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1936 Mason & Hamlin
#2764234 09/08/18 05:06 PM
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Seller says it's made in Boston, Internet sources say East Rochester. Would this be an Aeolian or mostly M&H? It plays well and apparently has never been rebuilt.

Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764237 09/08/18 05:09 PM
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1936 is Rochester. Which model?


Keith D Kerman
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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764242 09/08/18 05:29 PM
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AA

Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764258 09/08/18 07:28 PM
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So there is some 'stretching of the Golden Years' by restorers and private sellers of M&H grands all wanting to cling to the years when the family was in control before the Aeolian takeover and the diluting of the product and the subsequent leaner years. There is fluidity from the sale of inventory and equipment in 1929, to sale of buildings in 1930 and change of manufacturing location MA to Rochester in 1932, there certainly is evidence of some partially finished instruments being transferred to Rochester and also some cabinets, and plates included in the sale, and I'm sure as part of inventory many keyframes and actions. Years 1931-1933 only produced 400 pianos in all models, I would think by 1936 all Boston area inventory included in the sale would have been utilized , so yes its an Aeolian.


Head Piano Technician and Restorer at Boston University School of Music 1986-2019 . Now relocated to Burlington Vermont, check www.snowpianos.com 617 543 1030.
Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764261 09/08/18 08:14 PM
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Seems like the family started losing control of M&H in the "early" 20th century. The American Piano Company, which purchased M&H in 1924 was based in Rochester, but M&H pianos continued to be built in Boston until the Aeolian takeover.

From Wikipedia......

"The Cable Company, a Chicago piano manufacturing company, owned an interest in Mason & Hamlin from 1904 to 1924, when it was sold to the American Piano Company. Mason & Hamlin's role in this company was later described as the "artist's"' brand among the firm's premier lines which included Chickering and Sons ("family use") and Wm. Knabe & Co. ("Metropolitan Opera's favorite"). American's sales began to decline in 1928, and following its collapse in the wake of the stock market collapse in late 1929, Mason & Hamlin's trademark, inventory and equipment were sold to American's competitor Aeolian for $450,000 while the factory buildings were sold off separately by the end of the following year. In 1932 it became part of Aeolian-American when the two companies merged, which consolidated the control of more than twenty brands of pianos; Mason & Hamlin, which had been at the former Hallet, Davis & Company piano factory in Neponset, Massachusetts, was moved to a separate plant at the Aeolian-American complex in East Rochester, New York at this time."

Even during the Aeolian era, the plates on M&H grands (as far as I can tell) say "Mason and Hamlin - Boston." That is still the case today - even though the Haverhill plant in 40 miles from Boston. smile


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764264 09/08/18 09:16 PM
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1936 AA is a two bridge design I believe. It is a very nice piano. Rebuilt properly it can be a wonderful instrument.


Keith D Kerman
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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764273 09/09/18 12:48 AM
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I think the families were out of control about the time that Mason & Hamlin began making pianos in the 1880s.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
BDB #2764277 09/09/18 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I think the families were out of control about the time that Mason & Hamlin began making pianos in the 1880s.
I'm sure you are correct. Henry Mason died in 1890 at age 59. Can't find any dates for Emmons Hamlin, but I believe he was older and died around the same time. Richard Gertz joined the company in 1895 and seems to have been at the helm ten years later.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
Carey #2764280 09/09/18 02:08 AM
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I think Hamlin died in 1883.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764294 09/09/18 05:46 AM
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All that said, Aeolian built some beautiful pianos for years. I have rebuilt AA's from that period and they turn out to be really beautiful pianos.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764329 09/09/18 10:11 AM
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Thank you, Rich! (from a former M&H dealer) Nice to hear something positive being said about Aeolian for a change! Many beautiful pianos did come out of East Rochester.
Glad to hear that you and our son Eric have connected. I hope he can get down to visit Cunningham Piano!


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764332 09/09/18 10:32 AM
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I had a client, (now deceased), who bought a new mahogany M&H AA in the late 1940's. It was beautiful. Even had varnish finish and it was still smooth and glossy in the early 1990's.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
Keith D Kerman #2764344 09/09/18 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
1936 AA is a two bridge design I believe. It is a very nice piano. Rebuilt properly it can be a wonderful instrument.

Either two bridge or the Y-shaped bridge. I do not know when they made the changes.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
edferris #2764357 09/09/18 01:10 PM
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We did a '36 AA once. It was clear that the downward spiral had already begun. The action parts were roughly and poorly made; fuzzy edges, and action centers out of true. The pinblock was no longer doweled into the stretcher. And, oddest of all, the gap at the edge of the soundboard was filled with black wax. It was a basically sound instrument and after correction it was fine. Still, the corner cutting had begun early. Rochester pianos were some of the better constructed pianos of their time, but the distinction between Rochester Masons and Boston Masons is real.


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Re: 1936 Mason & Hamlin
Craig Hair #2764360 09/09/18 01:18 PM
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Mason & Hamlin has always had a gap at the soundboard edge that is filled with beeswax. I think they do this to reduce the chance the edge of the board will catch and be torn or popped loose when they are mating the inner rim to outer. This is done after the belly is finished.


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