Vintage Ludwig and Company Piano Restoration

Vintage Ludwig and Company Piano Restoration

My Love for Pianos Started Early

I have always loved the sight and sounds of a piano since I was a young girl. Classical music was a fundamental part of my childhood in ballet lessons and quietly playing in the background of my grandparents home. I was so mesmerized by the fluidity of the pianists hands on the piano keys and the amazing melodious sounds it produced.

In my Freshman year of college at LSU, I took private piano lessons and learned to play “When the Saints go Marching In” but without much practice over the Summer, I quickly forgot what little knowledge I had gained and transitioned back into a music enthusiast rather than musician. 

Fast forward about 25 years to the pandemic (yes something good actually came out of that!). My youngest son taught himself to play the piano with an iPhone app on a keyboard and my passion for piano instantly came flooding back! Since then, I’ve been on the hunt for an upright vintage piano both for aesthetics and also obvious space saving considerations.

Over these past few years, I have found a few on Facebook Marketplace but my husband Skip was a firm NO…and he’s never a firm NO. The thought of the logistics of moving such a heavy piece and the space it would take up in our home was completely unappealing to him. So I quietly waited, searched and maybe even plotted against him a little until I found the piano that was meant to be ours!

It All Came Together on a Random Sunday

On a random Sunday, I was doing my usual Facebook Marketplace browsing for hidden gems when I saw the vintage Ludwig & Co piano. As luck would have it, the seller was actually a relative of mine! When I reached out, I initially asked about the condition and history thinking the piano was his, but he explained that the piano was actually abandoned in one of his storage facilities. I immediately knew I needed to rescue this beauty…but Skip was still a firm NO. Ughhh. After reaching out and politely declining to buy the piano, it was offered to us for FREE! This was just enough to peak Skip’s interest and when he actually saw the piano, it was a done deal!!

Everyone Survived the Move

Now of course all of this is taking place in the dead heat of Summer in the middle of a heat advisory. But once Skip is determined, there’s no going back! He built a special ramp out of wood to move the piano up onto the trailer and into our house (which is elevated ~4 feet from ground level!). We rented a U-haul trailer and set out in the middle of the day to rescue our princess!

Vintage Piano Restoration

There were lots of scary moments, including one moment when the piano almost toppled off of the ramp onto the cement driveway and when Skip got dizzy from pushing the piano up the ramp in the blistering heat, but in the end…everyone survived the move! I made a short Instagram video about the process that you can watch here.


Ludwig and Company Upright Piano

Uncovering the Beauty

On our initial visit to check out the piano, it appeared overall to be excellent condition. All of the keys and the wood exterior seemed to be intact. However,  once we got the piano home we realized a previous owner tried to strip the varnish finish off the piano and apparently stopped in the middle of the job. There were even areas on the piano with dried stripping gel! 

Vintage Piano Restoration

Thankfully, when we had the piano tuned by an amazingly knowledgeable tuner, he showed Skip how to remove most of the wood panels on the exterior making the job of sanding so much easier and also allowing us to see the literal inner beauty of the piano! More about that later.

We sparingly used QCS Nontoxic Stripper to remove the previous stripping debris and also the remaining varnish. With the QCS and fine grit sand paper we were able to remove the varnish but keep the original stain color which is the perfect gorgeous medium brown! 

Vintage Piano Restoration

Seeing the Inner Beauty

As I mentioned earlier, the piano tuner showed Skip how to remove the exterior panels to expose the strings and vintage cast iron harp and WOW! He explained that this was common in the 1920s when the piano was crafted to increase the volume. And the piano is truly so much louder when played this way. But the real benefit for me is seeing all of the gorgeous vintage goodness hidden inside this piano! Such a stunner right???

Vintage piano restoration

Vintage Piano Resoration

Vintage Piano restoration

The Legacy of Ludwig and Company

The Vintage Ludwig and Company Upright Piano made in 1920 is a true gem! With its rich history and exceptional craftsmanship, this piano stands out among other uprights of the period.

Ludwig and Company was  a renowned name in the early United States piano industry. Established in the late 19th century, Ludwig and Company quickly gained a reputation for producing high-quality instruments. Their upright pianos, in particular, became highly sought after for their exceptional sound and durability. Our vintage Ludwig is a true testament to both!

The Craftsmanship of the Upright Piano

The Upright Piano by Ludwig and Company was a pinnacle of craftsmanship of that era. Each piano was meticulously handcrafted by skilled artisans, ensuring the highest level of precision and attention to detail. The use of premium materials and traditional construction techniques contributes to the piano's exceptional sound quality and longevity. Based our piano's serial number, it was crafted in 1920. 

The Timeless Design

One of the most captivating aspects of this Vintage Ludwig and Company Upright Piano is its timeless design. Even after over one hundred years, the classic design still looks beautiful in my home today. The elegant curves, classic details, and rich wood finish exude a sense of sophistication and grandeur from the period. This piano not only serves as a musical instrument but also as a stunning piece of furniture that adds so much charm to our home. 

A Piece of History

For our family, owning this Vintage Ludwig and Company Upright Piano made in 1920 means owning a piece of history. This piano has witnessed the passage of time, preserving the melodies of the past and carrying the legacy of its previous owners. It serves as a reminder of the craftsmanship and artistry of a bygone era and we are so proud to be the caretakers!

This piano is a true masterpiece that combines exceptional craftsmanship, timeless design, and unparalleled sound. Owning this piano is not only a privilege but also a connection to the rich history of Ludwig and Company. Whether you're a pianist, a collector, or an admirer of fine craftsmanship, this vintage instrument is sure to captivate your heart and soul just as much as it has ours!

Vintage Ludwig and Company Piano


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