Broadwood pianos were dated from 1780 until 1805, and less frequently until about 1809.
This gives us a nearly gap free dating of Broadwood squares.
Clementi picked up with the second series and continued as below.
There is some confusion as to exactly which dated pianos match to given serial numbers due to the following problem: When Clementi took over, they continued the numbering scheme established by Longman and Borderip, and continued to stamp this number in the left-hand cheek well as with earlier pianos.
Style and construction are strong indicators of the general period a piano was made.
The earliest pianos are all petite in appearance, generally shallow in case height, and less than 5 feet long.
A typical early name plaque Atypically, James Longman had a tradition of NOT putting the date on the name board, such that Longman and Lukey/ Longman and Broderip are typically undated.
Only in their last two years of production do we find L&B pianos occasionally with the date of 1796. A second general style sat the piano on a “French Frame” or apron stand that fully enclosed the bottom edge of the piano, and often allowed a lower shelf for music or similar.
With the understanding that the information presented here is subject to refinement and updating, we will begin with a few of the better known firms and move to the lesser known pianos as information builds up.Turned legs replaced square tapered legs, and added embellishments of brass collars, turned and reeded, teardrop shapes, etc. 2011, SN 15123, so ~1821, with 4 original legs), returns to four legs, turned or octaganol in shape, which would continue in Europe until the end of square piano production.American pianos would move into ornate cabriole carved legs, sometimes with astonishing designs.Occasionally other legs styles were also used such as pedestals, lyres, and other fanciful leg shapes.In addition to style, we can sometimes further refine our dating from the serial number that may be on the piano.