Estey Piano – Its Quality, Reputation, and Contribution to US History

by Tania Gleaves on July 18, 2015

A Preferred Standard

The Estey Piano Company is renowned for its grand pianos and for several good reasons. One of those reasons is because throughout its history, the Estey has always held a reputation of high esteem and prominence all over the world. Another reason is the collection of musicians it attracted. You’ll see a certain standard that the Estey piano aspires to and it’s this standard that hundreds of well-known musicians prefer.

Unlike so many other piano makers of the past, the Bluffton-based Estey Company went into the piano business in 1869 and managed to maintain the same quality that it began with. From as early as 1876 on to 1915, the number of awards that this manufacturer rightfully earned defines the degree of this quality that we could never accurately describe in text. These awards include the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition and Sesqui-Centennial~Exposition award, the Chicago World’s Fair award, Italy’s International Exposition award, and San Francisco’s Pan-American Exposition award.

Active Patents Pending

If you’re an expert in pianos, then you should know that the Estey piano is not only known for its function, it’s known for its aesthetics as well. From their very first conceptions, they each make a lasting impression on everyone that lays an eye on their traditional and modern designs crafted in the finest finishes. But that doesn’t mean the Estey piano is impervious to improvement. The company is said to have made significant improvements to the piano building industry as a whole with active patents pending unto today.

One of those patents purports to improve the piano’s sustaining capability and the other makes the piano more responsive to touch.

Interestingly enough, the Estey piano is the product of a New Hampshire run-away orphan named Jacob Estey. At the age of 25, Jacob observed New England melodeon makers (reed organs) in the 1840s and than arranged his own melodeon manufacturing company, “Estey & Green” in 1855.

A Reputation For The Best

For the next one hundred years, the Estey company built a reputation for manufacturing the best instruments – all 506,000 of them – world-wide. The product line included melodeons, pipe organs, and electronic organs, which leant to the company’s stretch of varied names: Estey & Company; J. Estey & Company; Estey Organ Company; and Estey Organ Corporation.

Those who played the Estey piano and other products widely ranged from the young beginning piano student to prestigious musicians playing in New York City’s Capital. Smart investments gave the company opportunities to even build residential developments complete with it’s own “Esteyville” name and community amenities.

The delicate balance between running a business and contributing to culture isn’t always an easy feat. The Estey Company however, managed to sustain its role in the challenge and continue to produce a quality product that fares as well as its foreign rivals. American pianists can share a special sentiment with the Estey piano since it is an American product manufactured and sold in the United States.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

george August 21, 2009 at 2:53 pm

i have an stand-up estey piano which according to the serial number was manufactured in 1916. It is in very poor condition however, was wondering if it is worth anything as i do not play the piano.

Sarah October 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm

My husband found a part of a j esty piano. He “thinks” it’s a tuner. He was told by an insurance adjuster it was worth $1,000. Is there a such thing called a tuner on a piano? If so about how much is it worth?

Brian November 10, 2009 at 10:16 am

Hmmm…not sure…This site is mainly about learning to play…good luck…

j s marshall August 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I, too, purchased an Estey upright piano (antique red) for my daughter’s 13th birthday in 1963. I do not read music, but I do play by color on the piano from time to time. Now that I am retired, I plan to take piano lessons soon. Some of the keys are sticking, so I suspect it needs tuning. Are there piano tuners knowledgeable enough to service the Estey without harming its features? Also, on today’s market, if sold, what price range should I investigate for the Estey?

Stefano October 21, 2010 at 9:47 am

I have an Estey International Awards, violin bridge construction piano serial number 150459 was made on 1953, it is 58 inch long , 40 inch tall, in very good condition from my deceased father in law. Can you tell me anything about piano?
Thank you

Cheryl February 14, 2011 at 1:17 am

Judy: according to serial numbers on another site, your Estey was probably made in 1892. I was looking at one today that was made in 1903. The keys need a lot of work.

Marie Smith October 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I also have an Estey upright, circa early 1900’s. Needs tuned of course and a couple of keys replaced. Need to sell it as I am moving and no place to keep it where I will be living..

carolyn mcdowell December 1, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Hi, I found a Estey Baby Grand. I can not find any information about it.This is some information : Stamped inside – Estey Piano Corporation since 1869. Philadelphia Seque-centennial 1926. We could not find any serial #. ccould you tell us where else to look. Thank you

Brian Connor May 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Please share your e-mail response to the query from Carolyn McDowell, who posted on this site, Dec.1, 2011. She describes my piano, too. Ditto problem here – can’t find the serial number. Help, please.

TERRI July 11, 2012 at 2:05 pm

I hope this site is still a valid site. I have an Estey baby grand that was my mom’s. It’s still in pretty good condition. I need to know the value. we may need to sell it to pay bills. Husband is laid-off for over 3 years now. can you tell me where to look for the serial number? I sure hate to part with it but it’s better than living in the van!

Debra January 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I have an Estey Interntional Awards piano, violin bridge construction, serial number 166064. Does anyone have any idea how old this piano is and what it may be worth?

Mark March 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I own an Estey baby grand. Wondering where I can locate the serial number, I believe this piano is about one hundred years old.

Teresa willed March 20, 2013 at 7:43 pm

How much is my estey grand piano worth sn 17139 in mint condition

Nancy Meissner January 10, 2016 at 4:43 pm

I have an Estey Cabinet Grand built in January 1886, Serial #25102. It is said to be made of Ebony wood and is black. It is in very good condition. Would like to sell it to someone who would appreciate it.

Andrea May 6, 2016 at 2:05 am

I have an Estey (New York) baby grand that my grandparents purchased for my mother in the early 20s. It was manufactured around 1918 – 1919 as per the serial number. (Found the serial number on the metal plate under the music stand…slide it in or out and it shows.) It is in wonderful shape and sounds beautiful. Three generations have learned to play on this piano so I am having the cabinet refinished. Does anyone know if the pianos from this era had a hand-rubbed finish, or a glossy finish? Having a hard time deciding what finish to go with.

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