1-20 of 374 results  for:

  • Instrument Maker x
  • The Americas x
Clear all

Article

Robert E. Eliason

(b Dunstable, NH, Aug 21, 1783; d Milford, NH, March 16, 1864). American brass instrument maker. He invented a valve with movable tongues or flaps within the windway. A trumpet in F by Adams with three such valves is displayed on board the USS Constitution; it dates from about 1830. A similar instrument, unsigned, with three primitive rotary valves, is in the Essig Collection, Warrensburg, Missouri. Adams is listed as a musical instrument maker in Longworth’s American Almanack, New-York Register, and City Directory for 1824. For the next four years he was bandmaster on the USS Constitution. About 1828 he settled in Lowell, Massachusetts, continuing there as a musical instrument maker until 1835. The latter part of his life was spent as a machinist and repairer of ships’ chronometers in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was the composer of at least one published song, The Ruins of Troy, written while on board the ...

Article

Albert  

Philip J. Kass

Family of violin makers and dealers. John Albert (b Liel, Baden, Germany, 24 June 1809; d Philadelphia, PA, 2 Jan 1900) began as an engineer and inventor. He came to New York from Freiburg, Germany, in 1854 as a refugee of the 1848 revolution, settling in Philadelphia where in 1857 established a shop. His particular interest was in commercial violin manufacture, in which he held several patents; he established the American Star violin factory which, after his retirement in 1887, was run by his son Eugene John Albert (b Freiburg, 1851; d Philadelphia, 1922). The E.J. Albert firm, under other ownership, continued well into the 1950s.

John’s eldest son, Charles Francis Albert (b Freiburg, Germany, 25 Dec 1842; d Philadelphia, PA, 1 July 1901), established his own shop in Philadelphia in 1865. His interest was in fine instruments and repairs, and as such gained wide respect and admiration. His son and successor, Charles Francis Albert Jr. (...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(b Germany, 1759/60; d Montgomery, PA, June 28, 1848). American piano maker of German birth. He was active in Philadelphia as a piano maker by the 1790s, probably arriving there on the ship Hamburgh in October 1785. (His marriage to Maria Fuchs is listed in the records of St Michael′s and Zion′s Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, for 17 June 1787; they had no children.) His name appears in tax records, census entries and city directories from 1788 until his death in 1848. First described as a “joiner,” he is listed in newspapers and real estate documents as “Musical Instrument Maker” at the address of 95 Vine Street from 1791 to at least 1824, when he retired from piano making but continued to purchase property in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. Albrecht made some of the earliest surviving American square pianos, over 20 of which are still extant (four are at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the date of ...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(b Hanover, Jan 6, 1788; d Philadelphia, PA, March 1843). American piano maker of German birth. He immigrated to the United States, arriving in Philadelphia on 17 October 1822, and from 1823 to 1824 ran a business there at 106 St John Street; from 1830 to 1843 his address was 144 South 3rd Street. On his death his small business was bequeathed to his wife Maria. His pianos exhibit excellent craftsmanship; pianos by him (one upright and one square) at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, are in empire style and have six octaves. No relationship between Christian Albrecht, Charles Albrecht, and Albrecht & Co. has yet been established....

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

(b Hanover, Jan 6, 1788; d Philadelphia, March 1843). American piano maker of German birth. He emigrated to the USA, arriving in Philadelphia on 17 October 1822, and from 1823 to 1824 ran a business there at 106 St John Street; from 1830 to 1843 his address was 144 South 3rd Street. On his death his small business was bequeathed to his wife Maria. His pianos exhibit excellent craftsmanship; pianos by him (one upright and one square) at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, are in empire style and have six octaves. No relationship between Christian Albrecht, Charles Albrecht and Albrecht & Co. has yet been established....

Article

Robert E. Eliason

(b Holland, MA, Sept 24, 1815; dc1905). American brass instrument maker. About 1853 he designed a very efficient rotary valve, featuring flattened windways, string linkage, and enclosed stops. This valve was very successful in the USA during the second half of the 19th century. Other makers who adopted the Allen valve included B.F. Richardson, D.C. Hall, and B.F. Quinby, all of whom had at one time worked with Allen; Henry Lehnert, who worked in Boston for a time before moving to Philadelphia; and E. Glier of Cochecton, New York.

Allen began making brass instruments about 1838 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, a short distance from his birthplace. He moved to Boston in 1842 and is known to have worked in Norwich, Connecticut, from 1846 to 1849; in 1852 he returned to Boston. He is known to have made at least one keyed bugle early in his career, and a number of instruments with double-piston Vienna valves. During the late 1850s in Boston his flat-windway valve won respect among leading musicians and his instruments received favourable comment at mechanics exhibitions. From ...

Article

Barbara Owen

(b Kennebunk, ME, March 4, 1804; d Newburyport, MA, March 8, 1880). American organ builder. He is said to have learnt about organbuilding from a Dr Furbush in Kennebunk, and began making reed organs at the age of 18. In 1826 he moved to Newburyport, where he eventually built 37 church organs, the largest in 1834 for the Unitarian Church in Newburyport. His fame, however, derives from the experimental ‘euharmonic’ (enharmonic) organs built between 1849 and 1851 in conjunction with Henry Ward Poole (1826–90) and Henry James Hudson (b 1821). These organs, while having a normal keyboard, had more than one pipe for each black key (e.g. both C♯ and D♭ pipes), and the intervals were tuned pure rather than tempered. To bring the proper pipes into operation the player depressed a selector pedal for the desired tonality. Alley and Poole patented the device on ...

Article

Andover  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1955 by Thomas W. Byers and Charles Brenton Fisk in North Andover, Massachusetts. It moved shortly afterwards to Methuen, Massachusetts, and in 1961 to Gloucester, Massachusetts, being renamed C.B. Fisk, Inc. A new Andover Organ Co. was formed in Methuen by two former employees, Leo Constantineau (b Lawrence, MA, 1 Nov 1924; d North Andover, MA, 1 Feb 1979) and Robert J. Reich (b Urbana, IL, 15 Dec 1929). Beginning modestly with rebuilding and restoration work, the firm soon began attracting contracts for new organs such as that for St John’s Lutheran Church, Northfield, Minnesota (1965). This organ, like several subsequent instruments, was designed by Constantineau and voiced and finished by Reich. In this same period a small continuo positive was designed, several examples of which have been built. The firm later became a multiple partnership with Robert Reich as president, Donald Olson as vice-president, and Donald Reich as treasurer. In ...

Article

Laurence Libin

(b Stephentown, New York, April 1, 1799; d Utica, New York, Oct 8, 1862). American organ builder. Trained as a cabinetmaker, he was apparently self-taught in organ building and began producing small reed organs in Waterville, New York, in 1834; two years later he turned to making pipe organs with the assistance of Henry T. Levi, a former employee of the Hook firm in Boston, Massachusetts. By 1852 his company, relocated to Utica, New York, was the sixth largest pipe organ manufactory in the USA. John G. Marklove joined the firm in 1854, when Levi left to work in Massachusetts. The Andrews firm, continued by Alvinza’s son, George Norton Andrews (1832–1904), built perhaps 300 pipe organs over 67 years, as many as 12 per year at peak production but with output declining from the early 1870s, when their tracker-action instruments and conservative tonal designs became increasingly old-fashioned, as did their methods of manufacture. Alvinza Andrews’s earlier success was due largely to completion of the Erie and Chenango canals, which lowered the cost and simplified transport of heavy goods over a large, rapidly developing area. As the most prolific organ builder in upstate New York, Andrews was the cornerstone of a significant school of builders that developed in Oneida County. His firm received commissions from across New York State, including Manhattan, and from clients as distant as Chicago and Washington, DC. Before ...

Article

Robert E. Eliason

(b 1736; d Philadelphia, Dec 29, 1804). American woodwind instrument maker of German birth. He was one of the earliest woodwind makers to take his skills to the New World. He arrived in Philadelphia about 1764 and continued in business as a turner and musical instrument maker until his death in ...

Article

Barbara Owen

(b Boston, Dec 26, 1785; d Reading, MA, July 11, 1872). American organ builder. Apprenticed as a young man to a Boston cabinet maker, Appleton entered the workshop of William Marcellus Goodrich in 1805. From 1810 to 1820 both men were associated with the Franklin Musical Warehouse, building church and chamber organs, pianos and claviorgans. During this period Appleton assisted Goodrich in building organs, but also made pianos in partnership with Lewis and Alpheus Babcock (Babcock, Appleton & Babcock, 1811–14) and Charles and Elna Hayt (Hayts, Babcock & Appleton, 1814–15). In 1821 Appleton became an independent organ builder, quickly gaining a reputation and securing important commissions. Between 1847 and 1850 Thomas D. Warren was his partner, having served with him as an apprentice; in the latter year Appleton moved his workshop from Boston to Reading, Massachusetts, where he worked until his retirement in 1868. Appleton’s most important work was carried out between ...

Article

ARP  

Hugh Davies

American company of Synthesizer manufacturers. It was founded as ARP Instruments by Alan R. Pearlman (and named from his initials) in Newton Highlands, near Boston, in 1970; it later moved to nearby Newton and Lexington. Models included the modular ARP 2500 (1970; for illustration see Synthesizer), the Odyssey (...

Article

David Gansz

(b England, c1816; d Wolcottville [now Torrington], CT, Dec 7, 1876). American guitar, banjo, and string manufacturer, and inventor, of English birth. He established America’s first guitar factory, producing approximately 11,000 instruments from 1842–64, triple that of his competitor C.F. Martin. Immigrating to New York sometime before 1840, Ashborn evidently became associated with wholesaler/retailer Firth, Hall, and Pond’s Fluteville woodwind factory (acquired from Asa Hopkins and Jabez Camp) on the Naugatuck River near Litchfield, Connecticut. From 1842–7 this facility produced guitars characterized by Spanish design elements (body shape, fan bracing, and tie-bridges), apparently informed by an imported Panormo guitar they sold a decade earlier. Following their separation into William Hall & Son and Firth, Pond & Co., in 1848 Ashborn started his own two-story, 16-room guitar factory eight miles upriver in Daytonville (now Torrington) adjacent to Arvid Dayton’s reed organ factory, selling guitars exclusively to these two firms (and their ...

Article

Astor  

Niall O’Loughlin

English and American firm of instrument makers, publishers and dealers. The two founders were the sons of Jacob Astor, a merchant of Mannheim. George [Georg] (Peter) Astor (b Waldorf [now Walldorf], nr Heidelberg, April 28, 1752; d London, Dec 1813), after an initial visit to London, decided to establish a business there with his brother John [Johann] Jacob Astor (b Waldorf, July 17, 1763; d New York, 29/March 30, 1848). This operated as George & John Astor at 26 Wych Street c 1778–83. In 1783 John left for the USA to sell flutes. He rapidly also became involved in the fur trade and built up a highly profitable business exporting furs to England and importing musical instruments for sale in the USA. In 1809 he established a fur trading company; this and the purchase of land in the Bowery laid the foundations of the Astor wealth....

Article

Frank Kidson

revised by H. G. Farmer

(b Waldorf [now Walldorf], nr Heidelberg, Germany, 1763; d New York, NY, 29/March 30, 1848).

American instrument maker and importer. He went to London to join his brother George [Georg] Astor (b Waldorf, c1760), who had gone to England about 1778; together they started business as flute makers, their firm operating as George & John Astor from 1782 to 1797 or 1798. In 1783 John Jacob came to the United States with a small consignment of flutes, visiting another brother who had settled in Baltimore. The value of his stock of flutes is said to have been only about £5, but on advice given him by a fellow voyager he invested the proceeds of his sales in furs and by selling these in England made a handsome profit. He returned to the United States and quickly profited by fur trading and by the sale of musical instruments sent to him from England. By ...

Article

Barbara Owen

(b Elgin, Scotland, Sept 6, 1838; d Bloomfield, NJ, 21 June, 1925). American organ designer, architect, author and art expert of Scottish birth. After working as an architect in England, he immigrated to New York City in 1892, where he worked for a short time with his brother William in the architectural firm of W. & G. Audsley. His interests were widespread, and he wrote several books on architecture, oriental art, and religious symbolism. One of his major interests, however, was the organ. He consulted on various church organ projects, had an organ in his home built to his own design, and was instrumental in the design of the five-manual organ built in 1904 by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company for Festival Hall at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, upon which the noted French organist Alexandre Guilmant performed 40 recitals. This organ was later purchased by John Wanamaker, and became the foundation of the large organ in Wanamaker’s Philadelphia department store. Audsley was the author of four influential works on organ design: ...

Article

Barbara Owen

(b Podington, Bedfordshire, UK, May 16, 1869; d Hartford, CT, Sept 17, 1948).

American organ builder of English birth. His father, Jonathan, was a gentleman farmer who is also credited with having built three small organs, one of which is still in use in a church in Denton, England. J.T. Austin immigrated to the United States in 1889, and was employed by the organ firm of Farrand & Votey in Detroit, where he soon became foreman. There he first conceived a radically different system of organ construction called the “universal wind-chest” system, which consisted of an individual pipe-valve chest, the lower portion of which was a walk-in air chamber with a regulator. Pipe valves were attached to thin wooden trace for each note, operated by a small pneumatic motor. Stop action was first by means of sliders; later a pivoting fulcrum affecting the valves was utilized. Farrand & Votey appear to have shown no interest in Austin’s design, and in ...

Article

Keith G. Grafing

revised by Darcy Kuronen

(b Dorchester, MA, Sept 11, 1785; d Boston, April 3, 1842). American piano maker. He began his career as an apprentice to Benjamin Crehore, as did his brother Lewis (b 13 Feb 1779; d Milton, MA, 14 Jan 1814); the brothers had their own firm from 1809 to 1811. Alpheus Babcock worked for, supplied pianos for, or was a partner in the following firms: Babcock, Appleton & Babcock (Boston, 1811–14); Hayts, Babcock & Appleton (Boston, 1814–15); J.A. Dickson (Boston); Christopher Hall (Norfolk, Virginia); John, Ruth and G.D. Mackay (Boston, 1822–9); J.G. Klemm (Philadelphia, 1830–32); William Swift (Philadelphia, 1832–7); and Chickering (Boston, 1837–42). His most significant contribution to the evolution of the piano was his invention of a one-piece cast-iron frame including hitch-pin plate, for which he received a patent on 17 December 1825. This invention is regarded as the basis for subsequent piano frame development. His patents for ‘cross-stringing’ (...

Article

Edward H. Tarr

[Schrottenbach, Vinzenz]

(b Baden, nr Vienna, March 24, 1890; d New York, Jan 8, 1976). American brass instrument maker of Austrian birth. He played the violin as a child and studied the trumpet (cornet) with Josef Weiss and Georg Stellwagen. In 1910 he earned a degree in mechanical engineering at the Maschinenbauschule in Wiener Neustadt. After a year as an Austrian navy bandsman, he studied the solo cornet repertory with Fritz Werner in Wiesbaden (1911–12), then toured as a cornet virtuoso in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Poland and England, arriving in New York in September 1914. While continuing his solo career in the USA, he played a season as assistant first trumpet with the Boston SO (1914–15) and a season as first trumpet with Dyaghilev’s ballet orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera House (1915–16). In 1916–18 he was bandmaster of the 306th Field Artillery Regiment. He became an American citizen in ...

Article

Edmund J. Britt

Banjo manufacturer. It was founded in 1921 in Groton, Connecticut, by FRED BACON, a 5-string banjo performer, inventor, and publisher. The company is best known for the instruments developed after DAVID L. DAY, a veteran of the Fairbanks and Vega companies, joined Bacon’s firm in Sept 1922. Their flagship B&D Silver Bell, introduced in June 1923, is still considered one of the most desirable banjos of the Jazz Age. Day standardized Bacon’s quality control and further modularized banjo construction, so that any neck would fit any rim—with only minor adjustments. This allowed “just-in-time” assembly, to fill orders more efficiently.

During the 1920s the Silver Bell line was expanded with the lavish ebony and ivory “Ne Plus Ultra” models. Bacon’s endorsers included top stars of Vaudeville, dance orchestras, radio, and recordings: Ray “Montana” Coleman, Roy Smeck, Perry Bechtel, Eddie Connors, and many others. The Depression required the company to lower costs. The use of celluloid overlays increasingly replaced wood and pearl inlays. Notable 1930s models were the Senorita, Serenader, Sultana, Symphonie, and Montana....