1890 Broadwood Cottage Grand Piano


This beautiful piano has suffered years of neglect and abuse. The interior mechanism is rotted and worn, and the strings are rusted and corroded so the piano is both unplayable and un-tunable. The old black finish is cracking and peeling, and the lovely copper banding inlay is coming away from the case.


This piano was quite a challenge to restore. The case has been put back to its original satin black lacquer finish and all of the solid brass banding inlay was custom cut and reapplied. The new strings, hammers and restored old-growth wood soundboard makes this piano play and sound like it did when it was built over 125 years go!


Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

ABOUT THIS PIANO: This small piano is known as a “cottage grand” by world famous maker John Broadwood & Sons of London. Built circa 1890, these small grand pianos were quite popular in European countries and were intended for use in small cottages and apartment homes. This piano is a rare “art-case” model and was likely a custom-built instrument finished in black satin lacquer with extensive solid brass inlay accents. Unfortunately, years of neglect had allowed this lovely piano to deteriorate to the point it was no longer usable or tunable. The owners of the piano had a deep appreciation for its uniqueness and history, and their appreciation of old-world craftsmanship encouraged them to have the instrument restored and preserved for posterity.


Prior to restoration, the old black lacquer finish had started cracking and peeling, and the beautiful solid brass inlay work had begun to come unattached from the piano – in fact, quite a lot of the original brass was missing and had to be custom cut, sized and reapplied in restoration. The old strings were rusted and corroded so the piano could not be tuned without breaking strings. The old felt, leather and other internal parts were deteriorated and worn to the point the instrument was not functional.


English-built grand pianos made this early are of non-standard design, and parts are not readily available for them through standard piano supply companies. The conventional piano industry discourages restoration and preservation of instruments like this one simply because parts are not readily available and most experienced piano technicians have no idea how to restore them! At The Antique Piano Shop, we specialize in rare and obscure pianos like this one. We are set up to manufacture these obscure and obsolete parts in our workshop.


Our team was able to restore the instrument, both inside and out, to like-new condition. While much of the interior (strings, hammers, felts, etc.) had to be replaced with custom-made new parts, the original cabinet, harp, and old-growth wood soundboard were painstakingly restored with historical accuracy which allowed us to maintain the original soul of the instrument.

Scroll down to see the piano restoration process!

Piano Restoration Process:

Assessment & Disassembly

Years of neglect had left this piano virtually unplayable when it arrived in our shop.  The interior components were brittle and worn, and the exterior case had extensive damage including cracks, dings and evidence of insect damage.  The piano is carefully disassembled with parts labeled and organized.  Much of the beautiful brass inlay work is missing and will present a challenge to restore.

Piano Restoration Process:

Cabinet Repair & Refinishing

This piano was originally done in a satin black lacquer finish with elaborate brass inlay adorning the case.  The old black finish is removed which exposes minor insect infestation (from years prior) and the brass inlay is removed.  The case is carefully repaired, including replacing missing and broken parts, and multiple coats of black lacquer are applied and painstakingly hand-rubbed in order to achieve a beautiful finish.  Only about half of the original brass inlay was able to be saved; a great deal of skill, time and effort was required to duplicate and replace the missing brass inlay.

Piano Restoration Process:

Soundboard Repair & Re-Stringing

The old brittle strings are covered and rust and have lost all their tone quality.  The strings and harp are removed from the piano, and the soundboard and bridges are restored and refinished.  Note the unusual bronze color of the harp on this piano; many Broadwood pianos had dark bronze harps instead of the standard brilliant gold color.

This piano presented a special challenge to re-string because of the obscure design of the tuning pins and pin block.  Like a number of antique Broadwood grand pianos, the tuning pins are threaded into the harp with metal threads before they come into contact with the pin block.  This was a short-lived and poor design, so we found it necessary to modify the harp and pin block so that conventional modern-style tuning pins can be used, substantially increasing the tuning stability of the instrument.

Piano Restoration Process:

Action & Keyboard Restoration

The patented designs used on antique English-built pianos were very different than their American counterparts.  Today, parts and materials for these instruments are generally unavailable, requiring us to manufacture these obscure parts "in house" on a case-by-case basis. Our ability to manufacture these parts gives our shop the unique ability to restore these obscure instruments with historical accuracy.


Although this piano came to us in poor condition, the keyboard and action assembly was in surprisingly good, restorable condition.  The ivory and ebony keyboard was restored to perfection.  The interior action assembly was painstakingly restored with a historical perspective in mind, making the piano play like it did when it was a new instrument.



The piano was painstakingly restored back to its original satin black finish.  The delicate brass inlay was restored, much of it fabricated and replaced, so that the piano looks like it did when it first left the factory over 130 years ago!


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    Friendsville, TN 37737

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