Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vintage A & S Nordheimer Upright

 The brand name Nordheimer is the oldest and longest lasting in the music industry in Canada. In June of 1844 brothers Samuel and Abraham Nordheimer opened a small business in Toronto, Canada offering music books, square pianofortes, and sewing supplies. To begin with, the Nordheimer brothers were agents for Broadwood, Stodart, and Chickering pianos. The firm did not actually enter the piano manufacturing business until 1886.

By that time, Abraham Nordheimer had passed, and Samuel and Albert (Abraham’s son) decided to enter into piano manufacturing with Gerhard Heintzman and formed the Lansdowne Piano Co. 

Tom Mason, Vincent Risch, (Mason & Risch Piano Co.)and Octavius Newcombe( Newcombe Piano Co.) were also partnered with this venture each having his own name stencilled on the pianos that came down the Lansdowne production lines.

This company was short lived and lasted only five years before each of the partners opted to have their own manufacturing firms.

The Nordheimers built their own factory in east Toronto and began turning out one of the finer pianos built in Canada. As a manufacturer of grand’s, uprights, and players, Nordheimer produced 12, 000 instruments before Samuel died in 1912. In 1927 when Albert retired, Heintzman & Co purchased the assets of the company and ran the brand name until the mid 60’s.

To find an A & S Nordheimer today is a rare thing because this was such an early company.  I came across this piano about five years ago when the owner contacted me to inspect the instrument for restoration purposes. This piano was purchased new by her grandmother, eventually finding its way to my client. This is also a rare thing; to find a piano more than one hundred years old and still in the original owners family.

Because this piano was a rare vintage piece in outstanding condition for its age, I encouraged the owner to complete minimally invasive restoration. By this I mean to fix only what had deteriorated due to age.

The tuning pin torque had dropped to unacceptable levels so the piano was restrung in the bass and treble with new tuning pins. All felt work in the keyboard was replaced. The action was reconditioned, and a decision was made to retain the original hammer set to be replaced at a later date.

The cabinet was left in original condition because it was in such good shape. Here is a photo album of the piano.