Lester Pianos

Origin of Lester Piano Company 

A lesser-known piano brand in today’s market, Lester pianos were most popular in the early 1900s. Established in 1888, Lester Piano Company manufactured pianos under several different names including Lester, Leonard & Co., Alden, Gounod prior to the 1920s. Some of their later piano names, before going out of business in 1960, were Lester, Betsy Ross, Bellaire, Betsy Ross Spinet, Cable & Sons, Channing, Gramer, Lawrence, Regent, Schilling, and Schubert. [1]

Based in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Lester Piano Company was an all-American piano brand in the early 1900s around the time many were beginning to purchase pianos for in-home playing. Lester marketed their pianos for being better quality than many contemporary brands, while still remaining an affordable option for the everyday American. 

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About Lester Pianos 

Perhaps the most common the Lester pianos still found today is the Betsy Ross Spinet. This was a popular model because of the size and sound, and it was available in a 37 and 40 inch and a variety of styles. Lester also marketed a piano specifically for use in schools during music classes and performances. Many of the public schools in Philadelphia have Lester pianos. [2]

In 1947, Lester PIano Company decided to pilot a new piano action with the elbows made of plastic. With the rise of plastics in the 1940s, Lester joined the bandwagon. However, the actions performed poorly and were recalled by the company later that year. A little over a decade later, the company stopped piano production altogether. 

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Restoring Lester Pianos

Even in its heyday, Lester pianos were a less expensive option for an in-home piano. For this reason, their unrestored value ranges between $500-1,000. Once restored, some of the more stylized and older Lester pianos can reach up to $20,000. To begin the process of knowing the value of your Lester piano, track down the serial number - here's a how-to guide on locating the serial number on your piano.

At Lindeblad, we know what to look for when it comes to the age, quality, and value of an antique Lester piano. Contact us today to see if your Lester piano is a good candidate for repair and restoration.

References: 

[1] Pierce, W. Robert. Pierce Piano Atlas: Anniversary Edition, 2017 Our 70th Year. Albuquerque: Ashley, 2017. Print.

[2] http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/agesl.htm 

[3] http://www.oldpianos.com/lester.htm

[4] http://www.vintageadbrowser.com/leaflets-ads-1900s/7

[5] http://tthsdelco.org/new-acquisitions/