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#3170137 11/11/21 08:39 PM
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Hello I have gotten a little five+ octave piano and I love it but there are no markings as to who manufactured it. Is anyone familiar with who made these, or any additional info? Thanks.
There is a sticker on the rest rail that says “moth proof”.
“5516” is written by hand faintly in just ball point pen on the plate, and below that two tunings dated ‘73 and ‘74.
I’ve been fixing it up to busk with it, inspired by Jonny Hahn who plays one with the same number of keys at Pike Place Market in Seattle. His is smaller and with a different appearance and so I assume that more than one manufacturer built in this size range.
I think it’s cool how it’s been built as a simply shrunken version of an upright, even including little back posts and an undercut bridge in the high treble.
The tone is halfway between hammer dulcimer and usual piano, but more toward piano than Hahn’s instrument. The high treble can sound almost like a standard piano.
The screws holding the hammers were not adequately tight and causing a junky feel when playing and I’ve tightened them up and done regulation and hammer filing and it’s quite an enjoyable little instrument now.
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Likely made by Melodigrand when it was a subsidiary of Aeolian.

Made in the 50s.


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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
...... it was a subsidiary of Aeolian.
So does that make it a ...minor... company? laugh


I apologise whome

Last edited by Oztack; 11/12/21 07:45 PM.

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I didn't know they had pianos in the Shire


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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
I didn't know they had pianos in the Shire

Wow you have telepathy. The place I’m planning to play this is Solvang, California, which is a whole village made in traditional European style.


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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Likely made by Melodigrand when it was a subsidiary of Aeolian.

Made in the 50s.

That makes sense. Looking them up, maybe this was an early one. The ones I see online have differences like trichords in the treble, wrapped bichords above the break, all monochords in the bass and a different plate design, but the same keyboard layout and similar stature and maybe key length (in contrast the Eavestaff mini pianos placed the fulcra right up close near the backs of the key surfaces.)

The good condition of the hammers and action had me thinking 60s or 70s but there is a piece of leather or some similar material at the right end of the action that is very degraded and suggests more the 50s as you say.


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The back of the piano, the plate, and the trap work all look earlier than 1950s to me. Are those wooden action brackets? If 5516 is the actual serial number, and if it is made by Melodigrand (Winter), that would put it made in 1951. The merger of Winter and Aeolian was in 1959.

Looking at the Pierce Piano Atlas, some other names for these short keyboard pianos by Melodigrand were Cameo, Concord and Minivox.


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Originally Posted by Eric Gloo
The back of the piano, the plate, and the trap work all look earlier than 1950s to me. Are those wooden action brackets? If 5516 is the actual serial number, and if it is made by Melodigrand (Winter), that would put it made in 1951. The merger of Winter and Aeolian was in 1959.

Looking at the Pierce Piano Atlas, some other names for these short keyboard pianos by Melodigrand were Cameo, Concord and Minivox.

Thanks for that great info. Yes, the action brackets are wood.

I just re-examined closely the case parts which are removed and there is “551” stamped/pressed into the back of the music desk piece (there is no fallboard/key cover, only a fixed part of the case with music desk lip to hold music), which I guess is a case number or some other non-serial number. Everything seems it was repainted/stained but with a somewhat transparent stain, still there is no trace of a decal or other evidence of a brand even when looking very closely at the spots it would have likely been.

(If I use it for busking I think I can embrace the early nature of it because, while on the one hand it doesn’t have a fully modern piano sound, I’m assuming the ones with trichords are heavier. The plate struts are, like everything else, miniaturized and not as thick as on a spinet.)

(I could imagine trying rescaling the bass though because the bass is really fruity and so I find myself having to use the bass mainly only to sort of support and fill in what I do with my right hand. Learning now that it is so old, it makes me think that age of the bass strings may be a factor in the fruity tone and so replacement might help.)

Last edited by charleslang; 11/13/21 02:09 PM.

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Font seems plausibly 1951 to me.

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I wondered what the label said.It is similar in shape to those "Renner action" labels.It looks like a charming little instrument, enjoy!

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I posted your photos on a private piano technicians forum, asking if anyone recognized this style of piano. Only a few responses, but the consensus is the piano looks to have been made around 1930. It could also be from Japan, based on the configuration of the pedal trap work.


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Originally Posted by charleslang
Originally Posted by cygnusdei
I didn't know they had pianos in the Shire

Wow you have telepathy. The place I’m planning to play this is Solvang, California, which is a whole village made in traditional European style.

I'm fascinated to know what the 'Traditional European style' might be. Is it like the Parthenon of Athens? The Colleseum of Rome? The reindeer-skin tents of the people of the Northern tundras? The Arc de Triomphe? The tenements of Glasgow? I think we deserve to be told.


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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
Originally Posted by charleslang
Originally Posted by cygnusdei
I didn't know they had pianos in the Shire

Wow you have telepathy. The place I’m planning to play this is Solvang, California, which is a whole village made in traditional European style.

I'm fascinated to know what the 'Traditional European style' might be. Is it like the Parthenon of Athens? The Colleseum of Rome? The reindeer-skin tents of the people of the Northern tundras? The Arc de Triomphe? The tenements of Glasgow? I think we deserve to be told.

😆. Well to be fair I did not write “the” traditional European style. And since the comment referred to “shire” I assumed a Northern European frame of mind. I’ll admit I’m not really familiar with the meaning of “shire” except for knowing it’s something to do with Britain and I had looked it up and it seems to have rural meaning and so I imagined this piano in a little historical British village, which happens to be much how Solvang looks. (Have you _been_ to California and seen the way town after town after town were all built in the early to late 20th century? I think then you’d cut me some slack when you look at Solvang 🙂).

There is actually an old Spanish mission at one end of town but you have to drive to Vegas for an Eiffel Tower I’m afraid.


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