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Dominion Grand identification (Read 416 times)

Offline dominiongrand

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Dominion Grand identification
« on: April 09, 2020, 07:40:20 PM »
Hi all,
Looking for some advice about a Dominion Grand upright I've had for years but fell in love with after moving it out of my back porch into the living room.
I had to remove the key desk/key bed and the action to get it out of a room it had been sealed into (the doorway was too narrow to get it out otherwise) and was able to carefully glue and refasten the desk back in place with no fitment issues. So now that it's back together and operational again, I took the action out and am starting to look at the mechanical issues and how I can get it fully playable again. Firstly, I'd like to get some idea of what exactly I have.
Unlike most Dominion pianos I've found in online searching, this one is marked as a "Dominion Grand" on the nameboard. With a serial number of 5685, it seems to be pre-1890 (according to the 6500 number of 1890 I've found in general searches). The action is marked "Schwander" on the bead rail with a serial number of 307891, the Paris address of the "Herrburger-Schwander" factory across four of the sticker flanges, and the name "john/son" in pencil crossed out and the name "Perie" in pen beside it.
The original hammers appear to be mahogany with no underfelt, and a few have been replaced. The hammer butts unlike regular upright butts have return springs that act on silk cord attached to the flanges, and several butt assemblies have been replaced with standard butts while about 20 of the original butts have broken return springs. One of the dampers (the topmost) is missing, and of course just about everything is slightly out of adjustment and could definitely stand some new felt here and there. The dowel blocks are different from just about every replacement block I can find online; the damper rod goes into a separate steel bushing that screws into the dowel rather than through the dowel itself. One is lost, so I'm not sure how I'll replace it without bending a 90 into the damper rod. Also one of the keys is cracked in the button area, but it looks like most of the crack will be wiped out with a new button, so I'm pretty confident I can go through it mechanically and get it to good playable condition.
I guess what I'd like to know is, the build year (I was told 1885 by the house's previous owner), the difference between a regular Dominion and the Dominion Grand (I'm guessing just the cabinet ornamentation) and if the Grand has particular value beyond that of a regular Grand. I'm already interested in reworking the action, keys and regulation just for the experience, but if this model is more worthy of my time I can justify getting a little more carried away with it.
If someone wants to chime in with their experience sourcing parts and can guide me toward certain suppliers/manufacturers and away from others, that would also be greatly appreciated. I'm estimating my cost of materials for perished felts and action parts at between $4-500USD not including any hammer rework or service tools, if I have to replace the butts and Schwander butts price comparably with standard. Thanks!

Offline silverwoodpianos

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Re: Dominion Grand identification
«Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 03:02:02 PM »
Dominion Piano & Organ Co. Est 1870 as Oshawa Organ and Melodeon Co.

Relocation to Bowmanville 1873. Began piano manufacture 1879. About 300 units annually.

The grand designation on old uprights refers to the fact that these are large uprights with a scale as long as a 5ft. grand piano. Thus the cabinet grand or upright grand or whatever the claim is. Mostly a sales point in the early days.

if you are in Canada parts and supplies can be found at Pianophile Inc. located in Montreal. they have a retail catologue found here.

Most of the other suppliers are for wholesale trade.

Schwander action is fine and I wouldn't replace the butts unless required. The springs might be getting weak at this point in time and if you want can be replaced.

Single wrapped hammer set is most likely Weikert felt over mahogany moldings.

Mahogany and walnut moldings are lighter than hornbeam or other cores used. Depending upon use they might be reshaped and voiced or if worn significantly then replaced.

Vintage uprights are all of low financial value today. nothing special just another older tall upright.
They have great tone quality and cabinet features. Good luck with the project.

Dan Silverwood

If you think it's is expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.