Piano, Organ, and Keyboard/Piano history/information


Hi Ralph! Two great omens 1. My husband has the same name 2. You are still active on this forum.

Here is my problem: I have a beautifully old circa 1920's Gabriel upright cabinet serial # on plate is 94877 Ludden and Bates and then the trail runs cold. It is a standard piece without the ornate Victorian artisan style.  Do you have any additional information you can share about this particular piece? From my research Ludden and Bates Company had a main office in Atlanta, Georgia and branches in Savannah (where we live) and Macon. It was established in 1870. The technicians that I have talked to so far gained more information than gave so I am hoping that you would be able to help me learn more about our piano. Thanks in advance!

Cheryl and Ralph

Hi Cheryl:

We find ourselves in the land of "probably".

Gabriel was "probably" a model name and not a manufacturer.

Ludden and Bates was based in Savannah Georgia, however they"probably" stopped making pianos before the 1900's, after which the "Ludden & Bates" line was manufactured by either Mathushek in Neww York, or Story & Clark which had factories around the Illinois area.

OK...back to "probably"...your serial number, if we follow the Mathushek trail puts your manufacturing date around 1940, and if we follow the Story & Clark avenue it puts your manufacturing date at 1922 which is the date I am more inclined to believe, due to the nature of the furniture.

When Manufactures have a trail that goes cold, and is picked up by someone else, it usually means the original name was purchased and pianos, and "probably" not the original design were made elsewhere and sold as the original in the area from which they originally hail.

Back to the land of "probably". So...you piano is "probably" the result of a Story and Clark effort and not the original Ludden & Bates.

And sometimes, after a "take over" of that nature, pianos continued to be made in the same plant only owned by the new manufacturer using the original factory and workers.

Since the original numbers seem to stop in the late 1800's, I am leaning toward your piano being made by Story & Clark in Michigan or Illinois then shipped point south.

Have you gone to your historical society to pick up the "trail". Many times, local historical societies have records of companies openings and closings. Let's keep going!

OK...I hope I "probably" helped!

Tell your husband I said, "Happy Father's Day"! and here's hoping that one of his ancestors "probably" had a hand in making your piano!

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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


In business since 1964, Extensive Rebuilding/Repair/Service facility. A certified, tested, member of the Piano Technicians Guild, Member of the Technical Advisory Service to Attorneys. Have performed piano service on Concert Stage, Recording Studios, and in the home. Http://www.onestipiano.com. The shop's work comes from all over the world from private clients or other techncians.

The Piano Technicians Guild, Master Piano Technicians of America, Technical Advisory Service to Attorneys. (TASA), IAPBT. The Piano Technicians Guild is the only organization in the US that offers a certification test to become Registered. There are no "factory authorized techncians".

The Piano Technicians Journal

Attented Temple University, Drexel University, Philadelphia Community college all in the areas of engineering and Music. I taught a two semester course in Piano Technology and the related acoustical physics at Temple University. I have taught extensively for the Piano Technicians Guild and the Master Piano Technicians of America.

Awards and Honors
Service Award for the Rose Tree Media School District in Pennsylvania. Chapter Award from the Philadelphia Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild.

Past/Present Clients
The list is rather extensive. I would suggest you go http://onestipiano.com/pages/testimonials.html where there is a comprehensive list of clients past and present.

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