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date: 23 January 2020

Mason & Hamlinlocked

  • Margaret Cranmer
  •  and Barbara Owen


American firm of piano and reed organ makers . It was founded in Boston in 1854 by Henry Mason (1831–90), son of the composer Lowell Mason, and Emmons Hamlin (1821–85). Hamlin had previously been employed by the George A. Prince melodeon factory as superintendent of tuning, in which capacity he had developed the art of voicing free reeds to produce imitative effects; this system ultimately led to the development of the modern theatre organ. The firm’s first instruments were of the traditional melodeon type; it soon began making larger models with a greater variety of stops, and in 1861 changed the name of these products to ‘cabinet organ’ (sometimes referred to as the ‘flat top’ melodeon). By 1867, when it was awarded a first prize at the Paris Exposition, the firm was manufacturing about a quarter of the reed organs produced in the USA. In the 1890s its models ranged from the tiny ‘Baby’ organ (introduced ...

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