expected it to be either restored or preferably replaced about 30 years down the road.

    The town I live in has a ridiculously excessive attitude toward "historical" properties. They won't let you tear them down and build new, but they also will not give anyone any incentive to restore them. They use taxpayer money to purchase some of these (to the tune of over $1,000,000 collectively), and they have "pie-in-the-sky" ideas as to what could become of them. To date, nothing has happened to them except pour more taxpayer money into them.

    The "historical" committee in town consists of a handful of people (NONE OF WHICH is willing to front their own money to restore any of these properties!)  The problem is that NO ONE is interested in restoring these properties, so they sit and literally rot away. They are an eyesore in town. But just the mention of bulldozing them and putting a normal house on the property...whoa!...watch out!  There is basically one elderly woman on the commission who controls all of it. No one is willing to stand up to her. We broached the subject at one of their meetings and it didn't go well.

    So, while I appreciate quality and historical value, there is a point where I am learning to "throw in the towel". When there is active interest in preserving it, yes! When no interest can be found anywhere...well...

    But basically I agree with you. 😁

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-02-2018 11:20
    To James Kelly:

    James,

    You PM me suggesting that perhaps some on this list MIGHT be interested in some of what Gene had in his warehouse.

    I hope I'm not out of line here but I'm sure he would not mind me making this public. His name is Eugene Roe and he has been a NH chapter member much longer than I have. He has helped me and others out when we needed obscure parts, etc. The place is a cross between a graveyard and a museum.   I am quite sure he would welcome any inquiries as to what he has there, if anyone is actually interested.

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-02-2018 11:32
    wow it could be a honey hole as they say on American Pickers. I am wondering what he has in the way of old Chickering & Sons action parts

    ------------------------------
    James Kelly
    Pawleys Island SC
    843-325-4357
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-02-2018 13:43
    I have a friend who has an old but working Chickering Square, and yes, we'd really like to move it on to someone who would like to have it. He's playing his 1880's Steck fairly small grand, which we restored, with much greater enjoyment. So I do see where you are coming from.

    Some of this, the number of very old pianos locally, and the attitudes of the people who might make them house room, no doubt varies with location. So, back east, the pretty Ehrbar ends up in a band room instead of a museum or an antique enthusiast's large living room.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 24.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-02-2018 20:33
    I have to preface this post saying that I have a huge interest and a warm soft spot for old, unusual and otherwise interesting pianos.  So much so that I am about to do the ridiculous thing and spend way too much money and energy on an 1872 German grand (Westermayer - Berlin) to rebuild it with a new pin block and historically accurate soundboard.  This piano has a  very unique patented action with an amazing repetition capability. It is overstrung, and the soundboard has a large bass cut-off bar and a fanned rib design. These and other features tell me that it is an extremely modern piano for its age. And is why I am doing this work.  Is is an investment of love into an instrument that otherwise would probably go to the dump, eventually, after it passes from my hands and moves on.

    Shifting to this Ehrbar. I am sorry to disappoint anyone who offered a contrary opinion, but this piano is not unusual or unique or special in any way. It has almost nothing in common with a Bechstein, as Bechstein did not build pianos with Viennese action, which is the determining feature  here. The streets of Vienna were paved with them, and  they are for all intents and purposes identical with their Viennese action, leather covered hammers, candle holders, nice case veneer, etc.  No museum piece, no collectors item, no anything. In Europe they are giving these things away for free.
    A friend of mine just picked one up for $300. I will get it working for her, but nothing special.
      So what to do with it?
    I think the only market for $$ would be to find an interior stylist who can lace it is someone's home as a conversation piece.


    ------------------------------
    Jurgen Goering
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  • 25.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-03-2018 07:51
    Jurgen,

    So, in essence, it was probably just someone's family piano that came over on a boat with all their other stuff.

    Interesting perspective.  It is always helpful to get information from someone who KNOWS. It helps keep those of us who don't know from spending significant sums of money to preserve things that aren't worth it.

    It would only be worth it if the original family members wanted to preserve the memory. Otherwise, a period conversation piece.

    👍

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-03-2018 09:31
    Think in terms of English birdcage pianos.
    Antique dealers buy them for pennies in Europe.
    They are pretty, and people here think they're buying rare antiques for $1000.
    And they "just need tuning."
    In pre-industrial days everything was used and re-used until it rotted away.
    Now we have more objects than our needs can support.

    ------------------------------
    Ed Sutton
    ed440@me.com
    (980) 254-7413
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  • 27.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-03-2018 10:28
    With regard to old piano parts. I have a Chickering Grand that I will NOT be restoring. It has the angled brass hammer flanges and all the other original parts. It just occurred to me that they might be of use to someone out there who IS trying to restore one of these. Please pass this along if you know of someone who could use them. It would please me no end to be able to recycle them!
    ~ jeannie

    Jeannie Grassi, Registered Piano Technician
    Island Piano Service
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    206-842-3721




  • 28.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-03-2018 10:38
    And in regard to Gene Roe, yes he probably has just about any parts you can think of. And he knows A LOT about all of them. He's in the directory. NH Chapter.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-03-2018 11:02
    I've got someone, Jeannie. I'll email you privately.

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    Susan Kline
    Philomath, Oregon
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  • 30.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-03-2018 21:28
    Jeannie, tell me more about your Chickering.
    Thanks

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    Edward McMorrow
    Edmonds WA
    425-299-3431
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  • 31.  RE: What to do with an old Friedrich Ehrbar

    Posted 03-04-2018 12:14
    Since we have gravitated to this subject, I have one of those Chickerings ...parts are good, but I am noticing that some of the whippens butt plates are on their way out. Since the standard butt plates for uprights do not work (too long), what source has these butt plates?  I don't see them in Schaff catalog (complete flange, yes but I don't want all that).

    Suggestion?

    Pwg

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------