Looking forward to more.
A few years ago, I copied / photographed several out of very old Etude magazines and shared them here. I'll see if I can find them in the archives.
That led me to hunting for the old mfgs that were located in the same local in Boston and I found several of the old factory buildings and info on them via old Boston maps. Kept me busy during the winter snowstorms!
Map found here - enlarge and look for piano mfg:http://www.wardmaps.com/viewasset.php?aid=382#
copy of my old post:
" and more....
A recent find of an invoice that my Great Grandfather purchased a WENTWORTH UPRIGHT GRAND PIANO made in Boston 1890 sent me on a search to find out more about this piano, the era, and what other Piano Mfg might have been in business and in the same local. See post…
Wentworth Family Invoice 1890
The 43 Bristol St location is no longer in existence on a google map search for Boston so I decided to hunt down some old Boston maps. And there started my search for the mysterious WENTWORTH PIANO MFG. CO.
It was not easy to find old maps that one could access up close to see not only the addresses but the businesses which were located there. I did find a site which I will use as links below. http://www.wardmaps.com/
A Great site!
They are in business and you can order detailed maps after you do some investigation of just what you might like to order. I hope that they do not mind my links since some of you might be interested in ordering their maps.
I located where the WENTWORTH PIANO MFG CO was on 43 Bristol St, Boston, 1890 and dates before and aft, but there were no signs on that particular building ever stating that Wentworth Pianos had a business there. Must have been a rather small company, or just an outlet. I found at that location a block of connected buildings that had plaining (planing), cpts (carpets,) art furniture, etc and the blank #43 door.
Bristol St was much later renamed Paul Sullivan Way and is located in the South End of Boston, near where the Flower Exchange is now located on Albany St, and near 560 Harrison St, which is parallel to Albany St.
I did virtual tours and it seems that the building is still there!http://www.wardmaps.com/viewmap.php?map_id=216#
Plate 17 1890 Boston South End
So I wondered, just why might have the Wentworth Piano Mfg Co set up business there?
And that started searching the area for other mfg in the community.
It was interesting to see that this area seems to be the MECCA of PIANO MANUFACTURERS of the time!
The blocks with the most concentration of Piano Mfg were at Harrison St, which is parallel to Albany St to the southeast, and on the opposite side, parallel to Washington St. Each of these streets had perpendicular streets which are mentioned below. All are a few blocks from one another.
I found EMERSON PIANO CO, EVERETT PIANO CO, MASON & HAMLIN PIANO MFG, HALLET & DAVIS PIANO MGF CO., BAY STATE ORGANS, McPHAIL PIANO CO, no name PIANO MFG, NEW ENGLAND ORGAN WORKS all in the same area. (future investigations found CHICKERING PIANO which was the 2nd largest piano mfg buildings in USA at the time located closer to Boston City Proper and in business there much earlier as was MH as an Organ Co, location unknown to me).
They were not all in business at the same time nor in the same locations but research on the Map Plates of 1874, 1883, 1890, 1895, 1902, 1917, 1922, 1928 show their locations.
So I quickly realized that Wentworth set up their shop in a neighborhood of Piano Mfg Shops!
So, why did they set up shop there at that local in Boston?
My conclusion from studying the maps was that the location had immediate access to lumber, case makers, ironworks, brassworks, plaining/planing shops, architectural woodworks, coal, electricity, large brick mfg buildings, shipping, railroad, and the elevated railway to make this an ideal location.
The shock to me was the shipping area! There were docks located within a block or two on SOUTH HARBOR, which is now filled in. This would be on Albany St. opposite where the buildings mentioned in this article. Not far from these docks became the huge metro South Station Railroad Terminal. But at the time, on these docks on the SE side of Albany, were numberous lumber yards, coal yards, storage facilities etc.
I'll share some of my notes:
Bay State Mills Planing Co. has long row buildings at the corner of Bristol and Albany going up Bristol to Harrison. Future or current locaton of WENTWORHT PIANO , NEW ENGLAND ORGAN, BAY STATE ORGAN.
Across the street is Boston Ladder #3. And future sight of many Fire Dept care facilities.
Several blocks down Harrison St (away from the city proper) HALLET & DAVIS PIANO MFG is at the corner of East Cranton and East Brookline. This is nearby the Catholic Cathedral (to be later named Cathedral of the Holy Cross). HALLET & DAVIS is located near the New England Conservatory.
There are buildings located at what will become EMERSON PIANO which and later becomes home to MASON & HAMLIN, but no names now. Location revealed later.
Many of the lumber yards, coal yards, storage facilities are mentioned above.
On the other side of Albany St. is the city Swill house. Hmmm....
Back on Bristol St, CB Hunt & Co and the Planing Co. Carpet Stores, Art Furniture are located next to/near 43 Bristol St, home of Wentworth Pianos where Simeon Meserve (my ancestor) purchased his piano . Land owned by NJ Bradley.
EMERSON PIANO is listed on corner of Harrison and Randolph (one block over from Bristol)
PIANO CASES are listed as part of the lumber yd on Harrison St.
BAY STATE ORGANS listed on Bristol
EVERETT PIANO CO listed on half the block on Albany a few blocks south.
A block up and parallel to Harrison St is Washington St and there is a large round building in between a few named streets that is listed as PIANO FACTORY . I never found the mfg name and it became Continental Storage Warehouse later.
HALLET AND DAVIS is shown at 770 Harrison, building might still be standing.
The larger EMERSON /MH buildings are still not named at Harrison/Waltham/Union. Owner of land/buildings is PH Powers. Named on another map at the corner of Harrison/Waltham/Union. So Emerson had TWO Locations. Randolph St seems to vacated later as the buildings grew at this location.
NEW ENGLAND ORGAN WORKS on Wareham St, 2 blocks over from EVERETT PIANO
GRAND OPERA HOUSE shows up on Washington St.
BAY STATE ORGANS is located at the end of Bristol, but still no name on #43 for WENTWORTH PIANO CO.
EVERETT PIANO CO has now grown to one full block on Albany St.
Architectual Woodworks shows up at Plympton St, one block from EVERETT PIANOS. Many lumber yards, mantles, moldings, casework, doors and sashes, mentioned.
BAYSTATE ORGANS at Bristol St and Albany
EMERSON PIANOS is no longer listed at Randolph St but a large corner building at Harrison, Waltham, and Union Park is seen with more land to expand.
Goodyear Shoe – United Shoe Machinery shows up. I see many other locations of USM in the city, and it became a big mfg in my home town of Beverly Ma (and therefore listed!)
HALLET & DAVIS PIANO FORTE MFY now named.
Behind this factory are a series of 4 row houses looking exactly the same… Called the Lawrence Model Lodging Houses.
No listing for HALLET & DAVIS now. It has become a brush factory. Did they move and where to?
No mention of BAY STATE ORGANS
A smaller building of Peter Brigham Hospital is listed on SE side of Albany, near the docks and inbetween 3 coal yards! What a location? Or was it needed because of accidents?
Mahogany Mills shows up on Albany St
McPHAIL PIANO CO is named, and shows a large factory on Washington St, south of the round building PIANO FACTORY near the Cathedral.
Across from the EMERSON, and later Mason Hamlin site, is St Helena’s House, Working Girls Home and a small triangle which was and has been maintained as a small park.
United Shoe Machinery is south of the same block. More Mfg coming in, Public Works buildings,
Public Bath Houses, Hotels, Buttonhole Machine, Jordans Stables, Woodworking, Garages, Laundries, more Elevated Systems warehouses, Boston Fire Dept towers and care facilities etc.
MASON & HAMLIN PIANO listed on community heritage maps 1928. What happened to Emerson? Did they move?
Where was Mason Hamlin located before this?. This is a huge facility that they took over. They were a big organ company and listed as Cambridge/Boston. (Cambridge is over the river where Harvard is located)
McPHAIL is gone
Albany Milling is now listed on Bristol St next to where WENTWORTH PIANOS was/is.
The CHICKERING PIANO CO chose to locate its huge manufacturing building closer to where the Musical action was in Boston Central. And was a much earlier establishment in the mid 1800's. I did not pursue this company further than seeing that a large square was devoted to it on Tremont St in Boston. (741)
This has been quite an interesting adventure. To explore where some of the early Piano Mfg Co were located in Boston Ma turned out to be hours of exploration. I hope you take a tour around the maps suggested above and find where your early piano might have been manufactured.
My mind wanders. What was life like in these early factories? Who came, got trained and passed on their knowledge? Was everything done local? Were their showrooms right there in the factories? Did women work in the factories? Did they have lifts? or was it all manpower shipping these pianos elsewhere?
The more I know, the less I know. "