76 1875 catalog of Simpson & Company, cited on p. 5 of Musical Instrument Makers of New York. Although direc- tories indicate an address change from 149th Street near Third Avenue to St. Ann’s in that year, it is possible, given the vague nature of addresses in the Annexed District at that time and the close proximity of both addresses, that the firm did not actually move, but simply changed its listed address. Simpson may have been the son of William Simpson, “who began business in a New-York shanty and amassed a fortune of $3 million,” according to William’s obituary, which noted that he had owned property in West Farms (which is now within the Bronx) and that, in 1869, he had “built a piano manufactory, in which one of his sons became a partner” (“William Simpson’s Death,” New York Times, April 10, 1879, p. 9). The 1885 Robinson Atlas of the City of New York shows the former Arion factory at 149th Street and St. Ann’s as being on property belonging to the estate of “W. Simpson.”
77 “Arrest of a Piano Dealer,” New York Times, March 12, 1878, p. 1 refers to “Simpson & Co. (the Arion Piano Manufacturing Company).”
The 1879 Bromley Atlas of the Entire City of New York shows the buildings on the north side of 149th Street be- tween Brook and St. Ann’s Avenues as “Arion Piano Mfg.” For information on Wheelock and its acquisition of the Arion factory, see Pianos and Their Makers, p. 325; and History of the American Piano-Forte, p. 287. 78
79 According to Pianos and Their Makers, p. 366, Simpson “manufactured high grade pianos until 1885,” when he joined with Estey. The 14th Street, 129th Street, and 40th Street addresses are from Musical Instrument Makers of New York. In 1885, according to that year’s Robinson Atlas of the City of New York, the 129th Street address was the location of a narrow brick building; the 40th Street address was a vacant lot.
80 On the Estey Organ Company, see Dennis G. Waring, Manufacturing the Muse: Estey Organs and Consumer Culture in Victorian America (Middletown, Ct.: Wesleyan University Press, 2002). See also “Jacob Estey,” Na- tional Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York: James T. White Company, 1898), p. 215.
81 “Estey, Jacob & Co.,” in F.O. Jones, Ed., A Handbook of American Music and Musicians (Canaseraga, N.Y.: F.O. Jones, 1886), p. 55.
82 On the decline of the organ business and Mason & Hamlin’s movement into piano manufacturing, see Men, Women and Pianos, p. 551. Alfred Dolge, in Pianos and Their Makers, noted in 1911 that “All the pioneers in the organ trade of the United States have eventually turned to piano making, in most instances discarding the organ altogether” (p. 363). Fuller, who was Estey’s son-in-law, would become one of Vermont’s most prominent citizens, serving, at one point, as the state’s Governor, according to Pianos and Their Makers, p. 365.
83 Christopher Gray, “Changeling Resists Landmark Status,” New York Times, July 14, 1991, p. R6. It was not un- common for factory owners or managers, with their manufacturing expertise, to work with architects or builders in designing new factories the late nineteenth century, according to Betsy Hunter Bradley, The Works: The Industrial Architecture of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 17-18.
84 Pianos and Their Makers, p. 366; New York City New Building Docket No. 1885-961.
New York City New Building Docket No. 1885-1666.
86 Pianos and Their Makers, pp. 365-366. Because Dolge was one of the country’s major piano components manu- facturers, his statements concerning the reputations of piano makers and their products should be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, according to the “Blue Book of Pianos” (accessed online at www.bluebookofpianos.com/ agese.htm#ESTEY), Estey pianos won awards at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition; the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; the 1911 Turin International Exposition; and the Pan-American Exposition, which was held in San Francisco in 1915.
Musical Courier, January 14, 1887 and January 2, 1889, cited in Manufacturing the Muse, p. 162.