YOUR CORRESPONDENCE INFORMATIONYour NameYour Email Address PAYMENT INFORMATION MASTER CARD AND VISA ONLY Master Card or VisaMaster Card or Visa onlyCredit Card Number0000 0000 0000 0000 Expiration Date mm yy Your Telephone NumberPlease list a phone number and area code in case we have questions about your piano.
Pianos also have other numbers printed on them such as part numbers and many other pianos do not have a serial number at all. Many pianos will have a 4, 5 or 6 digit serial number to identify the age of the piano. Using this number, along with the manufacturer, the age of the piano can sometimes be determined. The areas to look for these numbers vary from each company but here are some common places to look along with some photos.
3. Grand piano serial numbers are placed in many areas as the photos show. There are seven examples but your serial number placement could be in yet a different location and may require some searching.
2) Similar to a console, a spinet is another favorite for affordable, smaller pianos for the home. One such piano, a Satin Walnut Cable Spinet, is selling for a similar price to the Upright above, at $2,500. According to the serial number listed and serial number lookup service, the piano was probably manufactured around 1972.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the company proclaimed itself "the world's greatest manufacturer of pianos, inner player pianos, and organs". It was for decades indubitably one of the largest. Trade publications of the day called it "the largest reed organ house in the world, and the largest wholesaler in the world of medium-grade pianos" (1895); "the largest piano and organ makers in the world" (1904); and "one of the 'great leaders' in the trade" (1922). Its premium Conover line of pianos was noted as belonging to "the highest grade manufactured".
The decline of the piano market in the late 1920s followed by the Great Depression forced The Cable Company to merge with another northern-Illinois piano maker in 1936, becoming The Schiller Cable Manufacturing Company. In 1950, the merged company was subsumed into the Aeolian Company, which closed in 1984.
Wolfinger sold his interest in the company to G.K. Barnes, who would himself divest in 1889. Cable became president after he and Tewksbury bought Wise out. Cable also brought his brothers Fayette S. Cable (b. March 18, 1855, in Cannonsville, New York, d. February 22, 1920, in Hinsdale, Illinois) and Hobart M. Cable into the business, though both continued to make pianos under their own names.
In 1891, Herman Cable made an acquisition that would help vault his company into the first rank of American piano manufacturers, and enable it to offer some of the finest pianos made. He bought the Conover Piano Company and hired its owner and main designer, J. Frank Conover (b. 1843 in Mount Morris, New York; d. May 20, 1919). A serious student of music and acoustics from a young age, Conover had produced his first piano in 1875 and four years later opened a store with his brother George in Kansas City. He subsequently opened a piano store in St. Louis, where one fine day, he sold five Steinway grands and two Steinway uprights. In 1881, he sold both stores and began to design pianos in New York City. His pianos, made with several improvements that he earned patents for, were soon renowned for their fine quality and unusually good tone. But the firm struggled, and Conover was persuaded to sell the business to Cable and sign on as its director of piano manufacturing. He would remain with the company until his death in 1919.
Ten years into its independent existence, Herman Cable's company was riding a boom that would later be called the Golden Age of the Piano. As household income rose in the years before radio, recorded music, and automobiles became widely available, households and organizations alike purchased pianos and reed organs in prodigious amounts. In 1889, Chicago manufacturers produced some 6,760 pianos; in 1891, 10,900; and in 1892, 13,600. (The country's total estimated production in 1892 was 100,000 pianos, most made by manufacturers in and around New York City and Boston.) The city's production of reed organs was even higher: 46,000 in 1889, 49,300 in 1890, and 55,000 in 1892. Many of them were made by Chicago Cottage Organ Company, which in 1892 produced one-fifth of all U.S.-made reed organs.
By 1895, the company had built and shipped some 150,000 organs. A catalog issued during this period advertised 25 models of reed organ. On May 1, the company opened a new factory for Conover pianos next to the Paulina Street organ factory; it was soon producing 2,000 pianos annually. It also expanded into several floors of the Ayer Building (built in 1890 or 1893 as the A. H. Andrews Building) at 215-221 (S.) Wabash Ave. in Chicago. The seven-story building was leased by the Conover Piano Company, which occupied half of the bottom floor while Chicago Cottage Organ Co. used the second floor. (The building would be destroyed on March 16, 1898, in a deadly fire that injured a Conover employee. The company moved down the street to 258 and 260 Wabash.)
Around this time, the company hired Justin Percival Sjoberg to run its Kingsbury production line, which he did for eight years before leaving to found a piano-parts making company. Sjoberg went on to found another company that focused on coin-operated and automated pianos; it became the mammoth Seeburg Corporation.
A sales brochure issued around this time offered 29 styles of reed organ with different designs and varying numbers of stops. The company numbered its organs with serial numbers: e.g., No. 43315 (made in 1892), No. 118189 (1894), No. 250783 (1907), and 260834 (1910).
In 1903, Fayette Cable stepped down as president of the Cable Company. The last of the company's namesake family to lead the firm, he subsequently bought the Lakeside Piano Company and the Sweetland Piano Company, added a partner, and in 1905 would rename his firm the Cable-Nelson Company. Over the next 16 years, it would ship a total of 125,000 pianos.
The Cable Co.'s new president was Frank S. Shaw, a prominent elder in the Presbyterian Church. He took control of a vigorous company still hungry for growth. In 1904, Cable Co. was spending more than $100,000 a year on advertising and "increasing its output in every way possible in order to meet the demand." In February, the company acquired a majority interest in Mason & Hamlin, a struggling Haverhill, Massachusetts-based piano company, in large part so it could use Mason's factory in New York state to manufacture pianos for the New York City market. (Cable would sell its interest in 1924 to the American Piano Company.) The company also considered opening a new factory in or near Atlanta; its factories were already consuming nearly all the wood veneer produced by a plant in Dublin, Georgia.
By year's end, leading trade publications ranked the company among the world's top piano producers. The Presto-Times declared it "the largest piano and organ makers in the world". The Music Trade Review listed the company first among leading piano manufacturers, calling it "a great institution which has exercised a potent influence on the music trade of this country" with its "immense wholesale business" and "practically twenty retail stores situated in all parts of the United States."
The merger did not happen, but Cable took over the Chicago-area sales of pianos made by Bush & Gerts, including the company's showrooms in the Bush Temple of Music at 100 W. Chicago Avenue. (This arrangement would last just two years; Bush & Gerts would return to Chicago-area sales and the Temple of Music in 1907.)
That year, U.S. pianomakers sold about 280,000 pianos, including about 20,000 player pianos. Sales slumped the following year, though the number of player pianos sold grew to about 22,000. In mid-1906, Klugh predicted the industry would sell about 250,000 pianos, about one-tenth of which would be player pianos.
In 1908, the prices for the company's player pianos were: Conover inner-player piano, $900; the Corona inner-player piano, $750, the Kingsbury inner-player piano, $650, the Euphona inner-player piano, $500.
In 1913, George Dowling, a sales specialist who joined the company as vice-president in 1908, was elected president. Klugh, the player-piano expert, became vice-president and a director; he would within two years debut the "Solo-Carona Inner-Player," a player piano whose novel mechanism allowed for more control of dynamics and accent.
A 1915 advertisement offered to reimburse train fare to the company's Chicago showroom upon purchase of a piano. Around 1916, The Cable Company produced some 8,000 pianos: 7,000 by the Conover factory and another 1,000 in the Mason & Hamlin factory.
In 1922, The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries called the Cable Co. "One of the largest, most distinguished, enterprising and wealthy concerns in the piano and player-piano industries" and said it was "recognized as one of the 'great leaders' in the trade." Its pianos were sold by "a large number of branch houses and hundreds of agencies" including ones in "the principal cities of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia". Its Conover pianos were noted as belonging to "the highest grade manufactured".
The 1929 stock market crash hit the Cable Company hard. Within weeks of the crash, near Thanksgiving, the company laid off workers at St. Charles factory. The ensuing Great Depression weakened the entire industry further. By 1932, when the nation's pianomakers sold just 27,000 pianos, the key-finishing department at Cable's St. Charles factory shrank to just one employee. By 1936, the sprawling complex held only five or six employees, most to repair pianos. 2b1af7f3a8