- 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....