Acoustigrande Pianos

Acoustigrande Pianos

From Chicago, Illinois
Solid American Tradition.


The Acoustigrande Piano from Chickering Brothers

Acoustigrande PianosAcoustigrande piano owners often talk about the high quality of this model from Chickering Brothers. We've found that many of these pianos have a wonderful sounding base section with consistant sound quality overall. The pianos, manufacturered in Chicago, Illinois, during the early part of the 20th century, were typically made of the highest quality materials. According to the Pierce Piano Atlas, the piano Acoustigrande line was discontinued in 1927 after almost three decades of production. It is unclear whether the end of Acoustigrande production is a direct result of the economic downturn that was beginning to surface in the U.S. and Europe at that time. But it is interesting to note that the last Acoustigrande pianos were manufacturered just two years before the stock market crash of 1929.

For Acoustigrande owners, the Chickering name is sometimes confusing because there were two distinct Chickering companies during the 19th and early 20th centuries. One was named Chickering Brothers with its factory located in Chicago, IL, and the other was named Chickering & Sons with its factory located in Boston, MA. Both companies are often referred to simplay as "Chickering," and although the two names do refer to a single family line, the pianos coming from the two factories were not the same models or even the same technologies. Names associated with this family include C. Frank Chickering, George Chickering, Hall Chickering, and Jonas Chickering.

The Chickering & Sons factory in Boston, which did not produce the Acoustigrande Piano (this piano was produced in Chicago, IL), was the more famous of the two companies and by mid-19th century was considered to be the standard against which new technologies were compared and judged. In fact, the Chickering one-piece cast-iron frame became the model for other piano manufacturers, including Steinway. This type of frame offered much better support upon which up and coming companies would build their own innovative technologies, the goal being a better and richer tone for the exceptional volume of sound produced by the single one-piece frame. In this regard, Steinway would quickly take the lead.

Over our 30 years in the piano repair and restoration business, we have had the pleasure of refurbishing several Chickering Brothers pianos, including the Acoustigrand piano. We have found that they were well built pianos and worthy of repair and rebuilding even after a century of ware.

If you have a Chickering Brothers Acoustigrand piano and would like specific information about restoring this great American made piano, please contact Michael Sweeney directly. Michael will be glad to help you assess the prospects of repair and/or complete restoration of your Acoustigrand.

Sources for this information include Michael Sweeney's 30+ years experience in the piano restoration business as well as the following texts: Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concdert Grand, Second Edition by Edwin M. Good; Men Women and Pianos, A Social History by Arthur Loesser, and Pierce Piano Atlas by Bob Pierce.

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