2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
70 members (aesop, Beemer, 1957, 36251, Belma, barbaram, anotherscott, Ash Piano, BachToTheFuture, 18 invisible), 561 guests, and 545 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Restored antiques
#2792208 12/16/18 10:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
Hi everyone and Happy Holidays.

I first posted here a million years ago. I had just acquired an 1866 John C. Fox square and shortly after acquired an 1876 Decker Bros. concert grand. Both have been lovingly restored maintaining all original parts except for new strings (natch). They both play beautifully IMHO but I am an organist not a pianist so I'm sure these two instruments wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. Especially the Fox Square.
That said, I finally figured out how to post some rather fuzzy shots of them along with other instruments in my collection on the pictures forum under "My Music Room".
I have spent the last eight years researching these instruments, the builders, their origins and history. I have learned a tremendous amount but have also reached several dead ends.

I'm trying now to find the burial place of John C. Fox who moved his business from lower Manhattan to Kingston Ontario at the beginning of the Civil War. He was among the most successful of Canadian builders and was well known and celebrated until his untimely death due to a sleighing accident in 1868. He had a wife and infant son and his body was returned to the States and buried in Fort Lee N.J. I'm still trying to locate his burial site in order to trace his wife, son and descendants. He was a very "colorful" character with probable connections to both Union and Confederate sympathizers....possibly even John Wilkes Booth. He managed to continue to conduct cross-border business transactions including shipping large inventories of instruments and parts freely at a time when Canada was anticipating possible invasion by the U.S.

The Decker Bros. grand was rescued from a warehouse in Philadelphia in the 1950's and eventually was acquired by one of my early teachers in Virginia who left it to me in her Will. The piano moving company that was storing it is still in business. The piano had belonged to J.J. Lucas, owner of Lucas Paints in Philadelphia (later Sherwin Williams) . I believe the piano was ordered from Decker Bros. for exhibit at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philly but am still trying to acquire proof. The Centennial inventories listed several Decker Bros. pianos on display that won awards but no serial numbers were given. Lucas' first wife Harriet was quite famous herself having been active in organizing two international expositions as well as being very well connected in Washington and New York society as well as major European, South American and Asian cities. After bringing the piano to Canada and the restoration was completed it was featured in a concert at St. George's Cathedral in Kingston Ontario three years ago. Probably the first time in well over 100 years it was played in a public performance (if ever).

If anyone connected with this forum has any information regarding these instruments, builders or owner/families I would welcome the input as I am working on a book on their history. Both the Fox manufacturing building in Kingston and the Decker Building in New York are still standing. The building in Kingston has been restored and a mural of the building's history with a picture of my Fox Square is displayed in the lobby. The Decker building still stands in Union Square, N.Y. with private businesses on the first floor and privately owned condos and offices on the upper floors.
It was also the the site of Andy Warhol's second "Factory" where he was shot.

Serial numbers and other information available on request.

Thanks all,

Warren

Re: Restored antiques
concertdeck #2792223 12/17/18 12:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 172
L
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
L
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 172
Interesting Post.

I looked for the burial place of john C. Fox, which didn't show up. However see the following re John C. Fox Jr and surviving family.

John C. Fox, Jr
Birth: 1918
Death: 8 Oct 1995 (aged 76–77)
Burial: Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, Union County, New Jersey, USA
Plot: 47- G-11-T
Memorial #: 182120277
Bio: John C. Fox Jr., 77, retired operations manager of the Marine Department of Exxon Corporation, died Sunday, Oct. 8, 1995, in Potomac, Maryland.Born in North Plainfield, he was graduated from North Plainfield High School in 1936. In 1937, he took a job with the tanker division of what was then the Esso Corporation. He married his wife Thelma August 29, 1941.During World War II he served in the Merchant Marine before resuming his career with Esso. He became a well-known figure in shipping circles and for a time served as president of the Port Engineers Society of New York. With Exxon he took delivery of some of the world's largest super tankers.Mr. Fox was active in the Masonic Lodge in Bernardsville. He and his family also raised German Shepherds for the Morristown Seeing Eye Organization.Surviving are his wife Thelma Scribner Fox of Jacksonville; a son, John Charles Fox, III, of Basking Ridge; a daughter, Lee Fox Casey of Rockville, MD.; a sister, Janice Fox McKee of North Plainfield, and five grandchildren. A memorial service will be held a 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at the Gallaway & Crane Funeral Home, 101 South Finley Ave., Basking Ridge. Interment will be private.Contributions may be made in his memory to the Morristown Seeing Eye, Washington Valley Road, Morristown, N.J. 07960.
Family Members
Spouse
Thelma Claire Scribner Fox 1919-2000
Created by: Dave Phillips (48423126)
Added: 6 Aug 2017
URL: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/182120277/john-c_-fox
Citation: Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 16 December 2018), memorial page for John C. Fox, Jr (1918–8 Oct 1995), Find A Grave Memorial no. 182120277, citing Hillside Cemetery, Scotch Plains, Union County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Dave Phillips (contributor 48423126) .

Re: Restored antiques
concertdeck #2792450 12/17/18 04:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
Hi leel, Thanks for the quick reply. I'll look into that info.
John C. Fox's middle name was Conrad. He would have been born in NYC in the 1830'S and died in January 1868 in Kingston Ontario. His wife Mary Elizabeth Fox (they may have been estranged) apparently arranged for the body to be transferred back to NYC for burial at the last minute as a huge funeral and burial arrangements had already been made in Kingston.
The Hall of Records in Manhattan does have him listed on the "Bodies in Transit" roster but only verifies that the body did arrive in NY, attended by an Undertaker in Manhattan then transferred to Fort Lee N.J. for burial. Dead end.
The infant son (who was unamed in the Estate records in Kingston would have likely been born in late 1867. Mary Elizabeth arrived in Kingston with the baby to contest the Estate and to declare herself and the child his rightful heirs. She won and was granted as Executrix of the remaining assets which were minimal by that time. I assume she returned afterwards to NY or NJ with the child.
Thanks again!
W.

Re: Restored antiques
concertdeck #3032106 10/04/20 07:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,591
D
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,591
As a lover of antique instruments myself, and particularly of squares, I find this all very interesting. I missed this thread when it was new, and was alerted to it by your posting pictures in the Photo Gallery. I hope you don't mind if I pull in your picture of the Fox square here.

[Linked Image]

Re: Restored antiques
David-G #3032111 10/04/20 07:20 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
Not at all! Feel free! I hope to have some better pics up soon. Thanks for replying! Best, Warren

Re: Restored antiques
concertdeck #3032112 10/04/20 07:23 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,278
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Offline
Silver Subscriber
7000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 7,278
What a gorgeous room full of wonderful instruments ❤️
Just think of the wonderful stories they could tell if they could only talk. I have daydreamed about all those who have played my vintage piano before me... I would love to hear their stories


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Restored antiques
David-G #3032120 10/04/20 07:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 6,217
L
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 6,217
Originally Posted by David-G
As a lover of antique instruments myself, and particularly of squares, I find this all very interesting. I missed this thread when it was new, and was alerted to it by your posting pictures in the Photo Gallery. I hope you don't mind if I pull in your picture of the Fox square here.

[Linked Image]
Yes beautiful room and instruments !

Re: Restored antiques
dogperson #3032153 10/04/20 10:19 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
Thank you!
I suppose I could be diagnosed as excessive/ compulsive.😂
I'm still trying to find info on Mary Elizabeth Fox and her son who was an infant when his father died in Kingston Ontario.
Any info appreciated! More photos coming!

Re: Restored antiques
concertdeck #3032297 10/05/20 10:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 199
E
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
E
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 199
https://hiddencityphila.org/2017/12...f-phillys-paint-king-and-his-irish-lass/

I ran across this bit of scandal when researching Victorian paint colors. John Lucas & Co. were bought by Sherwin-Williams during the Great Depression of the 1930's, but were a competitor of theirs for many years.
You probably know that Decker and Bros. and Decker and Sons were different companies.

Re: Restored antiques
edferris #3032361 10/05/20 02:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
C
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
C
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 43
Yes I'm aware. The Decker Building still stands in Union Square in Manhattan. Coincidentally, it was the second location of Andy Warhol's "factory" and where he was shot. Still researching information on my D. Bros. grand e.g., why and when it wound up in a storage warehouse in Philly where it was found in the 1950s (two owners ago). Also whether it was "commissioned" or custom built for the 1876 Centennial Exposition (like the Steinway "Centennial" model Ds).
The Lucas family (especially John and wife Harriet) were pillars of Philly "Society" and actively involved in the planning of the Expo.


Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
100,000!
---------------------
NEW! Sell Your Piano on our world famous Piano Forums!
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Do you normally ask dealer to tune piano?
by tony3304 - 01/18/21 07:25 AM
iPad pro (2020) MIDI Output not consistent
by Almar - 01/18/21 05:33 AM
used Kawai RX-1 or new Kawai GL-30?
by Guido, Roma - Italy - 01/18/21 05:23 AM
Roland F701 vs FP-90X (?)
by Mulberg - 01/18/21 02:17 AM
Garritan CFX, Sustain Release Samples ???
by DigitalMusicProduc - 01/17/21 11:18 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics204,352
Posts3,048,304
Members100,102
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4