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As early as the 1150s, keyboard instruments appear both in art and in record, and although they in no way resemble modern pianos, these early monochords and later clavichords are a definite early ancestor.The first written indication of something that may have resembled a modern instrument dates to 1598, where letters to the Duke of Modena describe an instrument as a “pian e forte,” meaning it was capable of soft and loud, like a modern day piano.The majority of pianos cannot be reliably dated by their serial numbers, and you only have to look at the listings here for Collard or Eavestaff to understand why.There is a widespread belief that numbers are the be-all-and-end-all for dating pianos, but the length of this page should indicate to you that it is not that simple, and I do not intend to perpetuate this myth by blindly repeating other people’s lists, although I have included some dates in the second section, .
The piano didn’t really catch on as a popular instrument until the 1760s, aided by the rather prolific Bach family.The instrument's new owners decided to have it re-tuned by piano technician Martin Backhouse when the gold coins were found.The hoard is the largest gold sovereign hoard ever found, consisting of 913 gold sovereigns and half sovereigns dating from 1847 to 1915.With the piano becoming so popular that every genteel drawing room had an upright, so did the demand for ivory, which had been used to cover the keys since the early 1700s.As time went on–and the Great Depression of the 1920s hit–many manufacturers began using plastic in place of ivory, as it was a less expensive alternative.
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for British pianos are listed in date order near the bottom of this page.