Very few piano makers contributed to the American piano industry at large as much as the renowned Henry F. Miller Piano Company. Established in 1863, Henry F. Miller built high quality, expensive pianos in Boston for well over a century. In the 19th Century, Boston was home to a large population of old world craftsmen who had immigrated to the United States from the old country. These craftsmen possessed amazing skill in woodworking and piano building, and Henry F. Miller was in a position to take full advantage of this amazingly skilled workforce. Like most other Boston firms, Henry F. Miller enjoyed a reputation for building truly exceptional pianos. In the early years, Miller produced a full line of uprights, squares, and grand pianos.
The piano I have restored at the Great George was built in 1882, as shown by an internal inscription by H. Vinnicombe, probably a factory employee:
A contemporary catalogue tells us that Henry F. Miller offered three different sizes and four different models of square pianos: Styles 1, C, F, and G. The piano in the Great George is a carefully-preserved Style 1, but with slightly different cabinetry; the catalog illustration was probably subject to some creative liberty:
Here is a "Before" video that I recorded before I did any work on the piano:
First, careful measures were taken to carefully clean the piano and the individual action components. A foam-based shaving cream is used instead of water, which is potentially harmful to the wood. As pictured on the left, you can see the new red felt I put on for the mute rail.
The key-frame felts were dusty and moth-eaten, but still very usable. I carefully cleaned, flipped, and re-glued them to the frame.
I filed the compressed felt hammers to remove dust and restore their rounded striking surface. I also replaced the buckskin and felt on the hammer butts. Unfortunately, I only have pictures of the new felt:
This piano may well have been signed by the elder Henry F. Miller, the company's founder, who passed away in 1884. Subsequently, his sons inherited the company and further established their reputation for fine craftsmanship.
After these repairs, I set about completing three time-intensive final steps:
And here is a video taken immediately after the first pitch-raise tuning: