Chickering and Sons Piano Company – An American Classic


Piano
by njj4

I have serviced many Chickering and Sons pianos over time. As is the case with numerous elder authentic piano brands that I have enjoyed, some were in a state of disrepair and others were greater maintained and yielded very a beautiful tone. Chickerings often have a full tone in the bass register but somewhat less effective in the tenor and treble than additional the brands; i.e. Mason & Hamlin, Steinway. They is good instruments for the novice, intermediate and advanced players.

One of the noticeable variations between Chickerings and Steinway or Mason & Hamlin’s is the cast metal plate and rim that is of the somewhat lighter shape. Lighter tone or structure is not the same as suggesting that Chickerings were inferior. They weren’t. They were only tailored and built with a different intention. In the United States, the late 19th Century was the Golden Age of the Music Industry. During the 1890’s, the music company was among the top industries in America. It consisted of at smallest 2 – 300 piano machines, over 100 reed organ firms, many 100 musical instrument machines, (like brass instruments) and printed music publishing companies.

The piano industry was as a result of its size, 1 of nationwide value. As an example, President Grover Cleveland was the featured speaker at the starting ceremony for the Chickering Piano Company Factory in Boston in 1887. The factory was over 200,000 square feet and called a “marvel” by the President. Other piano producers of that era include Knabe Pianoforte Company, Hazelton Piano, Steck Piano, Decker Brothers Piano Company, Mehlin Piano, Behr Brothers Piano, Strauch, Haines, Schuber, Victor Fletcher Piano, etc. Included because group were Steinway and Kimball piano businesses who were truly the only 2 producers to survive to date.

One of the key developments that enabled firms like Chickering Piano Company to thrive during the late 19th century, were production improvements that had been instituted earlier in the century. The machine tool created it potential to exactly grind and form metal components. This led to interchangeable production components, which by the 80’s all of the piano firms accepted. The assembly line came upcoming and by then broader manufacturing and output became standard together with lower costs. In 1885, a medium standard upright expense under $ 500. By the mid 1890’s, the cost dropped in half.

Of all piano firms, Chickering & Sons was the many carefully associated to the founders of the piano industry in the U.S. The Chickering family company began out with Jonas Chickering who apprenticed with all the early piano machine, John Osborn until 1823. Next he set out to build his own pianos. Jonas Chickering partnered with John MacKay. MaKay became a more of the businessman than a piano builder – craftsman. MacKay effectively advertised Chickering pianos until the early 1840’s.

Chickering had 3 sons who he had educated in the company and craft of piano building. Jonas partnered with his sons, Frank, George and Thomas in 1852 that is when they then renamed their company to Chickering and Sons Piano Company. Jonas Chickering improved upon and patented the shape of the Full Iron Plate in 1837. His oldest son Thomas Chickering helped lead the fast until 1871 until he died. Frank Chickering helped his dad out at the 1851 Worlds Fair in London. Frank Chickering recognized the value of NY City as a center of commerce and arts and opened facilities there. Additionally, he built and opened “Chickering Hall”. Chickering Pianos were usually granted top honors, wherever they were displayed.

George, the youngest brother ran the Chickering Factory until his death at the finish of the century. Chickering Piano Company was 1 of chief rivals of the Steinway Piano Company. By 1895, Steinway had perfectly overshadowed Chickering in sales and standing. Chickering and Sons was eventually taken over by American Piano Company. A big amount of Chickering and Sons pianos stay in people’s homes throughout the U.S. to the day, specifically in the northeast.

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