Finding Serial Numbers to Date Packard Organs 1872-1913
Action Serial Numbers: These numbers are stamped into the back edge of the reed cell board on the treble end of the action. In addition to action serial numbers, there usually is also a style number in the area such as st43. (Style numbers are not used to date organs.) These numbers are accessed by opening the back panel. They will appear upside down from the back. Below are examples of action and style numbers 1292 st.13 (c.1873); 8514 st.18 (c.1881); and 31135 st.43 (1892):
Warranty Serial Numbers: 1872 – 1887: Warranty serial numbers were assigned at the factory when it was being readied for shipment. It was applied to a small paper certificate that was either glued or tacked inside the organ’s back panel. Sometimes it was glued on the outside of the back panel. Examples are shown below of numbers 8318 (c.1873) and 24118 (1884):
Warranty Serial Numbers: 1888-c. 1913: The style of the warranty certificates changed to a larger size paper certificate. This was glued or tacked inside the organ and accessed by opening the back panel. Examples are shown below of numbers 61601 (1897) and 103787 (1907):
In addition to the paper certificate, this number was also stamped into the outside back panel, even on chapel organs. In the case of parlor organs, the number was stamped into each section. Usually above the access door. The size of the digits are small and difficult to see. Sometimes shining a light across the back will help to expose them. Unfortunately, sometimes this number was not stamped or has become illegible. I surmise that this number was stamped into the wood as a backup for the paper certificate as they seem often be missing. Examples of warranty certificate numbers stamped into the back of organs are show below.