This article got a visceral response from me. Apparently, perfectly good pianos, some of them antiques by famous makers, are being dumped and destroyed en masse:
The Knabe baby grand did a cartwheel and landed on its back, legs poking into the air. A Lester upright thudded onto its side with a final groan of strings, a death-rattling chord. After 10 pianos were dumped, a small yellow loader with a claw in front scuttled in like a vicious beetle, crushing keyboards, soundboards and cases into a pile.
The site, a trash-transfer station in this town 20 miles north of Philadelphia, is just one place where pianos go to die. This kind of scene has become increasingly common.
The value of used pianos, especially uprights, has plummeted in recent years. So instead of selling them to a neighbor, donating them to a church or just passing them along to a relative, owners are far more likely to discard them, technicians, movers and dealers say. Piano movers are making regular runs to the dump, becoming adept at dismantling instruments, selling parts to artists, even burning them for firewood.
“We bust them up with a sledgehammer,” said Jeffrey Harrington, the owner of Harrington Moving & Storage in Maplewood, N.J.
The story? People don't want to pay the costs of moving them, keeping them tuned and repairing them, and competition from new digital pianos at much lower prices is fierce.
So these fine instruments simply end up being destroyed, after a lifetim eof making beautiful music:
O’Mara Meehan Piano Movers said it takes 5 to 10 pianos a month to the debris transfer site here. The company was founded in 1874 by the great-grandfather of the brothers Bryan and Charles T. O’Mara Jr.
Bryan O’Mara and an employee, James A. Fox, drove their truck into a hangarlike structure one day last week. Inside the truck were six uprights and four grands. Several came from the Philadelphia school system and one from a retirement home. “This was Mrs. Dombrowski’s from New Hope,” Mr. O’Mara said, patting the Knabe.
Mr. O’Mara and Mr. Fox pushed them off the back of the truck one by one. The top of an upright popped off when it landed. Mr. Fox tossed amputated piano legs and a pedal mechanism. Sprayers from above sent out a swirl of dust-settling mist, adding to the surreal atmosphere.
Mr. O’Mara had charged the former owners about $150 per piano. The trash site charged him $233.24 for dumping them all. A recycling company would pick up the debris and separate the wood from the metal.
Beethoven Pianos, a restorer, renter, mover and dealer in New York, has a 34,000-square-foot warehouse at the base of the Third Avenue Bridge in the Bronx, with scores of pianos awaiting disposal, said the owner, Carl Demler.
“In wintertime we burn them,” he said, pointing to a round metal stove. “This one has eaten many pianos.”
Many of these instruments were made back when craftsmanship actually mattered. They were made of real wood, often in quality joined or pegged cabinets and designed to be more than just a musical instrument, but a sign of culture and beauty in the home.
Any society that treats these items in such a fashion, as disposable items, is incurring a kind of cultural sickness.
Not much more I can say about this.