Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/History of Kinzie Piano


Hello,  I was wondering what you might know about my grandmother's piano. We brought it to our home from her Chicago residence. I believe it was probably made in the early 1900's. It still has the emblem that says Kinzie  Chicago and the umber is 8485.

I looked, but cannot find information on this model.  It still has the leather ties connected to the hammers.

Thank you.


I noted that you have already received a response to your question.

I agree with the previous response:  Your Kinzie Chicago piano 8485 was probably built by a "ghost" factory, sold to a retailer in Chicago, and stamped with their name.

I did not find any information about a Kinsie retailer or a manufacturer in Chicago.  Perhaps you can remove all of the front panels above and below the keyboard to find other numbers or names.

The American piano industry in the early twentieth century was complex and grew to meet the rapid increase in the market, so your "Kinsie" reflects that complexity.

You might even find some small treasures under the keys, such as the 1935 quarter I found in my Adam Schaaf upright 41,662 when I took it apart to clean and recondition it.

Enjoy it as a family heirloom, a relic of American history, an art object, and whatever musical experience it allows.  Search the Internet and Youtube for tutorials about how an amateur can recondition her piano.

I treasure my two Adam Schaaf uprights for all those reasons.

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Robert James Seeley


I enjoy historical research at the site: mbsi.org for articles in the Music Trade Review, 1880 forward, supplemented by other on-line searches.


After several months of research, I have compiled a multi-chapter history of the Adam Schaaf piano ( mine is No. 58,265) back to the 1860s. In the last week I have compiled a 6-page brochure for the owner of a Compton-Price/Boston Piano Co. upright (No.13,630). I can provide samples of my desk-top publishing skills from these documents, and I would like to share them in entirety with anyone interested. The visual impact of research is important. I am passionate about giving these surviving, obscure instruments the respect they deserve, as well as the people who made them. My piano technician encourages me to submit them to the Piano Technicians Guild in Kansas City.

DMA, Doctorate in Musical Arts, 1980, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; MM, 1969; BM, 1967; both from North Texas State University. I have spent the first full year of my retirement from 44 years of college teaching (Music, English, German) on these and other on-line research projects.

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