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#1158707 - 03/06/09 07:38 PM An interesting experience
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1314
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I got a call today to tune a piano at the public library in South Haven Michigan. It's an Everett upright in quite good condition. It looks almost new inside and out with no rust or major problems.

When I removed the music desk and lower panel I noticed that there were lots of signatures on them. As I read them closer it turned out that this was the very last Everett produced at the South Haven plant in 1986. The signatures were by the employees who produced it, even some of the Japanese employees who added text in Japanese Characters (none of us could read them). The serial number is 300000. I don't know if it was the 300000th piano or just a nice round number. There is also a large brass plaque on the side of it. They apparently donated it either to the library or city hall, I'm still trying to find that out.

It has not been used much but has not been maintained, the pitch was about a tone low and there are a couple dampers missing and 1 or 2 notes with some action pieces unglued. Probably as a result of dry air for the last 20 years.

I was able to bring it up to pitch and I will be able to fix the minor problems at a later date. The library closed before I could finish.

They were not aware of the historicity of the piano but they were all excited about it. I think I have them convinced to maintain it from now on.

I'm thinking a DamppChaser and a piano cover.

Fascinating and I am not charging for the tuning and repairs.
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#1158721 - 03/06/09 07:57 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: Roger Ransom]
RPD Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 961
Loc: Kalamazoo Michigan
I LOVE it! What a great account of that part of History. I was saddened when the old Everett factory was torn down a few years ago...it was one of Michigan's rich piano heritage buildings!

MPT(Master Piano Technicians of America)
Member AMICA (Automated Musical Instruments Collector's Association)
(Subscriber PTG Journal)
DEALER Hailun Pianos

#1158772 - 03/06/09 09:19 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: RPD]
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
That is VERY cool. What a find.

#1158811 - 03/06/09 10:46 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: Sam Casey]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Get a few pictures of those details when you see the piano next. It surely is an "End of an Era" piano.
Jurgen Goering
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#1158812 - 03/06/09 10:54 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: Supply]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
What a great story Roger! Thanks for sharing that! I toured that piano factory many times over the years with my dad and others. Story & Clark too. I was sad when they both closed their doors.
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We love to play BF2.

#1158910 - 03/07/09 05:49 AM Re: An interesting experience [Re: Jerry Groot RPT]
rysowers Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 3165
Loc: Olympia, WA
Very cool Story!! I've always liked Everett pianos. I'm surprised that Yamaha hasn't continued using that name on a line of pianos, since it was so reputable.

I too am waiting for the pictures!
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA

#1163732 - 03/16/09 06:17 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: rysowers]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1314
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
As promised, I tried to take some pictures of some of the details of 'The last Everett'. At this resolution you cannot see much of the signatures but I don't want the pictures too big.

South Haven City gave the piano to South Haven Memorial Library. They have contacted the local historical society to see if they will help buy a Dampp Chaser and help with maintenance. The library plans to have more local music programs for kids and will use the piano in those programs. The lady in charge of this is a piano teacher for beginning students and she and her sons play various kinds of harps so the program appears to be in the hands of a musician and music lover who also loves kids.

This all makes me happy, we'll see how it goes.

As you can see, the bench was never unpacked and has the original packing material in it along with the owners manual, warranty and an envelope with key cover keys and an allen wrench to remove the top cover

The music desk covered with signatures

A statement that this is the last production piano at this plant

The innards showing almost no wear or rust.

The lower panel covered with signatures

The plaque presenting the piano to South Haven City Hall. They have since given it to the library.

Showing the serial number.

showing the model number
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#1163753 - 03/16/09 07:17 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: Roger Ransom]
TsonicTsunami Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 39
Loc: Melbourne Village FL.
Wow .... That's really cool. It must have been a sad day for all the folks who worked there. Great find!
Pianoforte Neophyte

#1163832 - 03/16/09 09:25 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: TsonicTsunami]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1930
Loc: El Cajon, CA
That's quite an interesting find, Roger. smile

A few months ago I found Baldwin Hamilton #160,000 listed locally on Craigslist. It was a little over my budget, though, and I didn't go look at it.

Speaking of lasts and firsts... I wonder if anyone knows the details / status on the first and last of each Baldwin Hamilton upright before/after various design changes, including the exact serial number? For example:

First studio upright produced (I saw one a while back on ebay with a serial number that dated it to 1938 (not the 1939 mentioned in literature on the school pianos)
Last one produced in the USA (I understand they're not making them here anymore frown )

first of (and last of the design the consecutive serial number prior):
piano with full-width music desk (Closest I can guess is year 1950)
changing "A Product of Baldwin" to "Built by Baldwin" (closest guess = 1951)
moving the serial # from above the treble break to between the bass/tenor break (guess early/mid 1950s)
changing from the original 242 scale to the 243 scale with the 2 bichords in the tenor (1956)
changing the cabinet from the "normal" type to the propstick type (1961)
changing "Hamilton" in the center of the fallboard to "Baldwin" (mid/late 1960s)
adding two more bichords in the tenor (for a total of 4) (~1986-1988)
moving the serial # from between the bass-tenor break to a plaque on the left side of the piano (no idea)
changing the curve on the cabinet sides by the keyboard (early/mid 1990s)
changing the cabinet back from propstick type to normal type (late 90s / early 00s)
and any other design changes I missed/skipped
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

#1163843 - 03/16/09 09:55 PM Re: An interesting experience [Re: 88Key_PianoPlayer]
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 1645
Great story, Roger. I was really sad about the closing of Everett. What a cool piece of history!

I bought a new one just like this (oak finish, though) from the dealer I worked for a couple of years before they closed up shop, and I loved it.

Ryan, I think Baldwin bought the name and manufactured some really cheesy pianos with Everett stenciled on them.

I think that Everett was the last of the good quality, reasonably priced American manufactured pianos.
Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA


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