How old is my Australian Made Beale Piano?
Enter your serial number below to find out. Your Beale Piano was made sometime between 1893 and 1976. We inherrited a Beale piano and wanted to know its age. So after some digging I found a table of serial numbers and year of manufacture. Turns out our Beale is over 100 years old.
If you have the serial number, you can use the tool below to find out the age of your Beale.
Beale Serial Number:
The serial number is located inside the top section of the piano, either on the left or right side. Sometimes on the side wall, other times on the top of the side wall. Lift the front half of the lid to find the serial number. It is typically a 5 digit number from 16448 to 94983, stamped into the timber. Here is an example of where to find it on a 1908 Beale (inside red oval):
For serial numbers 1? (unsure what the first number was) to 16448 the exact year is unknown. 1884 to 1893 are Hapsburg Beales (also spelled Habsberg) imported from Germany. Then the Australian made Beales from 1893 to approx 1902 are non iron tuning system. In about 1902 the Bader-Vader iron tuning system was introduced. The last Australian made Beale was made in 1976.
For the Hapsburg Beales, the number can be found engraved, like this:
There are also numbers written on the side of the piano keys. This is not a serial number or year. The keys are numbered to allow you to remove them and put them back in the correct order.
What Does a 100 Year Old Beale Sound Like?
A bit like this:
Our piano hasn’t been tuned in a while, so while it was at concert pitch, it has eased off a bit. Also please excuse the background noises and static – I recorded this on my phone when my wife was playing one day.
Tuning Your Beale Piano
There’s an art to tuning a Beale. The first piano tuner we tried broke 2 strings and basically gave up. Other piano tuners just refuse to tune them. The steel plank and age of most Beales requires special techniques, and those not familiar with them hate Beales. On the plus side, the steel plank means they need tuning less frequently than other pianos. The original Beale instructions suggest that the piano will “very seldom require tuning”.
Given they are the most popular make of pianos in Australia, it’s surprising more piano tuners don’t know to tune a Beale piano. Then we found a guy who did a great job. Thanks Jack! After 8 years of neglect, he had our 100 year old Beale in concert pitch in a couple of hours, without breaking anything. If you are in the Brisbane area, I highly recommend Jack the piano tuner: https://www.facebook.com/Jackpianotuner.
Caring for Your Beale Piano
As well as regularly tuning your Beale, you can keep it in good condition and looking amazing too.
We were privileged to have Robert Menhenick comment on this post about his 8 years working at Beale in the 1950’s as a French Polisher. I emailed Bob to ask for any tips or advice he could pass on to Beale owners about maintaining the finish on a Beale piano, and he said this:
I find any of the modern day furniture polishes do a good job, I would suggest Sheraton as the best. All of the pianos produced when I was there were finished in lacquer. Regards, Bob Menhenick
Thanks so much Bob!
Of course, if all else fails you can go by the original instructions from the Beale factory stuck to the back of the front board of the Piano. Here’s a terrible photo of it:
As I failed to take a decent photo of these instructions, I have recreated the instructions using an approximation of fonts and colours. The text of the reproduction is the same as the original, with all the faults and foibles of the language over 100 years ago. Click the image for a larger version you can print out if you want to:
And below is the original text typed out:
How To Preserve The Piano For A Lifetime (Original Beale Factory Care Instructions)
DRAUGHTS AND HEAT. Do not place the Piano very close to the fireplace, nor near an open window, nor in a passage. If placed in the corner of the room which is furthest from window and door it will sound best, look the handsomest, and be quite out of the way. Keep the back at least five inches from the wall.
VERMIN are, of course, destructive to some of the parts if not excluded. Examine the felts occasionally and see that neither cockroaches nor other insects have entered the instrument when left open. Do not use insecticide. A few mothballs are a preventive.
DAMP IS DESTRUCTIVE. Neither ivory, leather, felt, cloth, glue, nor polish will endure damp air without injury. Therefore avoid moisture of all kinds. Keep the instrument out of damp rooms. Do not put vases of flowers upon it.
POLISH. To clean and renew, use a mixture of half raw linseed oil, half methylated spirits. Shake well. Moisten a soft pad or clean white rag and rub gently till surface bright and dry. Clean off with another soft, clean, dry rag. Avoid “Polish Revivers” Never allow the sunshine to touch the polish, else it will blister, crank, and spoil.
COVER THE PIANO. When not in use, keep it completely covered with a cotton cloth, made to fit. The beauty of its exterior and the sweetness of its tone will thus be long maintained.
INTERIOR. Once in two or three months take off the top and bottom doors, then lift out the lid or “fall,” and the little slip which covers up the keys. With bellows blow strongly all dust and fluff out of action and wires. The keys are numbered, may be lifted out and placed in a row.
TUNING. Alter no screws or adjustment. Allow no one to interfere with or tinker the parts in any way. If the foregoing instructions be adhered to the Piano will very seldom require tuning, and then it should be tuned only by a competent person who is interested in its preservation. LET WELL ALONE.
SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS for TUNING THE BEALE-VADER PATENT PIANOS
Proceed in the usual manner. Do NOT bend the tuning pins in any way.
Should a new string be required, take out the back panel, gently loosen the respective tension screw by a half turn only. Remove the old string and insert the new. Then screw up tightly again using a large screw-driver and tune as usual.
To replace a tuning-pin injured by carelessness, remove the tension-screw and push in the pin from the front of the piano. Clean out the hole thoroughly and lubricate slightly the conical part of the tuning-pin with vaseline or pure tallow before inserting it. Do not use oil, nor any grease containing salt. Screw up nearly tight, make your wire coil on the pin, then screw up tightly and tune as usual.
By closely following these simple rules the tuner is enabled to arrive at a very accurate pitch to his own and his client’s satisfaction.
– Instructions on the back surface of the front panel of a 1908 Beale Piano
Beale Keys and Action
Beale Pianos, like all pianos built before the 1960s / 1970s were made with ivory lined keys. Like most pianos, the ivory consists of three thin veneers (slices) of ivory covering the top and front of the white keys. Australia is introducing laws to ban the sale of second hand goods containing ivory, but with an exception for musical instruments made before the 1970s. I imagine it would be possible to remove the ivory veneers and replace them with plastic.
A Brief History of Australian Made Beale Pianos
1884: Octavius Beale set up a business in Sydney to import pianos and sewing machines into Australia. The sewing machines didn’t last long, but he found success importing German upright pianos (of which some still survive) called Hapsburg Beales or Habsburg Beales. Below is a photo of one:
1893: Beale opened Australia’s first piano factory in Sydney. He made pianos using Australian timbers, built for Australian conditions. The mill department of the factory burned down in a fire in 1901, though thanks to the modular layout of the factory, no other departments were lost.
1893 – 1902: Beale introduced an innovative all-iron tuning system. The patent was granted in 1902, though the exact date it was invented and introduced into manufacturing is unknown, but predates the patenting by some years. Beale was dissatisfied with the timber tuning systems used in European pianos which didn’t hold their tune long enough in Australia’s heat and humidity, so along with Johann Carl Vader – the manager of the Beale factory – he came up with a solution. The all-iron tuning system is effectively a massive iron plate to which the strings are attached. It’s a bit more refined than that though, and is entirely encased inside the piano. Thanks to this iron plate, Beales stay in tune for a long time, but weigh a lot more than other pianos, and require an experienced piano tuner to adjust.
From a 1907 Beale Piano Advertisement:
DURING THE WHOLE HISTORY OF PIANO MAKING STRENUOUS EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE TOWARDS ATTAINING PERMANENCE IN PITCH AND TUNE. NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO DEVISE AN IRON WREST PLANK (OR TUNING-BLOCK) TO FORM PART OF THE USUAL IRON FRAME, AND INTO WHICH THE WREST (OR TUNING) PINS COULD BE SO PLACED THAT THE IRON STRUCTURE WOULD TAKE UP THE WHOLE STRAIN OF THE STRINGS. IN GERMANY. AMERICA, ENGLAND, FRANCE, AUSTRIA-IN EVERY LAND WHERE PIANO ARE MANUFACTURED -DEVICES INTENDED TO SUPPLY THIS WANT ARE PATENTED ALMOST EVERY WEEK. BUT NOT ONE OF THESE ATTEMPTS HAS PROVEN ENTIRELY SUCCESSFUL, AND THE FACT REMAINS THAT BY ALL MAKERS, OTHER THAN OURSELVES, THE WREST-PLANK IS MADE OF WOOD”
– 1907 ‘Advertising.’, The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), 2 February, p. 13
It seems that some of the very early iron-tuning system pianos (prior to being patented) simply had “Beale and Co”. Then from about 1902, the early 20th Century Beale pianos had “Beale-Vader Tuning System” embossed in large lettering on it like this:
1902: Sir Edmund Barton (Australian Prime Minister) opened the new Beale factory at 47 Trafalgar Street, Annandale in Sydney, which was the largest piano factory in the southern hemisphere and the British Empire in the early 1900s. This was a remarkable factory, which manufactured every single component of the entire piano. It had iron and brass foundries, electroplating, machining, as well as all the timber workshops and kilns (for drying timber) and experimental labs. Basically raw materials in, Beale pianos out. The factory could produce up to 3,000 pianos a year (1922 was the record year with 3,000 made). Here is an example of a piano made in 1908 (our piano):
1943-1945: Beale manufactured parts for the de Havilland Mosquito aircraft during World War 2. The Mosquito was an innovative UK aircraft constructed primarily from timber (unlike the aluminium Spitfires and such), which allowed timber manufacturers (including piano makers) in the UK, USA. Canada and Australia to use their factories for the WW2 war effort. A few Beale pianos were also made in this time.
1976: Last Australian made Beale completed. Serial number 94983. Nearly 100,000 Beale pianos. Not a bad run!
Beale was born in Ireland on 23 February 1850 at Mountmellick, Queen’s County. Beale first arrived in Australia in 1854. He was schooled partly in Hobart, then in Ireland. He spent some years in Melbourne, then New Zealand, and returned to Australia and married Elizabeth Baily in Sydney in 1875 and had thirteen children. He established his piano manufacturing business in Sydney, though travelled often. He spent time in London with his family during WW1 while his three sons served in active duty. Outside his business pursuits, Beale had his quirks – pursuing medical conspiracies and population theories (he even paid for a Royal Commission into secret drugs). While his theories and report were sidelined, Beale was however well respected and made a Fellow of the London Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts. Beale also served as President of the New South Wales Chamber of Manufactures and Chambers of Commerce of the Commonwealth of Australia. He was also appointed as a Trustee of the Australian Museum and and the Bank of New South Wales (which later became Westpac). He also grew orchids and rare plants, and studied Australian timbers extensively. He died in 1930 at eighty years of age in a car accident in New South Wales.
Beale Serial Numbers
The serial numbers below are the first piano made in the year shown. The tool at the top of the page is quicker, but this table will give you an idea for some of the vague years (like during WWI and before 1905):
1914-1916: Exact year unknown.
1958: Exact year unknown.
1971 – 1974: Exact year unknown.
Last serial number: 94983 in 1976
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194 thoughts on “When Was my Australian Beale Piano Made?”
Thanks for putting all of this info together. It is extremely helpful. I come from a bagpipe-playing family (I was a highland dancer myself) so we have that in common!
A number of years ago I was given a Hapsburg Beale & Company upright piano. The serial number is 9930. My children never learnt to play properly but they loved tinkling away on it. I no longer have the room for it and have been trying to work out if it is worth anything. Based on comments you and others have made, I’d say not. It’s mostly in satisfactory condition but the ivory has separated from a number of the keys.
I have noticed comments from people looking for spare parts. Perhaps my old girl would be helpful for someone in this situation? If that’s of interest, I’m in Sydney’s Inner West, very close to the Beale factory actually.
A fellow bagpiping family! Fantastic! My sisters did highland dancing, and I piped for highland dancers decades ago. Great exercise and skill, with great music to accompany it!
I hope someone is able to make use of your Beale – it did well to last well over a century!
I’m going to play the Marquis of Huntly’s Highland Fling today when I practice my pipes!
This is a great site you have created here, very informative.
I am another whose mother died recently and we (siblings) “inherited” a Hapsburg Beale & Co Piano (the & is how it is written on the name plate).
The piano came from my grandmother, in my earliest memories (late 1950s) the piano was always there at grandmas (we lived at Grandmas until I was 12). When we moved Grandma and the piano came with us. We have no idea how long it was in my grandmother’s family.
When we were little, one of mums cousins used to visit and she would play it (she was in a wheel chair and so she could not use the foot pedals). She would have us kids singing songs like “I’m a little teapot” “how much is that doggy in the window” “twinkle twinkle little star” and such.
The piano has not been played for nearly 60 years and though it worked fine when I was a youngster, a couple of the keys now have problems. But the keys that do play sound beautiful.
We will be looking at selling it and I see here that they are that good a piano that there are hundreds still out there being played – a testament to the robustness and workmanship built into the product – and so, ironically, they are not worth a lot.
The piano looks very similar to the photo provided to you by Bridget Gemmell, though the fancy wood trimmings are different and the name plate, which is below the music sheet holder on Bridget’s piano, on ours it is above the music sheet holder.
Down to specs – the serial number is 2333 and from what I have read here, in a reply to John in 2018 with a serial number of 2164, it is possibly from the same time period; 1885 to 1886, or shortly afterwards?
That’s quite remarkable. Not only do you have one of the very early Beales (yes, probably around 1886), but a long family history with such a wonderful piano. I can’t think of any other stringed instrument that can sit unplayed for 60 years and still sound beautiful! Most decent piano tuners should be able to get those obstinate keys working smoothly again. Enjoy your amazing piece of 137 year old history.
I am trying to find out some info on a piano I was given. The serial number is 12022. I know that a previous owner was a church in Dalby Qld. The plate on the inside of the keys cover states it is a Hapsburg Beale & Co limited Imperial.
Your search states 1883 to 1904.
Is there a way to know if it is made in Aust or imported from Germany?
The “Hapsburg” on your piano indicates it was made in Germany. Hapsburg or Habsburg is a european royal family (head of the Holy Roman Empire from 1400s – 1700s) associated with Germany, Austria and other countries in europe. Such an old piano, with a long history of use, and it has travelled halfway around the world! Enjoy!
I have found the information you have on the Beale Pianos most helpful. I have a Beale Upright Drawing Room Grand and I believe the serial number to be 15546 which according to you information it was built between 1883 and 1904. This piano has been in our family for close to most of its life having been handed down through the generations. We are down moving and down sizing our home and there is no family member who is interested in this piano. The piano is in good condition but does need a tune.
Do you know of a piano dealer who may be interested in selling or an auctioneer.
I’m the owner of a 1919 Beale piano with brass candle holders. I have to move out of my NW NSW home in a few months time and am unable to keep the piano. It’s a long time since it played a tune. Anyone interested in purchasing the piano?
Hi there, do u have any images. Thanks.
I have just become the lucky owner of my grandmothers Beale and after using your search engine discovered it is from 1907! Wow! Just wondering if you have any connections where I may be able to source some brass candlestick holders to have restored to the front. Unfortunately these have been removed 😢
Hi I’m interested in your piano.
Would you have more information about it?
Where did you purchase the piano?
Our family also had an inherited Beale with brass candlesticks, and the piano has happy memories for me
Thank you for this wonderful site- I have so enjoyed reading about the history. I have a Beale piano that was built in early 1919 according to the serial number 39369. It belonged to my grandmother although I do not know if she was the original purchaser. At that time she lived outside Julia Creek in North Queensland. She was a very good piano player, as was my mother. It has travelled quite a bit over the years ( down to NSW and back again!!) but has been rather neglected over the last twenty years. It can still be played but needs tuning and some keys need restoring. We live in Mackay and I am hoping that someone may know of a tuner who travels around who can tune the piano. I am also interested in whether some pianos were made to be able to take pianola rolls. This piano has a fixed piece of timber inside the front which has me puzzled. Happy to send a photo if that helps. Kathy
Quite a history for your 103 year old Beale. The Beales were well known for being able to tollerate the harsh Australian climate, but Julia Creek – that’s amazing it is still going. It’s wonderful that you are keeping a piece of Australian musical history alive. Yes, some of the Beales were pianolas and could be played by pumping the foot pedals attached to internal bellows. I don’t know of a tuner in Mackay or who travels there – maybe someone else could reply with some advice?
Thanks for posting the serial nos and yrs, always thought mine was around 1930, but 55511 confirmed it as 1926. Purchased it, pianola, fully restored 30 years ago and still going strong.
Had a tuner bring it up to A440 not long after, and he managed to do it without breaking anything and it has held tune every since. Got the same guy out a couple of years ago(semi retired) to fix a couple of broken links, hope there are some new people coming along that will be able to keep these going!
Still love the sound of it, the bigger box of the pianola gives a lot of clarity and substance to the bass notes that is missing when I play on other uprights.
That’s quite interesting that the pianola enhances the bass. As a bass guitar player I heartily approve 🙂 Amazing that your nearly 100 year old piano can still reach A440. Great tuner you found there, and great job keeping a piece of history alive. I hope you treat your piano to some love and attention in 4 years for its centenary 🙂 Thanks for posting!
Thanks for your page. I got my Beale fromt he local Masonic Lodge a few years ago (its #35026). My 12yo has decided he would like to play piano so I had it tuned today by an amazing guy called Geoffrey the Piano Tuner. He was as I said amazing and the piano sounds so wonderful for 105 years old this year. Will be going out to get some beeswax to polish it up asap. Just need to try and find the candle holders to go on it as it has the holes drilled. Any advice on where i might find some or even reproductions would be appreciated
Hi Phil. Sorry for the late reply, and sorry I don’t know where to get candle holders. Most of the Beales of that era had them, but also most of them have had them removed. Great to hear your 105 year old piano is sounding wonderful and allowing yet another generation to enjoy to wonder of creating music. Thanks for posting!
Where can I source spare parts for my Beale. Most parts seem pretty standard but can’t find spare butt springs the same size.
The year of manufacture given for the serial number of my Baby Grand Beale being 1925 is questionable as I bought it brand new from a well respected piano/music store in perth in 1990
Beale stopped manufacturing pianos in Australia in 1976. All pianos labelled “Beale” after then were imported rebadged pianos, so they will have the serial number from their manufacturer which is not Beale. As Beale made a incredibly large number of pianos (nearly 100,000) in the largest piano factory in the southern hemisphere, it would be expected that other manufacturers would have much lower serial numbers than the Australian made original Beales. This article deals with the Beale pianos made in Australia (or the pre 1893 imported Habsburgs) between 1893 and 1976, as stated in the opening sentences of the article.
I hope you enjoy your baby grand.
Hey There Daniel. A ripper and most informative website on Beale you have there. I live near Darwin but I also have a house in country SA where I decided I needed a pianola. Whilst on a whirlwind trip to Adelaide I spied a pianola going cheap and checked it out. It was a Beale but the make was not significant to me at the time. There was a sticker inside it by a tuner dated 1984. The lady selling it said that was the last time it had been tuned but when I had a quick play it was still quite good. It had a couple of broken hammers but nothing I couldn’t fix. So I arranged a bloke to deliver it 300kms to my place in Quorn and he explained the significance of the tuning system. That explained the 30 odd year survival without a tune. So I decided I needed another one for my home in tropical Darwin. Keeping my eye on Gumtree I scored a smaller Beale, a Bijou. From your list it’s from 1936. It had been neglected for a few years but is now playing fine but is tuned a bit down from concert pitch as this Beale doesn’t have the steel pinblock and I am fairly certain the pins aren’t tight enough to keep the tune at a higher pitch.
Anyhow these are lovely instruments. I am fairly sure I need at least one more yet.
Thanks for taking care of two (or soon to be three) Beales. I think that officially makes you a Beale collector 🙂 Watch out they don’t multiply. 30 years without a tune is quite impressive. Enjoy your lovely instruments!
Hi Daniel, this page has been incredibly interesting – thanks for sharing! My Beale piano is a Boudoir Semi Grand with a serial number of 21911. It’s in excellent working condition and I still play it regularly; have started teaching a 7 year old family friend’s daughter on it too. I’ve only had to tune the piano once or twice in the 20 years I’ve had it, but my mum told me the previous own (another family friend who sold it to us) fully restored this piano for their own daughter, who later grew up and their family didn’t want it anymore. Can’t believe the piano is from 1908!
Wow, great piano, and great to hear you are teaching the next generation the joy of playing it. Amazing to think that your Beale has been around for so long and created music for so many. I hope you enjoy many years of playing and teaching with your Beale. All the best.
G,day I have a Beale Pianola and over 100 rolls of music passed down when no other family member wanted it.
made in 1926 (57335 ) and currently have all bottom bellows being repaired and will have stack also checked after.
It was serviced 30 yrs ago but many of the bellows material has gone hard but still worked.
To save costs I have stripped down,cleaned and delivered the parts and has has given me an insight on how the player worked.
I note on your site that the pianos had an instructions label affixed to the inside but no where have I seen one on our Pianola .
Was it ony on Pianos?
While waiting I had a piano tuner tune the pianola .
I sprayed good amount of Wd40 on pins and luckily no pins broke.
There is one broken string on the high C C# which have ordered and 1 bass string that is not attached to it,s tuning pin so will have the tuner fix this once new string arrives.
I,m not sure if the pins needs to be slackened off 1st.
The key board is nice and straight but one or 2 hammers are a bit loose and felt has grooves but tuner seemed to think ok
This Pianola will bring back many memories as used to play The Teddy Bears Picnic on it and another tune our kids loved ,
Hallelujah I,m a Bum.
They are now in their mid 30,s .
I may even go the full Monty and fit a Midi system to it to justify the expense and get maximum usage out of it.
Lifting the thing was heavy work and carted home from Dubbo to Nowra in a Box trailer using a motor cycle scisor jack and Dolly to lower down with the help of a couple of mates.
Look forward to when all back together and working and grand kids can listen.
Wow, lot of work on that Beale Pianola. I don’t know if the care instructions were attached to the pianolas. Fitting a midi system sounds very interesting – a great fusion of modern tech with a 100 year old instrument – very cool.
I hope you enjoy many years of entertaining your grandkids.
Hello we have a Beale in the local men’s shed sadly the care instructions where not followed for this one, the inside is completely destroyed by mice and rats, the outside not so good ether, it was left under a tarp under a tree,
Sad but it’s slowly getting a new life , since it is so far gone we are turning it into something special it might never play again but it will look pretty once more.
Thanks to this we now know it’s getting near it’s 100th birthday in 3 years, thank you for making this information available
Great to hear it is getting a second life at a mens shed. Thanks for posting!
I have an Australian made Beale which I bought in 1983 for my wife. I have looked for serial numbers and the only numbers stamped on the woodwork are 972 above the keyboard and 1351 stamped at the top left side of the piano. On your website I can’t find either of these numbers, but I would very much like to know the piano’s age. Are you able to help me with this?
If it has “made in Australia” on it, then here’s what we can deduce…
First, work with the number 1351 – it is in the correct position. There are two possibilities for this number: Either this is a very early Beale (1893) or the last digit of the stamp into the timber has faded.
One thing that would clear this up – does the piano have have the “Beale Vader Steel Wrest Plank” embossed onto the steel as shown in the photos above?
If so, then go with 13510 – 13519 which would place it about 1902.
If there is no “Beale Vader…” then 1893.
I’d be interested to hear which it most likely is.
Hope this helps
Many thanks for very informative information re Beale Pianos. As we are about to downsize within the next five months, we need to dispose of our Beale first owned by my grandmother and in reasonable condition – serial # 30531 (so built 1912-1916), and so would be very much appreciative of any advice.
Many thanks in advance.
Can anyone help me to locate the serial number for a Beale Baby Grand, apparently 1924. It was given to us a few years ago and we would like to confirm its age. I have looked but can’t find it anywhere.
Wow great to know.
I had found myself with a 1909 Beale
I nearly sold it for nothing, glad I googled before getting rid of it .
Any idea what it could be worth?
Unfortunately despite being over 100 years old, it’s not worth much. There are just so many old Beales still around, and fewer families want a piano in their home. Fully restored they sell in the thousands, but in typical condition for their age, less than $1,000. It’s good news if you want to buy one, but not if selling them.
If there is anyone reading this who wants to buy or sell a Beale you are most welcome to post.
I hope you get to enjoy your Beale a little longer
We recently bought a Beale upright first our son. According to its serial number, it was manufactured somewhere between 1912-1916. Not having much knowledge about pianos, I was a bit anxious of whether we bought a good one. Reading your blog made more happier about my purchase. It is a beautiful piano and in a good condition. If anything, it’s a bit too loud!! Thanks for sharing all the interesting information!
Welcome to the Beale family! Besides using the quieten pedal, piano tuners can quieten pianos. You can also place a cloth between the keys and the strings to really quieten it. But for a quick and cheap solution that just turns it down a bit, when our Beale was a little loud we found putting some dense material (like a mattress or blanket) between the piano and the wall behind helped absorb some of the sound.
Hope this helps, and that you get to enjoy many years of your antique piano.
I’ve recently came into possession of what I assume is a Beale- it has a Beale sticker with a woman near wear the pianola roll is inserted, a serial number on the inside states 168581 then there’s another number on the opposite wall stating 82 and it also has fayette s cable Chicago on the inside. The back does state made in USA would you happen to know a date of manufacture for this model?? I’d love to know it’s a beautiful piece
That’s probably not a Beale. The Fayette S. Cable Piano Company based in Chicago USA made pianos from 1903 till the 1980s. Here’s some more information on them: https://antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum/cable-fayette-s/
Beale imported pianos after 1976, but this piano sounds too old, and I think they used European / Asian manufacturers, not USA for their rebadged pianos, but I don’t know for sure.
In any case, sounds like an interesting instrument. I hope you enjoy it!
So interesting looks like I have a bit of investigative work to do!
I have a very beautiful upright Beale piano- serial number 31193 (1912-1916). This piano belonged to my grandmother and is in very good condition.
Unfortunately I need to sell this piano due to having to down size. Do you know any where is Sydney where I can sell this?
Mr Kieran Hall,
Would you be able to send me a photo of this piano please?
I am taking delivery of a Beale next week! It has been in storage at a local removal company. I got to have a quick play of all the keys. Only one or two were not in full working order but the sound wasn’t too bad to my ear…. I play great highland pipes ordinarily.
I am keen to restore the timber to some form of originality. My late husband was a woodworker and I have many tools and things with which to use.
I used to learn piano as a child and have long wanted to get a piano but space and affordability have always been a deterrent. I know have both sorted so went looking for a piano.
This one fell into my lap, so to speak.
When it arrives, I will get some photos and check serial numbers etc. I hope to get a local company here in Maitland/Newcastle NSW to come and have a look at it. I will then look at restoring the cabinetry.
Looking forward to learning all over again!!!
Ah, a fellow bagpiper! Awesome! I find you can transpose most bagpipe tunes to the piano if you treat C on the piano as Low A on the pipes. This avoids all the back keys except you need to use B flat for High G. Pianos really show the limited scale of the pipes (one octave plus one note), and all those black keys! Still, nothing beats the sound of the pipes – though I admit it is much more convenient to play a piano 🙂
A key or two not sounding on your Beale is not uncommon – a decent tuner will get that working again pretty quickly. However restoring the cabinetry can be tricky. I hope it goes well and that you enjoy many years with your Beale – especially playing some bagpipe tunes.
Hey Cool!!! Loud pipes saves lives!!!!
The piano came today!!! I have contacted a local bloke to come and check it out for me in the coming days.
Yeah, I have often played my pipe tunes on the piano.
I just need to figure how to pictures up here!!!
Thank you for your wonderful web-page.
I have an old Beale piano (S/N 15430). I understand it was made between 1883 and 1904. However, is it possible to find more precise information about place and year of manufacture, please?
Also, it is need of a few minor repairs. Do you know of anywhere in Perth I can have this done, please?
Sorry Allan, I don’t know anyone in Perth. Maybe someone else can help?
Serial Number 15430 is pretty close to the more definite numbers starting in 1905, so I’d say your Beale was made in either 1903 or 1904. As for the place of manufacture, it was Australian made at 47 Trafalgar Street, Annandale, Sydney.
I hope you find someone to help take care of your 116-117 year old instrument, and enjoy many years of music.
I suggest you contact Rebecca: mobile 0412 681 169 and https://www.rebeccaspianoparlour.com.au/
All the very best
There has been a lot of discussions pertaining to the Hapsburg brand made by Isermann Hamburg. This brand is what is referred to as a stencil brand in the piano trade. Currently, most Asian pianos have some convoluted European brand name on a generic, often Asian, design. All modern Beale and Wertheim pianos are stenciled on to generic piano designs with a bit of tinsel here and there and do not represent any design features or hallmark innovations of the original makers.
It appears from notable records that both Hugo Wertheim and Octavius Beale imported the Hapsburg brand prior to their commencing domestic manufacture.
It is common to see Hapsburg pianos listed on Gumtree and other websites. The fact is, these pianos have no commercial value now but some may have sentimental value. Many have over damping actions and all have wooden pin blocks with all manner of iron frame configurations from 3/4 to full and open pin block designs.
All are well over a century old and were never built nor designed as remarkable musical instruments but rather, commercial products to meet an affordable market niche.
Another point that has been raised in this thread is that Beale was the first Australian piano maker.
Pianos were made in Australia by a number of early colonial folk mainly from England. Their designs were based on the English wooden framed cottage pianos of the early and mid 19th century. Makers, were often ex employees of London firms that emigrated to Sydney, Hobart and Melbourne long before Beale and Wertheim drew breath.
Some of their work, such as John Williams of Hobart Town, displayed notable innovations and many of them experimented and promoted the use of Australian flora/timbers. Their work is now very rare as wooden framed pianos fell out of fashion over one hundred years ago and many have found their way to landfill or the winter fire place. Where knowledge is present, such relics that have survived, could command some attention.
All domestic musical instrument production has had to run the gauntlet of the importers, retailers and all manner of vested interests. Bad mouthing and blatant lies and corruption, has marginalized all domestic production from the outset. All makers have had to contend with this scurrilous mindset. It’s so easy to say, “Made in Australia, Oh! that’s rubbish.” end of story!
This stance has been a perennial challenge for all domestic manufacturing as the colony was a cargo cult of importation. From Federation, under the tariff wall, a civil war erupted between the made in Australia corps and the importers. Everyone knows and lives the legacy of that period and we now call it The Cultural Cringe. The importers claimed that domestic manufacture was un-viable, standards poor and that only old Europe, could make such complex things that were any good. We all know this catch cry that resonates to this very day and there are no makers left to argue the case for our crafts people.
Beale and Wertheim, in their production of exquisite art models pre WW1, produced instruments of superb quality and durability with outstanding innovations. These pianos are to be found around the country and are prime examples of highly capable and notable makers who have left a remarkable industrial legacy.
Bravo Beale lovers!
Thank you so much Wayne Stuart!
Wayne is the director of Stuart and Sons, makers of handcrafted grand pianos in Australia for 30 years. You can visit his site here: https://www.stuartandsons.com/
He has restored many Beales, including the Lodge Beale grand piano for Hazel Hawke in 1986 when he was Head, Centre for Musical Instrument Technology as Northern Institute in Preston Vic as well as the NSW Government House Sydney Concert Grand Beale. He is one of the country’s foremost experts.
It is a privilege to have your input Sir! Thank you.
For the folks who love Beale pianos and have them as treasured possessions, you may like to know that James Allard Beale, at 93, and the last surviving grandson of Octavius C Beale, lives in Tumut NSW. James has just completed the compilation of an approx. 110 page book of photographs and family archival material including a re-print of the 1910 original Beale, full colour catalogue. This amazing collection titled Making Beale Pianos is a precious account of private family history and is available on demand printing via his son Richard Beale, email@example.com. Copies are printed on demand and cost 100.00 which includes priority postage. This will be the best Beale present you could get for Christmas.
Thanks to Wayne Stuart and Richard Beale, this book is now available to purchase here: https://bingtastic.com.au/product/making-beale-pianos-by-james-a-beale/
Hello James and Co,
Thank you for informing all us Piano lover’s the presences of a real Australian tradition, music and family.
Donna, Braidwood NSW 2622
Hello, This is a great site with lots of info. Could you please send me a clearer picture of the Beale Instructions. I would love to print out a copy for inside my Beale piano.
Thank you for a great article, Dan. Very interesting, and it’s great to see your passion for these instruments.
I’m a piano technician in Melbourne. I’ve been restoring a lot of Beale pianos recently and selling them, often to families with children who are starting to learn piano.
If anyone has a Beale with the metal tuning system that they no longer need I’d be interested in restoring it.
I know a technician in Melbourne who can service/restore pianolas, including Beale.
Kind regards, Lachlan Brown 0434091533
I live in NE Victoria and have a Beale that I would love to see go to a good home that will appreciate it. I purchased it 30 years ago when my first child started piano lessons. The serial number is 1920. Ìt still has the brass candle holders. The previous owner was a Tasmanian farmer
I’ve been gifted my grandparents Beale pianola. But sad to find it had mould growing on the inside when we had it moved here. My grandparents live on the coast.
Do you have any suggestion on best method to clean it. I really don’t want to cause any unnecessary damage because other than that it is in very good order.
Thanks so much
I’d suggest contacting a piano restorer, and sooner rather than later. If you want to try something yourself, I’ve read that a dilute mixture of white vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) can kill mould and is generally safe for the timber. Diluted bleach is also an option – but may harm the finish or the timber, and be especially careful not to mix the bleach with any other chemicals or detergents. I hope you can treat it before it gets worse.
Looking for advice on what to look for when inspecting a Beale player piano 5/1 year 1928. There is one for sale nearby.
Hi, I’d love to find out more about a piano that has been in my family for 3 generations. The piano is marked “Hapsburg Wertheim” (near the keys, where sheet music sits) and has a goldish plate under lid on right hand side that says “Wertheim”. There is also a number on this plate (and matching number in inside wooden part) that reads 2391.
I am in Victoria and prior to the piano entering my family, it was in a pub. There are Australian towns and cities listed on the gold plate inside piano.
I’d love any information or guidance on where to look for information next about year made and value (excellent condition, needs a tune and re felting). We would never sell it, just curious to learn more.
That sounds like an early Hapsburg Beale dated 1884 – 1893. I haven’t heard of the names of cities on the gold plate inside – very interesting. Unfortunately they don’t sell for much because there are still many of them around, but yours being quite early and with an interesting background sounds like a treasured piece of Australian music history. I hope you get to enjoy it for many more years.
This is such a wonderful blog and it made me really excited to find out our old girl.
Looks like ours is 1902-4 (serial number 14062). Our family has had it for at least 40 years and sadly I need to find it a new home. Do you think anyone would be interested in it from a history point of view or are there too many of even this vintage to bother?
Many thanks for the joy you spread about these beautiful antiques.
Thanks Daniel for such wonderful research and the opportunity for all of us to add. I have just bought my first piano (although I did grow up with one in the house) and am rapt to be a new member of the Beale devotees. Mine was made in 1909 and sounds wonderfully rich and is still in concert pitch. I love the fact it is both a lovely instrument and gorgeous piece of furniture, bought from a piano technician/restorer in Perth, WA. I noticed the 3 digit numbers on the wood where the panels are removed for tuning. One of the panels has the same numbers as the frame so I assume it’s to match the two if separated. Mine doesn’t have a candelabra or ornate workings on the top section, so I am wondering if that section was original. Nonetheless, I love it to bits. I’d attach pics but don’t know how on this msg. The lettering on the piano front says Beale-Vader. Thanks again !
Welcome to the Beale devotee club! Ours from 1908 also lacks candle holders. Some pianos were shipped without candle holders as lighting improved in the early 1900’s. It’s not easy to match 100 year old walnut (or whatever timber it is), so if the timber colour, grain and finish on the top section matches the rest of the piano, then it is most likely original (or factory refitted soon after it was manufactured).
I hope you enjoy your piece of Australian musical history for many years.
Thanks for posting so much great information about Beale pianos! 🙂 I’ve tried to read the serial number on our family piano, but I can’t make it out. My Mum said it was second hand, made @1943-1945. I know my parents purchased from CE Davies & Sons at Mascot in October 1978 and it was in amazing condition and did not need tuning until 1989! Do you know where the best place is to sell our pre-loved Beale second hand? It’s been in my family since 1978, but sadly we just don’t have the space anymore with our own growing family. Any info or tips would be appreciated. Thank, Renee 🙂
I have a 1936 Beale Bijou that we got from our kids’ music teacher years back, but now I do not have any space for it…I don’t play and no one else wants it. can’t sell it, nor even give it away ;-(
Two options are an expensive removalist, or simply dismantling and discarding, which is really a last resort and such a shame.
Hopefully someone is interested in giving it a home
BTW, I am based in NW Sydney
Hi Daniel thanks for such an informative article with great history.
I hope you can help me. I have inherited an old Piano very similar to the first picture on here. Stamped 7988 on the LHS. What confuses me is the brass stamp inside the which has R.Bathol Berlin. However everything else matches the above photos. It has a label inside saying where in Adelaide and Melbourne they were sold. I am new Pianos (haven’t played In 15 years) but I love history and vintage and just want to know more about it. Also any tips of restoring the ivory keys. Thanks Alison
I’m unsure if yours is one of the Hapsberg Beales – imported from Germany between 1884 and 1893 – or one of the very early Australian made ones, that may have had German parts inside before Beale created the wrest – iron tuning board. If it has the word Hapsburg (or Habsberg) anywhere on it, then it is an imported German. You can see a photo of one in the arcticle labelled Hapsberg Beale. However if it looks more like the first photo (as you said), I’d be thinking early Australian from in the 1890’s.
In any case, you have a very old piece of Australia’s musical history, and it’s wonderful that you are keeping it going for generations to come.
Sorry, but I don’t know how to restore the ivory keys. You should be able to find a piano restorer in a capital city near you that will probably have some spare Beale keys, or be able to restore your keys.
Hope this is some help,
Thank you for your wonderful history on the Beale Piano. We’ve owned our 1905 Boudoir Grand upright for 40 years and it plays beautifully, but have recently taken possession of my G-grandmother’s Ronisch piano, which for sentimental reasons we want to keep in the family; sadly the Beale is now surplus to our needs. If anyone on this forum is seeking a well maintained Beale upright piano, I’d be keen to speak with them.
Regards, Malcolm Condie
HI Malcolm, Im interested in your Piano. Could you send me some pictures. How much are you looking at selling it for and what state are you in. I’ve all ways wanted a beautiful piano in my home. Im living in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. Kind Regards Vince Nicklin
We have an upright Hapsburg Beale piano serial 7988. According to the tool made between 1883 -1904 It has a matched walnut veneer finish and holes where once were candle holder. Is there any way to narrow that down. It also appears to have had a bracket ether side as there are screw holes, possibly to secure it at sea or a school hall. We have moved three times and it is still in tune.
1890s for sure. I’d say 1895 to 1898. I’m doing that purely based on guesswork. 7988 is about halfway through the 20 years before 1904 when we have more accurate records, and given sales increased (not a linear curve), it means it will be in the latter half of the 20 years, so from 1894 to 1899 are pretty much the limit of possibilities. I’d trim it by a year either side to give you 1895-1898.
No idea about the bracket – though I like your thinking about securing it at sea. That sounds plausible, and adds a bit of excitement to the story of your Beale. Amazing it has held its tune so well. Good on you for looking after such an ancient instrument.
Absolutely loved reading about the history of the Beale piano! Thanks so much for that. I learnt to play on my great-grandfather’s Beale. Not sure of its age, will need to check its serial number (currently in storage while Mum is away, so not easy to check it!). Mum still has the candelabra that belong to it. I’m told they are very hard to come by (maybe worth quite a bit, probably more than the piano??). Sadly it needs restoring, which she intends to do when she returns. I’m very curious now to find out its age!
I bought myself a reconditioned Beale in 2001, which looks almost identical to yours. It says it’s a “Boudoir Semi-Grand” which sounds a bit cheeky 😉 I looked up the serial number, indicating a manufacture date of 1909. I was so surprised, as I had no idea it was so old! The restorers I bought it from are locally respected, and I still use them to tune it. I’ve had a couple of recent minor issues with it, but otherwise it plays very well, and gets played most days by myself and the kids who are learning.
Your article has given me a great appreciation of the level of craftsmanship that has allowed by beautiful old girl to continue to give such joy for more than a century.
Awesome! Sounds like two pianos are in good hands and will be making music for many years to come. Perhaps the candelabra is worth something, I don’t know. Beales don’t sell for a lot of money (there are so many of them still going because they were built so well). But I think (and I’m sure you agree) that the real value is the beauty of these instruments and the music they fill our homes with. Sounds like your “beautiful old girl” is doing exactly that. It’s great when our kids take an interest – two of mine play our Beale daily. I think just having a piano encourages younger musical minds to have a go. And unlike many instruments, with pianos you can make a nice sounding note the first time you play, even if nice sounding tunes take a little more practice 🙂 You are also most welcome to share the details of the restorers – it might help someone nearby. Thanks heaps for your comment!
I bought my restored Beale from this family business in Brisbane:
Les (Keith’s son) tunes my Beale. I’ve always been very happy with them. They still restore pianos, and Mum has booked hers in with them for restoration.
We were very lucky to grow up surrounded by all types of music. Neither of my parents played an instrument, but both saw the value and importance of music in life. Definitely, as you say, having the piano at home was an encouragement to actively participate! I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to have a musical education. I often find myself sitting down to play, just whenever even if it’s just a few spare minutes, because it is so good for the soul. If my kids complain about having to practise I always tell them that they’ll thank me later 🙂
Thanks for the info on Beale pianos, with a serial number 15417 turns out to be one of the early ones, it’s in excellent condition considering the age and sounds fantastic, checked the tuning and it’s down about 30% from concert pitch, pretty good considering the last time it was tuned was 10 years ago or more.
That’s wonderful! The steel plank helps Beales keep their tune for longer, our went about 10 years between tunes at one point too. It’s amazing an instrument like yours, over 115 years old, is still sounding good. They certainly made them to last! I hope you get to enjoy your Beale for many more years. Thanks for keeping a piece of Australia’s history alive and making music.
Good afternoon Daniel,
I have a question that has had us wondering for such a long time. We have an upright Beale, with a steel frame, which appears to have two serial numbers. One stamped on the top, in exactly the same position as your informative notes show. The second, which is different to the top serial number, is stamped into the timber on the inside, above the pedals. Is this normal in your experience?
Thanks for your insight.
I’d go with the one stamped on the top. I haven’t noticed a second number on our Beale – next time I have the bottom apart I’ll have a look, but that’s not where they put the serial numbers, so I’m not sure what the second one is. What is the second number? Is it similar to the top one?
it’s a completely different number. I agree with about the top number, its location is as you have described. We’ll go with the top number for now.
Thanks for responding to me.
According to our serial number our Beale piano was manafactured between 1912-1916 although I’m unable to find any information regarding what the keys are made of. Our has discoloured quite a bit (yellow) although I’m not sure what to use to whiten these depending if the top of the keys are plastic or ivory. Thank you!
For all pianos of that age, the white keys are ivory. The white keys have a timber structure, with thin slices of ivory on the top and front of each key. The black keys are a dark timber – typically ebony. Plastic wasn’t used for pianos until the 1960s at the earliest, and 1970s for most pianos. Thanks heaps for your question, I have updated the article to help others find this information easier.
Hi my Beale piano was made in 1911, and has 4 x2 distinct holes where something was screwed into the panel either side on the front of the piano, Obviously which held something, I’m guessing emblems?
Would you know what these were. Could they perhaps have been even candle holders?
They would have been candle stick holders, mine has the same , they were removed by the previous owner.
Yep, I agree with Rick. Definitely candle holders so you could read the music when playing at night. Enjoy playing your 109 year old piano!
Thank you for all the information you have provided here. It’s great! The serial number on my Beale is 13773. Does this mean is was imported from Germany? When I type in the serial number, it says 1883-1904. Is it correct that he started building pianos here in Australia in 1893?
The piano has a steel plate with, “The Beale-Vader Steel Wrest Plank” inside the piano as well as a stamp on another part of the inside of the piano that says, “Made for Beale & Co Ltd. by L.Isermann in Hamburg Germany”. It also has gold embossed letters on the front outside of the piano with, “Beale Patent Sydney Upright Grand”.
Thank you for your help,
Sorry for the very belated reply. The Beale Vader Steel Wrest Plank identifies your piano as Australian made from 1902 onwards. That was Beale’s unique signature component from the Australian made Beales. The dates are a bit fuzzy prior to 1905, but I’d guess about 1903 for your Beale – manufactured in the Beale factory in Sydney that they opened in 1902.
And yes, Beale started making pianos in Australia in 1893 in the first piano factory in Australia. The upright grand is a bit taller than the normal uprights, giving a richer sound.
I love our 111 year old upright grand, and I hope you enjoy many years of music from your 116 year old upright grand Beale – your very own piece of Australian history.
I’ve inherited a Hapsburg Beale piano and the only number we can find on the inside is 4643 – does this sound like the serial number? Would love to know the history behind it
I’m very sorry this reply is so late. As a Hapsberg Beale, that could be the complete serial number. The Hapsberg Beales were made in Germany / Austria and imported into Australia between 1884 and 1893, so you have yourself one of the very early imported pianos. I don’t have a lot of information on them. I’d love a picture of your Beale if you have one. You can email me: daniel at bingtastic.com (replace “at” with @).
I hope you treasure your very old Beale. It’s older than our country. Queen Victoria ruled the British Empire, including the colony of New South Wales when this Beale was made 136-145 years ago in the age of steam ships and steam trains – yet your piano was made and travelled half way around the world. Enjoy!
Hi , and thank you for a great page on Beales . I have a 1920 Grand Pianola Piano (6’4″) and was trying to do some research on how many of this type the factory made?
Regards Dan 🙂
Sorry, I don’t have any numbers that break down Pianolas vs Pianos. I’d love to see their original production ledger, but I only have the data above.
I hope you enjoy your 99 year old Beale – perhaps throw a party for it next year for it’s 100th? As we don’t know the exact date it was made, may I suggest 23 February – Octavius Beale’s birthday?
Many thanks Daniel , im going to keep researching and anything i find out i will forward your way for your records if you like?.
Cheers Dan 🙂
I have just been given a Beale Upright Grand with a serial no. 17242. The sound is beautiful and all in tune. Has the Pattern on the back -Mon Droit etc. On the front panel there are the bases of 2 candle holders but the front pieces are missing. Is there any chance of finding the candle holders any where? We love playing the new addition!!
Your answers are so human and warm!!!!
Most of those candle holders were removed when electric lighting became common in houses in the last few years of the 1800’s and into the first decade of the 1900’s. My Beale with a number not far from yours has no candle holders – either mine was requested without them or they had stopped fitting them by 1908. Given that the candles vanished around 110 years ago, I don’t like your chances of finding any. I do see them in photos from time to time fitted to Beales, but getting them separate from the piano may be a tall order. But who knows? Maybe a piano tuner or repair company could help. They have all sorts of spares.
And thanks for the compliment, I am a computer programmer, so after a day of coding I delight in the warmth of humanity 🙂
I’m glad you’re enjoying your 114 year old Beale. Keep playing!
Hi Dan & Jann,
From Dan’s article I have just dated my Beale to 1908 – I thought it was a little older as the family story has the piano purchased by my Great-Great-Grandmother following the death of her son (my great great uncle) Harry Shimmeld in WWI (with the financial ‘compensation’ received when a son was lost at war) … I suppose they bought it second hand?
Anyway, it has the candle holders, or at least the base attachment. As a child I remember the ‘arms’ being intact. There were two candle holders on either side (ie capacity for 4 candles). Who knows where they got to. The piano has been to most of my mothers siblings since then and back to me over 20 years ago.
I was researching the age etc to begin the process of selling / giving her away, now I’m not so sure what to do. Feeling nostalgic, but unfortunately nobody here plays piano!!
Thanks for your history of the old girl. I might pass it around the family along with the offer of the family heirloom!
I have a Beale Parlour Semi Grand. It seems to have 2 serial numbers, the first which looks to me to be the original is 22345, and the second 36804. Can you please advise why you think the reason for the 2 numbers.
I don’t know why there would be two numbers – are they in the same place, or different locations? Both of those numbers are possible. I’d go with whichever number was stamped on the top of the left hand side main timber that you can see after lifting the front of the lid (see pic above in article). So your Piano is either from 1908 or 1918 – over 100 years in either case.
Hope this helps
Thanks for getting back to me Daniel. The 2 numbers are back to back on the left side when you open the lid. I thought that some kind of repair/ refurbishment might have happened at a later date.
That sounds possible. Sorry I don’t know for sure. Enjoy your 100/110 year old piano!
I have had the opportunity to view & play a Beale baby grand piano today, but I could not find the serial number. It is a black baby grand with the model number BA-62. I would have expected to find the serial number inside of the casing or stamped onto the soundboard or frame somewhere near the keyboard. I lifted out the music holder, lifted the lid, and looked everywhere but could not find it.
Are you able to tell me more specifically where to look for the serial number? I could send photos if you like. Best information that we have is that the piano is suspected to be about 30 years old.
I’ve not encountered the Beale baby grands. Beale ceased Australian production in 1976. If the piano is newer than 43 years old, then is it a re-badged imported piano, and I don’t know where to find their serial numbers, nor how to find out the age of the piano. Sorry.
For the uprights and upright grands it is relatively easy to locate, but other than where you have looked, I don’t know where specifically to look. Sorry.
I’m not sure if this is still useful to you but I own a third hand Beale Baby Grand with BA-62 written in elevated letters just before the tuning pegs much like it seems you do.
I found a serial number in 3 places:
1- on the underside of the lid (that you can only see if you take the lid out)
2- inside the action stamped on the right inside and
3- underneath the piano stamped into the wooden bit before the sound board (where the leg joins on). Its very hard to find but it’s in the out looking edge of the lip that connects the two front legs.
I hope that this helps, I only just came across your post as I for a couple of years have been trying to find the date of my own piano and I’m consistently given the reading of 1918 but in style and appearance it seems to be made in the seventies. In contact with a piano tuner I’ve found out that there are actually 2 sets of serial numbers for the Beale Baby grands and he should be able to evaluate it when he comes.
I hope this leads you to the answer you’re looking for.
My mother passed away recently and has left a Hapsburg Beale & Company Imperial piano serial number 2489. I don’t know what to do with it’ as no one in the family plays the piano. Is it worth anything? If not, who could I donate it to?
So sorry for your loss Christine.
That’s a very early imported Beale (before 1893). They sell for around $1,000. Have a look on ebay. Even though it is very old, there are so many of them around they aren’t rare enough to attract the sort of price you would expect for an antique instrument.
If you wish to donate it, there may be a local nursing home or school that could benefit from a piano.
I actually don’t play piano myself (I’m a bagpiper). But having the Beale in our home encouraged two of my children to learn piano, and they play it daily. Then my wife decided to learn a couple of tunes – that’s her playing our Beale in the sound clip in this article. And when our octagenarian friend drops by, she sees our piano and entertains us with a tune or two from her youth. I love having our Beale because it encourages people to have a tinker. And much better than leaving a set of bagpipes out for people to try 🙂
I think every home benefits from having a piano.
Hi Daniel, I have inherited a 1930 Beale upright piano that I have to collect and bring it home soon. Would you have ANY idea of the weight of this piano. I cannot find any info on this. Thank you for all of the information you have provided on here – it is greatly appreciated.
I would estimate over 200kg. But I strongly suggest you get piano movers to relocate your piano. Beales are very, very heavy. The solid iron frame adds a lot of weight. Don’t collect it – pay professionals. It’s seriously heavy, and if it tips over and falls, you will destroy it. Getting friends or relatives to help is guaranteed to give permanent back injuries. I’m a big lad (6’3″) and so are my relatives, and 3 of us couldn’t move our Beale. I’ve had professionals move our Beale three times now (including once just to move it from downstairs to upstairs), and it’s worth every cent.
Please don’t injure yourself or your friends / relatives. Just Google piano movers.
Thank you for putting this page together, I found it so interesting to read about the background of my Beale (1926) my grandparents bought after WW1.
I’ve just had the pianola restored and been happily playing a few tunes, but I had a question I thought you may know, should the keys go up and down whilst playing?
I can’t find anything specifically online… so wasn’t sure.
If anyone is looking for a tuner in Sydney who knows everything about Beale’s and iron frames, I would be happy to share details if you don’t mind.
Sorry, I don’t know anything about the Pianolas.
But please do share the details of you tuner.
I am looking for someone to refurbish an old Beale in Sydney, please share the restorer’s details.
I got the Beale piano, I only find the number Ba-46, could you tell me the year made? Thanks
Sorry, that’s not a number I’m familiar with. If it is a piano (and not a pianolla), and looks at least 40 years old, then try just lifting the lid and look on the top (end grain) of the side timber (left hand side as you are standing in front of the piano).
I’ve put a picture in the article showing where. Hope this helps.
We have a Beale – Drawing Room Grand. Steel frame. It is a very old piano. Looking for the serial number and the only one I can find is ‘517’ stamped into the upper wood. Can be seen when the front wood panel comes off. Can this number determine it’s age please ?
We are the 3rd owners of this beautiful piano.
Sorry Terry, that’s not enough of the serial number.Try just lifting the lid and look on the top (end grain) of the side timber (left hand side as you are standing in front of the piano).
I’ve put a picture in the article showing where. Hope this helps.
Had a look at where you said and found this number 19517.
1908 – a nice old piano. Hope you enjoy your living piece of Australian history.
Hi Daniel, I’m looking at a Beale BE-3 available for sale, serial no 481090. I don’t know the year it was made. This number looks larger than those made in Australia prior to 1976 – do you know anything about where it might have been made and whether it’s a good model? Many thanks, Kate
You’re right – that number is too high for an Australian made Beale, so it’s probably one of the later imported models, after 1976. I have no information on the serial numbers for those pianos. If it is a newer one, on the plus side it will undoubtedly be easier to transport and tune 🙂
All comments are most interesting, as I have 2 Beale Pianolas made in the mid 1930’s. I will track down exactly when later when I have more time. I am aware that Beale or mine have a taper pin system for tuning and one has to be skilled mechanically and tunewise.
I looked up Beale to ascertain the weight of my Pianola as they are very solid and heavy which I would guess are well over 1 or 2 cwt as I am having a bridge built to house over a moat and it needs to be strong enough to withstand the weight.
I could utilise my AIRSKATE(TM) System to float it on masonite sheet so as to move it easily.
All comments are most interesting, as I have 2 Beale Pianolas made in the mid 1930’s. I will track down exactly when later when I have more time. I am aware that Beale or mine have a taper pin system for tuning and one has to be skilled mechanically and tunewise.
I looked up Beale to ascertain the weight of my Pianola as they are very solid and heavy which I would guess are well over 1 or 2 cwt as I am having a bridge built to house over a moat and it needs to be strong enough to withstand the weight.
I could utilise my AIRSKATE(TM) System to float it on masonite sheet so as to move it.
Wow, I had no idea I’d been holding onto a piano for 10 years that was over 100 years old – No. 12286 a real Beale & Co.
Thanks for your site.
Thanks heaps Sam. Sorry the dates aren’t more specific – but at a guess you could say about 1900 – so 119 years approx. Hope you enjoy your antique piece of Australian history 🙂
We became the proud owners of 20788 today! It has been gifted to by daughter by my uncle and belonged originally to her great great grandmother! I’m so glad I found your page and was able to learn something about this piano.
I hope you enjoy many wonderful years with your 111 year old piano!
Hi Daniel, thanks for the Beale story, shifting 42469 to its new home in Mudgee nsw. 98years young, the little kids love it. Regards Phil.
I don’t own a piano, can’t play a piano but really enjoyed reading an important part of Australia’s history; musical and innovation!
I am just writing to say you are awesome!!!!
You have replied to most of these people with such brilliant insight and information that really opens the doors to the history of their beautiful, very well made instruments and most of them didn’t even take the time to thank you.
Well I really enjoyed the effort you have put in here and giving me a part of Australia’s history I had no idea about.
Thank you so much
Kind of you to say so. Much appreciated.
Have a great day!
Have a lovely 1911 Parlour Semi Grand. Two small holes in upper rear case panel about 280mm from each side. Inside found several hollowed out walnut shells and some plastic wrapping. This would not have been an original feature although honky tonk sound had nut bouncing beat. Removed these and placed mesh over holes. Thanks for your patience with all enquirers.
Sorry Mike, I missed your comment earlier. Only a month late 🙂
Never seen that before, that’s just nuts! (Pardon the pun).
Walnut keep you any longer. Cashew later.
I have an upright piano that says “Hapsburg” and underneath it has “Hugo Wertheim, Melbourne”.
I checked the serial number from your instructions and found it inside. It’s numbered “3377”.
Maybe you could shed some light on it.
Wertheim was a competitor to Beale, based in Melbourne, and followed a similar business plan at around the same time as Beale. Initially Wertheim imported pianos from his homeland of Germany – Hapsberg pianos (Beale also imported Hapsberg pianos), and then in 1908 he opened his own huge piano factory, just as Beale did some years earlier.
Here’s a link with more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wertheim_Piano
So your piano is one of the ones Wertheim imported between 1880? and 1908 when he started making his own pianos. I don’t know the serial number ranges for Wertheim pianos, but perhaps we could guess 1890-1899? Which makes your 19th Century piano over 120 years old – a credit to you and the previous owners.
I have an upright “Beale – Vader- Steel- Wrest- Plank” (as on steel frame) Serial No: 14548. It has a magnificent coat of arms inside the lid with “By Royal Letters Patent” over the top and “DIEU ET MON DROIT” at the bottom of the coat of arms. “Salon Grand” is printed in gold writing above keys on open key board. It has dual brass candle stick holders either side at the front. It is in immaculate condition, perfectly tuned with beautifully preserved cream ivory’s.
It was purchased by my Great Grand parents, from England soon after they immigrated to Australia, and handed on to me from my Grand parents.
Would like to know how old it is and what,( if any) do I maybe need to polish it with, to preserve it for the future, even though it still is shinny?
Wow, what a beautiful instrument. That serial number, combined with the Beale Vader steel frame, dates it between 1902 and 1905. At a guess, I’d say 1904. So your piano probably turns 115 this year. The coat of arms is British, and yes, the british coat of arms has French at the bottom of it – it means “God and my right”, and was coined when British kings spoke French.
Apparently, furniture polish is all you need. Since your post yesterday, I have emailed with Robert Menhenick (comment below) asking about preserving the finish, and he replied with the advice: “I find any of the modern day furniture polishes do a good job, I would suggest Sheraton as the best.”
Hope this helps, and you get to enjoy your magnificent piano for many years to come.
Thank you so much Daniel for your reply & information. Its great to know how to safely preserve the woodwork… and from someone who worked in the Beale factory as a French polisher!! Many thanks for contacting Robert Menhenick for me & for your input, Robert.
The ‘old lady’ is doing very well for being 115 years young and I’m sure will continue to assist many little pianists in our family as she is lovingly passed down to future generations.
Thanks again for your wonderful website & your knowledge you share with us all, it is much appreciated.
I was an apprentice French polisher in the early 50s at Beales & spent 8 happy years there.
That’s amazing Robert! To think that there are hundreds of treasured pianos used by families across the country that you helped make. Thank you sir!
Any tips or advice for Beale owners?
Since I am becoming an antiquity,I have to sell our Beale pianola with some 200 rolls of all sorts . From Lilac time up to Nat king Cole and Jerusalem. It is well looked after and plays as good as your joints might bring up.It has been regularly tuned and since I am here at Bali, surely protected against corrosion and creepy crawlies. I’m thinking around a thousand Euro.
Very excited to learn that the 110 year-old Beale-Vader piano 19133 (ca. 1908) which has just been passed down to the 5th generation of the same family tree is so special!
Oh! Kathy! I have your piano’s older sister … 19030 !
I have a Hapsburg Beale & company imperial upright serial number is only 4 digits 2164
Just wondering what year and why such a different serial number?
The really early Hapsberg Beales were imported from Germany and while the exact year for each serial number is unknown, it is between 1884 to 1893. Given how low the number is, I’d take a stab in the dark and say 1885 or 1886. So that’s quite an old and rare piano there. Amazing to think an instrument about 133 years old is still going. Nice.
My mother passed away this year and has left a Hapsburg Beale & Company Imperial piano, serial number 2489. I don’t know what to do with it as no one in the family plays piano. Is it worth anything? If not, who could I donate it to?
I am looking into one of Beale pianos to purchase off my neighbour and she has provided me UP108M this number. It does not look like a serial number and not sure what it represents? Could you help me with this particular number? many thanks in advance.
The Beale serial number will be 5 digits long. It will be stamped into the timber at the top right of the piano visible when you lift the lid.
UP108M is not the serial number. Even if it is a misreading of numbers into letters (U could be 8 or 0, P could be 8, and the M possibly a 4), it’s 6 digits.
Sorry. I’d ask for a look. I’ve just added a photo to the article showing the location of the serial number in more detail.
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for your quick reply!
Sorry i have another question to ask. I am looking into buying a piano, as you know already, and this lady has a Lisner Piano made by Beale. What does this mean? Is this like a “series” or is this a completely different brand?
Also, what’s Beale’s tunes like? I am so used to Samik piano which i had for close to 20 years and didn’t really like it as it’s tune was so heavy and low. Would Beale be similar or very different?
Sorry in advance for asking so many questions! But i am so glad i found you 😊
Yes, the sound of the older Beales can be a bit heavy. I prefer to think of it as rich and resonant. I have included a recording of our 100 year old Beale in the article.
I also discovered that your serial number is actually a model number for a newer Beale. UP=UPright 108=108cm tall. Here’s a new one for sale: http://www.sydneypianocentre.com.au/beale-up108m.html
After 1975 Beale shut up shop in Australia and only exists now as a rebadged import, so it’s possible it is made by the same people who make Lisner pianos, or shares some parts. On the plus side, the newer pianos will sound less heavy 🙂
Hi. I just bought a beale serial number 38336 for $200. Would like to restore it. Its not in a bad count. Where can i buy some parts for it please.
Sorry, I don’t know where to get parts. We have had a few pads and such replaced by our piano tuner. I’d suggest contacting a piano tuner and asking them to have a look and they might be able to hook you up. Hope your piano is working well for its 100th birthday next year 🙂
Our Beale has serial number 73175 or possibly 78175 but its the number 016 just below which puzzles us. Please advise the meaning of the three digits.
So the year is either 1948 or 1953. However I really have no idea about the 016 below – I haven’t encountered that before. It doesn’t look like a month / day. Sorry.
Thank you i have contacted jack the piano teacher and i hope he can come out in june
Hi Daniel, thank you for going to the trouble to share your knowledge. Does it extend to the baby grands. I have just bought an old baby grand Beale for my son! The only numbers i can find are 13186 stamped on to the back of both of the first two keys, and the number OV 20 stamped near where each of the three legs bolts on.on your serial finder it says somewhere between 1883 & 1904. This is probably as close as we will ever get. I note that the wording embossed on plate is just Beale Tuning System, no mention of poor old Vader.
I’m guessing that the serial number is correct, and you could possibly narrow it down to 1900 – 1901, as around 1902 Vader made an appearance.
Hope this helps
My grandmother who just turned 90 has her parents Beale, which now resides in her nursing home in Bayswater, WA. After much searching, I finally located the serial number written in pencil on the top right hand side of the actual back plate of the workings inside the piano. 17968 is still written after all these years. Remarkable. Nanna does have dimentia, but still remembers how to play her hymns on her beloved Beale that she’s had all her life.
Wow. That’s wonderful. What joy she must have in her faithful 110 year old piano. Thanks so much for posting that.
Hello hoping you can assist me with my inquiry.
I have a Beale upright piano with the Beale Vader iron plate stamped on the inside, I’ve located the serial number but I’m missing the second number so I have 1?872.
On the right hand side it is stamped concert model , just curious on the age and a little bit about this beautiful piece.
Your piano is at least 110 years old. 19872 would have been made in 1908, so the largest serial number (and latest date) would be 1908. Earliest would be about 1902, as I believe that is when they started stamping “Beale Vader” on the iron plate.
So you have a magnificent 110-116 years old piano. I don’t know anything specific about concert models, but sounds like a lovely instrument.
Thank you soo much for getting back to me, much appreciated.
We have a refurbished Beale that we purchased about 25 years ago. Its serial number is 15237 and has the Gold coloured iron frame. Im looking at selling it as its no longer used. It was tuned regulary up until about 10 years ago when it was no longer used. Any idea of the age and approx value.?
I think your piano was made between 1901 and 1903. Though the exact years between 1883 and 1904 are unknown, 16449 was the first one made in 1905, and they were making between 300 and 1,000 a year in those days, so 1,200 less could be anywhere from 1900 to 1904, but I’d shave a year either side and say 1901 to 1903.
Value? Despite their magnificent age, they were built well enough that there are still a lot of playable Beales out there. They go between $500 and $5,000 on ebay depending on condition. 10 years is a while without any TLC – I’d suggest getting it tuned and any issues identified. Your piano tuner may have a better idea of the selling price.
Hope this helps.
We’ve 1922 Beale. Seems in good condition after all these years in the family. Thoughts on value for sale??
We have a Beale Upright Parlour piani number 22131. Does anyone have an idea of how old it is.It has been in our family for 49 years and played occaisionally.
The cabinet looks top class, all felts are in good condition with no signs of rust in the mechanism,
My questions are , with a number of 22132 how old would it be? and for an approximately what would be a fair to sell it for?
Thanks Daniel, that makes sense. The piano was new when my parents bought it so therefore it would be rebadged? I’m guessing it makes it lesser quality?
Ah, in that case, I have no idea 🙂 Newer may also mean easier to tune. I’d suggest that if you like how it sounds or it has sentimental value, then keep it. It’s wonderful to have a piano in the house, whether you play seriously or just tinker now and then.
Hope this has been some help.
My parents bought a Beale in 1993ish. It is now collecting dust and they are keen to offload it (to me). I never really liked to play it because I found it overly loud and it seemed to echo excessively, getting worse as time went on. One piano tuner basically told my mum that it was not worth restoring, needed a major overhaul, something to do with the dampening pads?? the next piano tuner said it was fine and a beautiful piano. I am a bit confused how these views could be in such conflict. Do you have any insight? I am reluctant to inherit a lemon…
Thanks a lot,
I’m guessing your parents bought an older Australian made Beale in 1993 and not a new one. You can use the serial number check above to find out the age if it was an Australian made one (1883 – 1976). Any Beales made after 1976 are imported and rebadged. If it is an older Australian made one, then it has the unique iron tuning system, which is both good and bad. Good because it keeps the piano in tune for longer and lasts a long time (my 100 year old Beale is tuned to concert pitch and sounds fantastic). Bad because it is difficult to tune. It is a special skill that surprisingly few piano tuners have. The first guy we tried was terrible – broke strings and so on. There is a good chance your Beale may need new dampening pads, but that it is also a fine a beautiful piano. It’s like mechanics – some will tell you to get a new car, others will instead fix a couple of things and keep it going. I’d go with the latter piano tuner. Every time we have ours tuned there’s a key or two stuck and it needs a new pad or two, so it takes about 2-3 hours to tune and fix our Beale each year (which means it costs a bit more), but it sounds amazing and I just love having a piece of history in our lounge room.
Hi I have a Beale upright – serial number 11715 (6) the numbers are lower than on your list , the piano was purchased off a lady who got it on her 5th birthday in 1965 , it was given to her by her father which he got. From the Annandale Hotel , which was in the same suburb as the Beale manufacturing factory. I would like to know what year it could be , it is in very reasonable condition, I’m expecting 1885 – 1890
Looking forward to your reply ,
Rough guess: 1898
16448 was the last piano made in 1904. Prior to this the years are uncertain, but given yours is between 2/3 and 3/4 of the way to 16448, I’d guess it was about 2/3 to 3/4 quarter of the time from 1883 to 1904, which is about 1897 to 1899? That’s a very rough estimate, assuming equal numbers.
In any case, it’s well over 100 years old and a testament to your family for keeping it going.
Hope that is some help.
Hi, I’m looking at buying a piano and would love a Beale. Someone told me that the colour of the metal inside the Beale was an indicator of how good they were. I remember that the Gold ones are very good, but I can’t quite remember what they said about silver etc. and I was hoping that you could help me? Cheers, Kat
My Beale has a golden coloured iron tuning system, and it’s a nice piano, but I don’t know whether that is any better than any other coloured metal plate. Perhaps the colour reflects when it was made? The iron tuning system is the heart of the Beales, so it is very important. But rather than colour, what I’d look for is whether it has been tuned frequently, and whether the iron pins are rusted or not. Rusted pins may make it very difficult to tune without a complete refurbishment, which will cost thousands. Beales are unique in removing timber from the tuning system, and while they hold their tune for a long time, the lack of timber also makes Beales difficult to tune, especially if the pins have rusted. Having said that, mine is over 100 years old and sat for 8 years without tuning and was brought up to concert pitch in a few hours by a skilled piano tuner. Hope this helps.
Hi I have a Beale (Patent Sydney) Parlour Semi Grand and the series number shows that it was made between 1912 to 1916.. this has been in our family for many many years it was originally taken by horse and cart from Sydney to Mudgee . I’m wondering what its value may be (can send photos). regards Debbie
Maybe someone here can give you an idea of the value, I don’t know. On gumtree you see Beales selling around $500 to $5,000, depending on condition. $5,000 is for a fully refurbished one. Many of the Beales for sale are quite old, like yours. Unfortunately there are so old pianos out there – 100 year old Beales are still quite common – so they don’t fetch premium prices. Hope this is some help.
Hello was just wondering the correct age of a friends beagle piano the serial number is 30913 thanks Shane
Serial number 30913 was between 1912 and 1916. More precisely? Serial number 27929 was the last one for 1911, and 35000 was the first for 1917. World War 1 put a spanner in the works – less accurate records and production diverted to the war effort. But we can still get a rough estimate. About 2,000 pianos were made per year before the war, but that slowed to only 700 in 1917. Serial number 30913 is nearly 3,000 more than start of 1912, so given an average of 2,000 per year pre war, it was probably not 1912, more likely mid way through 1913.
Hope this helps.
I have discovered this web page and I was hoping you might be able to help
We have a Beale Pianola, however, we cannot find the serial number? the only numbers we found were where the Pianola pedals are situated, they are 2307 & 2308?
I hope you may be able to shed some light as we would love to know the age and dollar value
Sorry, but I don’t know about the pianolas. In general though, the serial number is near the top of the piano – typically under the top cover on the left hand side stamped into the timber.
Dollar value? A quick look on gumtree shows a few for sale at the moment ranging in price from $250 to $5,000. (https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-pianola+beale/k0?sort=rank). That’s a lot of leeway depending on age and condition.
Hope that is some help.
Hi, I have an upright boudoir grand with the serial number 11407 it has the name Beale & co ltd cast into the iron thing inside, but dose not have the Beale Vader plate and it dose not appear to be missing under the key cover it has isermann written I am told it’s very old
That’s an early one! Vader (not Darth) was the guy who helped come up with the iron tuning system, and it was patented by Beale around 1902. Beale didn’t use the Beale-Vader name on the really early ones. When he invented the iron plate is unknown, but it was before 1902. Your serial number is 5,000 before 16448 which is in 1904, so I would say before 1900. It’s not a Habsberg Beale, so post 1893. So you piano was most likely made sometime between 1893 and 1899. Isermann is a guy in Germany who made excellent piano actions that most major piano manufacturers purchased from him (and his son post 1870) in the mid to late 1800s. I suppose it was a bit like “Intel Inside” for pianos. I’m not sure when the Isermann logo appeared on Beales, but I’d guess it was early on (from 1893) before Beale had established his own reputation, and before he started making his own piano actions (which was probably 1902 with his new factory).
Hi we have 32043 is this of any significance my grand mother said its one of a special pair made for a exhibition of some sort ?
Thanks for asking, but I have no idea what they did in the way of specials. I only have a rough serial number to year list, which dates yours at 1912-1916. Sounds like a lovely 100 year old piano though. Maybe someone else out there knows? Anyone?
my Beale is No. 33520 close to Chris piano No. i have a gold decal under the top lid which details an exhibition, i will have a look tomorrow and post a photo of it. i was also trying to buy a pair of candle holders for my Beale
Daniel, do you know, or do you know someone, some guidance on operating or fault finding a Beale pianola, 1926. The roll rotates but nothing heard.
Thanks for asking, but sorry, I don’t have a clue. I hope you find an answer somewhere.
I know it’s a year later, (only just saw your post) but I have recently restored and refurbished a pianola I found on Gtree for $100 6mths ago. Nothing was working, and I wanted a project. I had not restored a pianola before, this one one full of dirt, dust, cobwebs. I’m not sure how many 100’s hours I spent doing the project, plus hours of internet research as well, but I have it working perfectly. I had a great time doing it and learned so much. I have restored, repaired and tuned heaps of old bomb pianos for friends/students/churches just to get them playable again. But the pianola was a whole new area for me, incredible ingenuity and clever ideas from so long ago. I hope you found the answer to your pianola problem, or someone to help you by now. If not, I’d be happy to answer your questions, and give ideas on how to get it up and running. Cheers, Todd
Hi. We were left a Beale patent upright Grand piano (sn 20220). As beautiful as it is, we dont play and it’s become a dust collector. Is it something we could sell on or is gifting it more realistic. Thanks for any advice. Kristy
The ones I see advertised in Australia (ebay, gumtree, etc) – 100 year old Beales sell for between $500 to $3,000 ($3k for fully refurbished). Piano removers charge something like $300 for a 10km trip, so that needs to be considered by the buyer too. Even though at 109 years old yours is an antique (like mine), there are so many of them out there they are still in common use, thus not very expensive.
Hope this is some help. Cheers
I have been advised by a piano tuner that the Beale tuning system on older Beales is not viable to be tuned due to the cost of adjusting the tuning arrangement, any comments on this ?
Sorry to say, but that tuner just doesn’t know what he is doing. We have an upright grand (large upright) Beale that is over 100 years old, with the massive steel plate. The first tuner guy we tried was terrible – he broke two strings and couldn’t get it in pitch. He hated our piano and gave up – much like the person you spoke to. Then we found another guy who after 8 years of not being tuned had our Beale in concert pitch in about 2 hours (without breaking anything). There’s an art to tuning Beales, so you just need to find someone who knows them. They are the most common make of piano in Australia, so there should be plenty of tuners who can tune a Beale. I can recommend the tuner who sorted our Beale out in the Brisbane area. On the plus side – thanks to the steel plate, once in tune they stay in tune for twice as long (1-2 years).
Thanks for commenting and bringing this up. I’m very glad you’ve given me a chance to set the record straight about tuning Beales. The old Beales are beautiful instruments – solidly built, wonderful craftsmanship with a very rich and resonant sound, and I’d hate to see them neglected due to inexperienced tuners 🙂
Thanks Daniel ,you’ve given me some hope there.I used the serial number search and it reveals the age at 1909.There is also a handwritten date in pencil on the side of one of the lowest keys, April 1910 , so maybe this was when it was first tuned or sold etc ?
Re your comments on the tone,I agree ,we are very fond of this piano .
We bought it 27 years ago ,it had been restored by a piano tuner student and has given us good service ,( and countless singalongs with family and friends,so has been punished a little as well !) We moved it 12mths ago into our current home which is an old place built between 1905 -1910 so it was sort of cool to put it into the front parlour room and imagine there may have been a similar piano there in the past.I have always been advised by tuners that it cant be brought up to concert pitch ( its about 1/2 a semitone flat ) so maybe I should pursue that too although I would be happy for it to be tuned as is,regards Bob
I have a Carl Vader upright which I believe may have been a limited edition Beale. Where would I find the serial number to determine the year of manufacture?
Thanks in advance
On Beales the serial number is on the top edge of the left had side panel – lift the lid and it should be there. It is stamped into the wood without any colour – just pressed in numbers – and not terribly obvious. Johann Carl Vader was the manager of the Beale factory where Beale patented and used the “Beale-Vader” tuning system (a massive steel plate), but I don’t know anything more about pianos that are named after Carl Vader.
Hope this is some help.
I can’t get the year of my pianola by the serial number. when I put my serial number: 208258 into the search it just comes up underneath the box and says: Year Made: Last serial number was 94983 in 1976, which doesn’t help me with the year mine was made. can anyone help me at all with what year mine was made by my serial number: 208258. thanks pat
Sorry, but I only have the data for Australian made Beale Pianos from 1883 til 1976. The serial number you have is a lot higher than the last Australian made Beale (serial number 94983 in 1976), so I’d guess it was made sometime after that 🙂
I think I read somewhere that after 1976 the branding was sold, and applied to imported pianos – so I’m not sure where to go from there. The serial number on post 1976 Beales may be from the overseas manufacturer.
Thanks for posting. Sorry I can’t be more help.
I would like to know more about my Beale but the only number engraved on it is 67. Seems to be in great condition, I’m also near Brissy so would be keen to know who you had tune yours?
I’m not sure what the 67 means. Seems too low a number for a serial number. In regards to the tuner, thanks for asking, I’ve updated the main article with the link for Jack the piano tuner who I recommend.