Restoring a Square Piano made in Boston
by Jonas Chickering mid-1840s

This piano is housed in the
Ashland Historical Society Museum
509 W. Main St., Ashland, WI 54806 715-682-4911

YOU can help with restoration with a
Donation to "Play It Again".
Contact the museum at the phone or website above.

Tom is continuing restoration work on the Chickering square piano, brought to Ashland by Laura Beaser in the 1850s, now at Ashland Historical Museum. Dating from the early - mid 1840s, it is very different from a modern piano.
The "compass" (musical range" is FF - f4
- 6 octaves. It has 3 pedals.
Working in the 1980s in Asheville, NC with Robert D. Bunn Antiques and UNCA Professor Frank Edwin, Tom worked on 18th and 19th century keyboard instruments by Christofer Ganer, John Broadwood, Ignaz Pleyel and others. In June 2012 Tom began the painstaking business of repairing the soundboard and bridge of this instrument. The action of this early piano is very different from present day pianos, and many of the parts are "hinged" with leather, which is breaking. The hammers are not felt, but layers of sheepskin. A new bridge has been made for the instrument. Months of research have gone into the quest for proper materials to rebuild the hammers, action parts, stringing. More photos will be added as work progresses.
Click on any photo for a larger resolution picture.

Stringing and full cast metal plate
Illustration of hammer assembly construction

Damper cover and stringing
Damper heads
Bass Strings at hitchpins Stringing removed, dampers exposed

Broken bridge Broken bridge
Bridge removed Measuring for correct bridge height
Soundboard underneath Key Buttons with repairer's signature. Note Jacks on Right.
Bass Hammers Chickering Bass Hammer vs. Modern
Bass Hammers Close-up Hammer Carriage Side View
Hammers On Carriage Treble Hammers Close-up
Damper Lift Mechanism Damper Lift Mechanism

Page Updated 6/7/2014