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I recently bought an upright piano and the people from whom I bought it said they don't know anything about the piano except that they bought it in Jerusalem and that it is a Russian piano.

I always thought Russian pianos were very stiff but this one plays easily and has a sweet, bright sound.

It has a logo inside that says "Fischer Trade Mark" Fischer Trade Mark Piano Logo

Is this the JC Fischer company from New York?

The only thing I could find that resembles a serial or model number was an engraving in the cast-iron plate that seemed to say "VII - 79", perhaps made in 1979?

And then there's what looks like a piano and then perhaps the number "6" or "f.". Fischer piano model or serial

Here are pictures of the actual piano: Fischer Piano Closed Fischer Piano Open

Any ideas what company made this, where and when?

*UPDATE

OK, thanks for the video. After checking as thoroughly as the video suggested, I found what looks like a serial number stamped into the bottom of the upper front board:

Serial number stamped underneath upper front board

433195

Did a google search but nothing came up. In the list of JC Fischer piano serial numbers, they are indeed 6 digits but the highest they start with is 219.

**UPDATE 2

Well, this is embarrassing. Since yesterday's post, I've discovered the serial number 2 more times! Once stamped into the back edge of the fallboard and once stamped into the bottom edge of the lower front board. I guess I had been looking for a printed number a different color than the surrounding color.

Same number as before: 433195

Looking at the Bluebook of Pianos, it seems that the different companies had an agreement about serial number conventions. Many of them have 1974 pianos starting with serial number 430300 and 1975 with 433400. Could that mean that my piano was made in 1974, and was that company's 2,896th piano?! Or, did they skip numbers to allow for other information to be embedded into the serial number?

***UPDATE 3

This is turning into a detective game. Last night, I discovered the numbers "352" stamped into the sounding board, to the left of the lowest bass strings:

numbers etched into left side of piano soundboard

And then on the very back of the two very lowest bass keys I found some other etchings.

In front of the capstan (the cylinder that pushes up on the hammer) it says "39" on both keys:

piano key etching pre-capstan

And behind the capstan, it says "27", I think:

piano key etching post-capstan

What do all these numbers mean?

The more I take apart this piano the more I discover.

  • Is the manufacturer's name painted under the keyboard lid, so it appears above the middle of the keyboard when it's being played? If so, what does it say there? – phoog Sep 9 '20 at 5:45
  • No, it doesn't say anything there. – Bumy Goldson Sep 9 '20 at 19:22
  • Could those be Hebrew letters? Resh Pe? – phoog Nov 4 '20 at 23:08
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Not an answer (yet), but too much for comments: here is additional information to assist in the search.

Bluebook of Piano lists the following serial numbers for J & C Fischer

FISCHER, J & C
 
1900-115000 1950-187000 1969-214239 1975-219100
1905-126700 1960-198500 1970-215343 1976- N/A
1910-134000 1965-207741 1971-216700 1977- N/A
1920-145000 1966-209319 1972-217100 1978-219200
1930-159000 1967-211237 1973-217500 1981-219300

According to Total Piano Care, the places to look for the serial number are

  1. On the piano’s cast iron plate. After lifting up the lid, look along the top front area of the plate. The serial number may be to the right or the left, or in the middle.
  2. Under the opened lid on the ledge, stamped on a little plaque, to the right or to the left.
  3. Stamped on the back of the piano; near the top of the wood frame.
  4. Printed on one of the hammers, found on either end of the piano (newer or imported pianos).
  5. Printed on one the keys - behind the nameboard, inside the piano (newer or imported pianos).

Further...

If you cannot find the serial number in any of the locations listed on this page, please watch the video below, to help find more piano serial number locations.

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The second image seems to say VII-79, which would indicate that the frame was cast in July of 1979.

The serial number, by contrast, indicates that the piano was built by Aeolian in 1974:

Verticals & Grand Built by Aeolian after 1959:

1960-364200 1966-397700 1972-420500 1978-440000
1961-370700 1967-401500 1973-424900 1979-444000
1962-376900 1968-405200 1974-430300 1980-446900
1963-383100 1969-407500 1975-433400 1981-449700
1964-387900 1970-410900 1976-436900 1982-452400
1965-392000 1971-415600 1977-438000

Aeolian acquired J & C Fischer in the 1940s and sold its pianos under dozens of brands. This is consistent with the branding being present only on the plate that is screwed onto the frame rather than being cast into the frame as is usually the case with companies that only sell their pianos under their own name (including older Fischer pianos).

I'm not sure what to make of the discrepancy between the frame date and the serial number date, however. I can think of several possibilities, none of which seems particularly likely:

  • The frame was replaced.
  • The frame was added five years after the rest of the piano was built.
  • The piano is a counterfeit.
  • There was a European Fischer brand (I've found no evidence of this) whose serial numbers were in this range at the end of the 1970s or shortly thereafter.

Of course, I could also be misreading or misinterpreting the characters cast into the frame.

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