Kohler & Campbell "Tom Thumb"
Every now and then, I am challenged with rebuilding an instrument that really belongs in the junk yard. Against my recommendation, I was paid to repair and refinish this piano. I later discovered that Irving Berlin and his wife played this "Tom Thumb" in the Club Holland (or Holland Tavern) in Soho, NY, now known as the West Village. Located on Watts St. between Veric and 6th Ave (which later became the Avenue of the Americas), Irving and Ellen are said to have spent many hours playing this piano. It is also said by Elizabeth Paggioli, neice of the owner, that Irving started composing the song "I'll Never Smile Again" for his wife while visiting the tavern, which was very popular during the 30's.
Below are some of the many pictures I took of this instrument which graphically depict the damage and the final results. According to the owner, who collects numerous antiques, she has received more glowing comments about this piano than any other piece in her collection. In return for the small fee I charged, I was allowed to spend as long as I wanted to do the work. It took me almost three years to complete this job. It became a labor of love.
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This page was created on December 19, 1997 by John A. Tuttle.
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