Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/Grinnel Piano


Grinnel Bros. piano
Grinnel Bros. piano  
QUESTION: I have a Grinnell Bros. piano.  It's serial number is 71344.  What can you tell me about this piano?  Specifically, I am interested to find out when it was made, where it was made, what kind of wood was used, if the keys would be real ivory or not, or anything else you could tell me about it.

Thank you so much for your help.

ANSWER: Hi Joyce:

The piano was made in the mid 1960's in Michigan. Some of the Grinnel pianos were made across the lake in Canada.

By then, I'm guessing the keys were plastic. Ivory keys are put on in three pieces: the top, the tail (the part that goes between the sharps) and the fronts. Ivory has a decided "grain" to it as it was animal bone.

Ivory lends nothing to the value of a piano and was a terrible covering for keys. Today, on the best an most expensive pianos, a high quality plastic is the choice.

All of these pianos were made of a core wood, usually poplar which is very stable, then covered in a veneer of decorative and very thin wood.

I can't tell from the picture, but the piano itself may be covered in Mahogany veneer.

From the looks of the piano, it may be a console rather than a spinet (drop action) but it's borderline. I could verify that with a picture of the keys (interior) and the action (all the moving parts inside).

I hope that helps!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Grinnell Bros. piano closeup
Grinnell Bros. piano c  
QUESTION: Thanks, that was very helpful.  

The piano is 40" tall.  As you implied and my own research has shown, that kind of puts it in the spinet or console range, but I think it is a console as the hammers are above the level of the keys.  Would you concur?

I have included another closeup photo to see if that helps you with the kind of wood it is made of.  It is quite beautiful.

I would also agree about the keys being plastic as I think ivory became illegal after the 50s and you say this piano was probably made in the mid 60s.

Thanks again for your help.  It is nice to know a little about the instrument.

Hi Joyce:

At 40", it is likely to be a console. However, it's not the hammers that need to be above the keys, it's the entire action. If you look in and see the keys disappear under the action, it's a console. If the keys stop short of the action and there is a mechanism that goes below the action to pull up on the bottom...it's a spinet.

Looks like it may be stained walnut.

Some factories had left over ivory after the moratorium and used it anyway. However, I'm thinking if you don't see a "grain" pattern, it's probably plastic. For a while, factories were using "ivorine", which was plastic made to look like ivory...that went away quickly.

You are so welcome...I hope all this helped!

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Ralph Onesti


I am a Registered/tested member of the Piano Technicians Guild (RPT) with 49 years of experience in all phases and levels of the acoustic piano. I will answer any questions regarding acoustic pianos only. All questions and answers are to remain public. Please to not include sensitive material! If they are marked private, I will change them to public. My answers may be of assistance to others. If privacy is an issue, please contact me through my web site: http://www.onestipiano.com Electronic keyboards, organs, and player/reproducing piano mechanisms are outside of my expertise. Anything to do with: Construction, Service, Tuning, Climate Control Systems, Piano Disc, Purchasing, Selling, Insurance Appraisal, Rebuilding, Repairs, Legal issues, Maintenance, Environmental issues, Finish issues with acoustic pianos. My full resume can be found at: http://onestipiano.com/pages/history.html You can like us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/onestipianoservice


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