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Sharp-eyed browser at Michigan tag sale brings home piece of Derby history

Stored under In the News on December 7, 2006 at 9:33 AM
- DERBY - Had it not been for Ed Tackach’s curiosity, a 130-year-old piece of Derby’s past might not ever have come home.

Now, because of his generosity, a historic musical instrument will grace City Hall.

While on vacation in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2003, Tackach and his wife, Penny, decided to check out a garage sale. Tackach, who was feeling a bit tired, stayed behind in the car while his wife rummaged through the antiques. However, Tackach’s curiosity got the best of him, and he ventured out to peruse the knickknacks.

He quickly spied an old upright piano sitting in the corner of the garage. Crafted of maple and oak, the piano had some nicks and scratches, but still had its original caster wheels and most of its keys were intact. Tackach, who happens to be Derby’s historian, is always on the lookout for items of historical significance, so he lifted up the piano’s lid, in hopes of learning more about the 800-pound instrument.

"I flipped open the lid, and there, in big gold letters that were in perfect shape, were the words, ‘Sterling Piano Company, Derby, CT,’" Tackach said. "I just stood there with my mouth open."

On closer inspection, Tackach discovered a second Sterling insignia, forged into the piano’s cast-iron interior.

The instrument dates back to around 1876.

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