Skip to content

Our Story

This is what we do and how we got here!

The Eshelby family has been involved in the piano trade for five generations.

As a family-run business (vast and substantial in terms of what we offer and the variety of our stock, but personal and purposefully limited in terms of staff), we endeavour to provide honest information, brilliant service and the best variety of quality pianos.

What does Eshelby Pianos do?

Eshelby Pianos does everything to do with pianos:

hires, sells, evaluates, buys, tunes, restores, re-polishes, paints, repairs and transports pianos to areas in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa.

Where does it operate?

The Eshelby Pianos business functions on the Winsome Valley Estate – also Deon and Jacqueline’s residence – situated in the peaceful area of the Oori Nature Reserve. The property was once the Winsome Valley Caravan Park. We have several showrooms stocked with varieties of pianos. Déon’s workshops are filled with current restoration pianos and interesting collector’s pieces.

The business operates the in and around the areas of Johannesburg and Pretoria and sometimes makes special trips to other areas in South Africa as well as arranges for the delivery of pianos wherever they can be delivered, even overseas.

Who is involved in the business?

We, Deon and Jacqueline Eshelby, are the owners of Eshelby Pianos, otherwise known as Eshelby and Sons’ Pianos.

Deon utilises his great experience and knowledge about the functioning of and various makes of pianos to buy, sell, evaluate, transport, tune, repair, paint or re-polish pianos.

Jacqueline handles basically everything else: monthly piano hire, advertising, the website, artistic finishing of pianos and shares the administration with her mother, Charmaine Muller.

Although Eshelby Pianos works with a small staff assisting with repairing and polishing pianos and antiques, staff-work is always supervised and reviewed.

Why Choose Eshelby Pianos?

We are passionate about our business and offer both quality and quantity!

As a family-run business (vast and substantial in terms of what we offer and the variety of our stock, but personal and purposefully limited in terms of staff), we endeavour to provide honest information, brilliant service and a variety of quality stock.

With a stock of about 550 pianos, over 425 of which are hired out, we offer an awesome and ever-changing array of pianos for hire and sale. We strive to provide a quality stock and feel that is why we have been successful. Deon is the only person who tunes our pianos. The tuning of Eshelby hire pianos – when necessary – is included in our contract, and this has to be proof of the quality of our pianos as Deon is able to maintain this hire service as well as well as private tunings, restoration and so on.

If that’s not enough reason, read on about our story…

Our story reads from present to past…

We are so lucky to love what we do!

Deon Eshelby was born (Rhodesia, 16 January 1974) into the piano trade and with having worked for over thirty years (having started at sixteen) has acquired a extensive knowledge about pianos. This trade fits well with Deon having always had a keen interest in antiques and restoration – his affinity and appreciation started from a young age, researching, valuing, buying, restoring and selling antique furniture when he was not at school (read more about this on our restoration page). From the early 1990’s when the business moved to Winsome Valley, Déon started handling all aspects of the day to day business of repairing, restoring, tuning, buying, selling and delivering of the pianos.

As Deon and Jacqueline Eshelby (neé Müller, born Johannesburg, 20 April 1982) started a relationship in 2006. She developed a keen interest in pianos and became much more active in the business – already hiring out pianos when they were engaged in 2007. Deon and Jacqueline married on 5 April 2008. With the birth of their first son, Jacqueline stopped teaching high school English and was able to focus more on the business. She took over the administration of the Eshelby Pianos business from Helga, excluding her and Jimmy’s hire pianos.

Although Deon was already polishing pianos, he perfected the high gloss finish and Jacqueline started experimenting with painting pianos (not something that was done at the time). Eshelby Pianos was able to match the quality of their ever-increasing stock with superior finishes.

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

― Mother Teresa

With the birth of Deon and Jacqueline’s second son, Edwin (Ted) Manfred Eshelby, on 10 February 2011, the ‘Eshelby and Sons’ title was resumed in addition to Eshelby Pianos. We were elated when Steinway Pianos posted us a lovely card to welcome the latest member of the Seinway Family as Ted was named after his great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather who was very much involved with Steinway and Sons Pianos.

Deon and Jacqueline’s third child, Jonathan (Jack) Deon Eshelby was born on 5 December 2013.

In April 2015, Jimmy and Helga Eshelby decided to break away from Eshelby Pianos and run their seperate own hire business.

Deon and Jacqueline became the sole are the owners of Eshelby Pianos. Their business had already diversified and been established independently, but it was from this point that it grew exponentially! The business became even more dynamic – it evolved and thrived!

If it has anything to do with pianos, contact Eshelby Pianos!

The Eshelby family has been involved in the piano trade for five generations.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Mr Edwin Eshelby was born in Upton St. Leonards, Gloucester, England, on 13th February 1852, the son of George Eshelby, a coachman. Edwin began his apprenticeship at the then well-established firm of Hale and Co in 1865.

Edwin Eshelby
Edwin Eshelby

Five years later, aged eighteen, he undertook the voyage to New York, America, where – according to an article from the Music Trade Review – on his second day on the continent he applied for work as a tuner at the firm of Steinway and Sons. This request was granted on his third day of his stay. With the exception of his first 6-7 years early years in America, some of which time he was also employed by Weber Piano Co., Ted Eshelby served Steinway and Sons continuously until his death. He built up a good reputation at the Steinway firm until in 1877, he returned to his homeland and was offered a position at the London headquarters, where he continued his work with Steinways. Ten years later, Edwin was promoted to the position of general manager of the London House of Steinway and Sons, Lower Seymour Street West, where it is said that he served this capacity with undiminished success until the day of his death, even selling Steinway pianos to royalty like King Edward and Queen Mother, Alexandra. Edwin Eshelby died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1912, at the age of 64.Edwin’s son, George Washington Eshelby (born New York State, North America, 9 October 1877; died 1 June 1922)followed in his father’s footsteps as a travelling representative of the firm. On his father’s death, George succeeded his father too became manager in the London House of Steinway and Sons for Great Britain and her colonies: Spain,France, other European countries and the orient.

Continuing the family tradition, George Washington’s son, Edwin Aslett Eshelby (born St. Marylebone, London 2 June 1908; died 1993) too became a travelling representative for the firm, later being based at the Hamburg factory in Germany, where he remained for a period of fifteen years. In 1939, E. A. Eshelby relocated to South Africa with his wife, Rosina (neé Schuster Schneider, born Aitenmarle, Munich, Germany, 3 March 1913), where he was based in Johannesburg as a concert tuner for Polliacks. He went on to establish Eshelby Pianos several years later, based in his house garage in African Street, Orchards, Johannesburg. E. A. Eshelby expanded his business to country areas from Witbank all the way down to Komatipoort and also Mocambique.

“Eshelby and Sons” evolved as the new name for the business when E. A. Eshelby’s sons William (Billy) Alois Eshelby (born Hamburg,Germany, 18 July 1938) and – about two years later – James (Jimmy) George Eshelby (born Johannesburg, 21 October 1940) joined their father’s company at the age of sixteen. The business moved to Murray Street in Waverly, Johannesburg, then relocated again to workshop and showroom in Orange Grove. It was in Orange Grove that the business really became very well known.

W. A. Eshelby went to work for Smith and Hall Pianos in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the early 1960s. Unfortunately, Billy had a serious motorcycle accident which impelled J. G. Eshely’s holiday in in Rhodesia to change to him working for Smith and Hall Pianos whilst W. A. Eshelby returned to his family to recover from the accident.

W. A. Eshelby and J. G. Eshelby travelled and worked in a variety of areas – including the wide areas of South Africa and Rhodesia, as well as London and Mozambique – but always remained loyal to the family Eshelby and Sons piano business, both returning to work with their father in Johannesburg.

Eshelby and Sons began hiring pianos out to customers on a daily basis for special functions and on a monthly basis for general use. It was at the stage that J. G. Eshelby’s son, Déon Eshelby (born in Rhodesia, 16 January 1974), at the typical age of sixteen, joined the business.

A few years later, the brothers left Orange Grove, and the business split into J. G. and D. Eshelby’s Eshelby and Son functioning from Lanseria, then Winsome Valley and W. A. Eshelby’s W. A. Eshelby functioning from Fourways and Lanseria, both covering the areas of Johannesburg and Pretoria. After the business moved to Winsome Valley in the early 1990’s, Déon started handling all aspects of the day to day business of repairing, restoring, tuning, buying, selling and delivering of the pianos…