Books which give number dates are known as "Piano Atlases" after the original - Michel's Piano Atlas, which later became the Pierce Piano Atlas.
Others include the Europe Piano Atlas, and also the Musicians' Piano Atlas, for which I supplied amendments, and an appendix with action and key numbers, although that information has been updated and improved in this page.
Only a minority of piano makers have ever published dates of their serial numbers, and many of these are incorrect or misleading, so on this page, I have only included dates for which I have some evidence. If you open the top of a piano and peer inside, you will often find one or more numbers in there.Many numbers do not correspond to the instruments, including those for Aeolian, Allison, Aucher, Bauer, Bentley, Bluthner, Bord, Brinsmead, Broadwood, Cadby, Cecilian, Chappell, Clementi, Collard, Eavestaff, Erard, Gors & Kallmann, Hopkinson, Jarrett & Goudge, Karn, Kirkman, Knauss, Koch & Korselt, Kuhse, Monington & Weston, Murdoch, Nelson, Nunns, Perkins, Pleyel, Ritmuller, Rordorf, Spencer, Schiedmayer, Schroder, Spencer, Steck, Stodart, Tolkien, W. Neither do the little Bristol Miniature pianos, which he wrongly attributes to Duck, Son & Pinker.I used to tune one of these for an old lady until, unable to sell it, she stored it in the loft, where it probably fell to bits rather quickly!The majority of pianos cannot be reliably dated by their serial numbers, and you only have to look at the listings here for Collard or Eavestaff to understand why.
There is a widespread belief that numbers are the be-all-and-end-all for dating pianos, but the length of this page should indicate to you that it is not that simple, and I do not intend to perpetuate the myth by blindly repeating other people’s lists, although I have included some confirmed dates in the second section, .I am grateful to the Castle Museum, York, for lists of piano serial number dates compiled by Mr D. Most of these lists end around 1935-6, so we imagine that they were collected at that time.