Decker Bros. Concert Grand Piano

The BURLOCK-DECKER Concert Grand Piano (serial 5034) was almost certainly one of four produced by Decker Brothers for display at the 1876 Centennial Exposition (World’s Fair) in Philadelphia. The NEW YORK TIMES reported in September 1876, that the Decker Brothers exhibit was awarded First Place in the American piano division.

The instrument was privately acquired by John Lucas of Lucas Paints (later Sherwin-Williams) in Philadelphia. When Lucas passed away the Estate sold the piano to Duffy and Hughes Pianos of Philadelphia.

During the 1950’s W.L. Schryer, a piano lover from coastal Virginia, discovered and rescued the piano from the Duffy and Hughes warehouse and began the work of restoration, refinishing the original Rosewood in black lacquer.

In the mid 1960’s Frances Berman Burlock acquired it and it remained in the Burlock home in Poquoson, Virginia, for nearly fifty years where it was carefully maintained and regularly tuned. Warren Seale of Oakville, Ontario studied with Mrs. Burlock in the 1960s and took lessons on the instrument. After Frances Burlock’s death, the Burlock family decided that Seale-a musician and teacher in Oakville- should have it.

John Hall of the Canadian Piano Museum moved the piano from Virginia and undertook a complete restoration in preparation for it’s first concert performance in more than a century at St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston on November 17, 2013. This historic instrument is now part of the permanent collection of Warren Seale at Ed-Vintage Studios in Oakville.

2 Comments

  1. I have enjoyed catching up with you on your web site, Connie has also. Been a while since I saw any pictures or heard any news from my old Civics classmate. Now that just made me think of Miss Keech…I was shocked to hear of Robert Tills passing. I don’t know if you heard that Connie and I lost our older brother Frankie. I know about Derrick passing. He use to call me and he came by to see me a couple of times. He loved my album and 45 collection. Sorry for your loss even though I’m late. I’m just glad to know that you are doing so good and that you are still with us. Love you my friend.

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    1. Thanks so much Deborah. I’ve often wondered how you, Connie and Frankie have been doing over the years. I am so sorry to hear about your loss as well.
      lt has been a turbulent couple of years but the darkness was finally lifting when Covid hit. I’m ok and well. Just housebound and bored like everyone else.
      As regards Robert Till- I had no idea! I had been out of touch w/him for decades but heard (via Darrick) that he was struggling in Williamsburg. Seems like we’re all dropping like flies.
      Getting old is NOT for sissies but I guess it beats the alternative.😉
      All love to you and yours (especially Connie) and thanks so much for reaching out. Be well and Happy Thanksgiving!
      Best,
      Pigaroo

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