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Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390

Posted By: mom2b

Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 03:55 AM


I've come across this piano for sale, but I'm wondering if I should go ahead with it. I can't seem to get any information on it via the internet. If anyone can help me find the age, the maker, the price range, I'd be very grateful. Thank you for your time and help.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 04:27 AM

Currently Hoffmann is owned by the Bechstein group. However this was not always the case.

You can call virtually any piano dealer and ask them to check their piano atlas for the serial number to determine it's age. If the serial number is not in the atlas ask the dealer if the atlas is fairly current (just to be sure). If it is, then the piano is probably quite new.
Posted By: Larry

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 04:42 AM

Hello Mom2b,

Please ignore Steven's post. He has absolutely no knowledge of the piano business, and the information in his post is totally useless, which is normal for him. There have been numerous companies named Hoffman around the world over the years. Bechstein has never and does not now own Hoffmann. They own W. Hoffmann. Also, the last time I checked, Chicago isn't in Germany, so you see my point about Steven's "help".

Now, to the facts: There were 4 different Hoffman companies in Chicago over the years. Without a serial number, no one can really tell you who made it - and even *with* a serial number we may not be able to tell you much.

I *can* tell you that the largest of the Chicago Hoffman companies operated from 1904 - 1913. What you have is an old upright. Regardless of which company made it however, the following information will apply - it is old, but it has no antique value. Most pianos like yours won't bring much over a hundred or two dollars. The reality of time and wear means your piano, though it may play at some level right now, won't do so much longer without a major and expensive rebuild. This could cost you anywhere from 7-10K, and your piano would only be worth around 2K or less when you finished the work.

If you already own this piano, unless it has such sentimental value that cost is not important, don't spend any money on it. If you're looking to buy it, don't. If you're just wanting information, that's about all there is. There were literally hundreds of piano factories during that era, most building mediocre instruments, most never becoming much more than a small, local nondescript maker who came and went without much fanfare. Such is the case with all 4 of the Chicago Hoffman companies.

Hope that helps you.

PS: After posting, I noticed you had in fact given a serial number, so I went back and checked for it. Three of the Chicago Hoffmans have no records available regarding serial numbers. The one company that *did* keep records of their serial numbers won't match up to your number - your's is one digit longer than any of their numbers. So it would be one of the other three - but when, no one knows.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 04:47 AM

Larry, go hijack the old thread.

Mom2b, the name Hoffmann...with two "nn"s at the end is most likely the one made under the Bechstein group. I also said, in my original post that this is not always the case. As I said, a simple check with a dealer's piano atlas should tell. smile
Posted By: Larry

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 04:56 AM

She just *got* the information from a dealer's atlas, Steven. Bechstein didn't become connected with W. Hoffmann until after the fall of the Berlin wall. Chicago is not in Germany. Your information is worse than useless, because it is misleading. I have given the lady the information she needs. If any other dealers or techs want to add to this information, they are qualified to do so. You are not, so stick to doing the only thing you know how to do, which is be a pest.

Sorry Mom2b - ignore him. He has no earthly idea about anything to do with the piano business, and many of us here wonder how he gets his shoes on. Sorry for the distraction he's causing.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 05:01 AM

Posted by Larry:
"She just *got* the information from a dealer's atlas, Steven. Bechstein didn't become connected with W. Hoffmann until after the fall of the Berlin wall."

My information is useless huh? Well let's see.

You couldn't tell her the age of it...which was her primary question. And you are hijacking this thread. Now in this thread I will let you have the last response, as I do not want to have this turn into another one of Larry's self indulgent trolling attempts.
Posted By: Larry

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 05:06 AM

Steven, would you kindly explain to us how answering the woman's question is hijacking a thread? Are you of the opinion that once you've said something that any challenge to your post is hijacking?

The reason I couldn't tell her the age of her piano is the same reason no one *else* will be able to tell her its age - of the 4 Hoffmann factories in Chicago, only one kept records of serial numbers, and her number will not correspond to any of their numbers.

This thread is a prime example of why you need to be banned from this website all the way around. You do nothing but harm, and you don't even care. Either that, or you are dumber than *any* of us thought you were - if that is possible.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 05:15 AM

The Piano Atlas lists about 15 different piano makers named Hoffman, one of which was in Chicago. There is no other information about that name. It may only be a name, as often pianos were made by unknown manufacturers who put a dealer's name on them.

Even if there were more information about the manufacturer, this is undoubtedly an old upright, for which information would be less useful than the opinion of a knowledgable technician who has seen it.

You would be well advised to learn a bit more about pianos before committing yourself to this one. Old uprights can be bought cheaply ore even picked up for free at any time, so there is no urgency to buy this one. Whether they are worth it or they are white elephants is a question of condition, and unless you really know enough about pianos, you need expert help to determine the condition.

You might want to read The Piano Book to get some background before proceeding further. I also recommend trying new pianos, to get an idea of what a piano should sound and play like.

I would also like to apologize for the extraneous goings-on from others in this topic. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the Internet. Most of us aren't like that.
Posted By: Larry

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 05:22 AM

I think if you look again you'll find there were 3 different Hoffmann companies in Chicago. And I hope you realize I was trying to correct the misinformation given by the resident troll.
Posted By: mom2b

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 04:02 PM


Thank you for your information. What I also found out from searching the web is that the maker was Smith Barnes & Strohber, Chicago. The name on the piano lid was Hoffmann. How I got this information is by comparing a picture of another piano (1908) on sale with similar cosmetic features, Hoffmann on the lid, and the above maker in Chicago. Do you think this information has any validity in it?

Thank you for all your time and help.
Posted By: Larry

Re: Hoffmann Chicago upright #80390 - 11/14/03 06:24 PM

Hi, Mom2b,

Yes, that makes sense. That was one of the Chicago companies that used the name Hoffmann. But the advice still is the same - this is not a piano worth putting any money in.
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