Thursday, June 7, 2012

1937 Wurlitzer Spinet Piano

Before Christmas, Rodney went down to Haug's Music in Hannibal and bought my gift.  It is a restored 1937 Wurlitzer Spinet Piano.  Albert Haug is rumored to have spent many sleepless nights with this piano.  Restoring the painted legs from almost ruined to beautiful.  Who knows if this is true but I do know that Rodney paid $325 for it and hauled it back to Quincy so that I could have it in the store.  He says, "It wasn't even heavy!"

After Frank and Rodney went to the chiropractor, they were glad to come back to the store and listen to me struggle to play the piano.  It had been 25 years since I had last played anything on a piano....  What was I thinking that I could remember to play it?  It took me 3 weeks to begin to remember the notes, a few more weeks to remember the classical music I used to play, and now I am taking piano lessons from Steve Buckman so that I can join in to the jam sessions we have in the store.....  Someday.

The first day we had the piano in the store, someone offered to buy it.  Firmly, I stated, "It is not for sale."  This is a phrase I have had to repeat often.  Who knew this piano would be so appealing to so many different people?  I have had people come in and bang around on it and others that play beautiful songs.  During some of our jam sessions, The Mighty One, Adam Yates has pounded out the melodies as guitarist play in a circle around the store!  It is a great old piano and "mostly" in tune. 

A couple of days ago a man in his early 30s came into the store.  He looked at the piano and said, "That was going to be my piano.  Did you get it at Haug's last December?"   Really!  He said that.  He further went on to explain that he told Albert he wanted the piano.  He also told Albert that he had to leave town for the week but would be in the next weekend to buy the piano.  When he arrived the next week, the piano was gone.  Sold.  Not to be his.  Mine.  ;)

He politely asked if he could play my piano and I said, "Yes."  He played some classical music and then some more modern songs.  When he was done he let me know that it had found a good home at Second String Music.  I personally think he would have given it a better home but am glad I have had the chance to re-learn piano on this beautiful instrument.

The very next day another gentleman came in to drop off a bass to be repaired.  Noticing the piano, he asked if it had been in Haug's Music in Hannibal.  THAT is when I heard the tale of Albert's loving restoration of the piano from a painted and almost ruined piano to the beautiful piece she is today.  (Yes, I now feel guilty for how little we paid for the piano.)  Of course I made up the sleepless nights thing.  Albert is 93 and needs his rest!

We will be moving our store to a new location in July and this old piano will be making the journey with us.  I PROMISE, it isn't heavy at all!


  1. I was shocked when I saw this piano online. As a child, my Mom was given this 1937 model,new, by her fireman father.Sort of a guilt gift after a divorce. In the late 1940's,during a move, the wood music holder flew off in transit and shattered on the pavement.My Dad was responsible for the move and made a perfect replacement. As a toddler, I remember standing at the piano trying to play it with arms raised above my head. The keys weren't even at eye level. To this day, an outline of a cheap rubber spider is etched into the leather on top. I had placed my arachnid pet on top of the piano while I worked on"chopsticks". I remember the spanking when the damage was found and to this day don't place things on top of the piano. I am now 61 and have a fantastic grand piano full of carvings from Dresden Germany (before the bombing) and it is a thing of beauty in tone and ornamentation. I still prefer to play the little Wurlitzer Spinet.
    Tuners have offered to buy it and now I am sinking close to 1,000 to fix an age related crack in the board that holds the pins, smooth the felts,tune-up the action and strings. It is the least I can do for an old friend that survived my two children and many, many moves.Your piano looks shockingly different from the original with its deep brown leather,wooden music ledge and triangle motif music sheet holder. It is clear this particular model endears itself and survives.

  2. I have one of these Pianos. Mine has a music rack on the front of it. It looks like the late 1930s models I have seen pictures of, except for the rack on the front. I saw a picture of one with a rack and the picture was dated 1940. I got the piano for $50. The vinyl needs cleaned, not sure what to use on it, and has nicks and scratches in the wood. Plays nice.

  3. I have one of these but mine is certainly not in that great of condition and I may part with it soon. It needs some strings replaced at a bare minimum and it doesn't hold a tune all that long. I'm a bit jealous :)