Charles Kelly and Co. (c.1855-1906)

See Chapter 4.3.

W.B. Kent (c.1883)

William Barker Kent of Earl Soham, Wickham Market, Suffolk, was registered as an organ builder and built at least one harmonium with pipes.

J. Knight (-1878)

John Knight was a piano, harmonium and American organ maker at 36-37 Dean Street, Birmingham.

London Gazette 7/8/1877: In the County Court of Warwickshire, holden at Birmingham. In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by John Knight, of 37 Dean Street, Birmingham, in the county of Warwick, Harmonium Maker. Notice is hereby given, that a First General Meeting of the creditors of the above named person has been summoned to be held at the office of Mr. E.B. Rawlings, no.48 Ann Street, Birmingham aforesaid, on the 17th day of August, 1877, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon precisely. Dated this 2nd day of August, 1877. E.B. Rawlings, Solicitor for the said Debtor.

W.H. Knight (c.1887-1908)

William Henry Knight (b.1856-d.1920) lived at 63 Hamwood, Bishops Hull Without, Taunton in 1891 and had a music shop at 145 East Reach, Taunton. He is registered as an organ and harmonium maker. He was resonsible for work on the organ at Taunton School Chapel during part of its history.

J.C. Knott (1879-1906)

Piano and harmonium maker of Witton Street, Northwich, Cheshire who later moved (or worked at) to 20 Castle Street, Northwich around 1883.

C. Laurent (1859-86)

See Chapter 4.4.

C. Layland (1868-96)


Cornelius Layland & Co. Harmonium Manufacturers, London. Addresses include: 75 Edgware Road, London; 268 Oxford Road, London from 1868; 80A Thomas Street, Grosvenor Square c.1874; 48 Alexander Road, Kilburn, London c.1874; 43 Berthon Street, Deptford, 25/1/1878.

They were advertising harmoniums of 5 octaves without stops for £5-5/-; 3 stops for £6-6/-; 7 stops for £7-15/-; 8 stops with beautiful Voix Celets for £11-10/-; 10 stops for £14-14/-; 12 stops for £18-10/- and 16 stops for £30. Write for Illustrated Catalogue to C. Layland and Company, Harmonium Manufacturers... The Trade supplied. Fittings, etc. This was in Jan'1872

They were declared bankrupt c.1874 (London Gazette).

A possible partner in the firm was R.W. Jarrett working c.1878-1885+ and registered at 1 Eleanor Road, London Fields, Hackney from 1878, see 24.69.

There was also J.C. Layland listed in 1880 and 1916 who may have been C. Layland's son, see below.

Tony Newnham alerted me to this information from the Database of British Organ Builders after he discovered a small harmonium in ``The Museum of Lakeland Life'' in Kendal. It had been owned by a Col. J.C. Salkeld, who was also a local preacher. He later sold it to a local miner, after that it came to a local woman who donated it to the museum. Stops are ??, ??, ??, Voix Celestes, Cor Anglais, Sourdine, Tremulant, Forte

We found pictures of another one. The stops are Sourdine, Basson, Clairon, Bordon, Cor Anglais, Grand Jeu, Forte, Expression, Flute, Clarinette, Fifre, Hautbois, Tremolo

The non-speaking and derived stops have blue labels and there is a wind indicator at the RH end of the keyboard. Stops are in brown wood similar to those on some Hillier instruments.


Several other instruments are known.

Julius Layland & Co. (c.1870)

Julius Layland, pianoforte and harmonium manufacturer of 67 Blackman Street, Southwark trading as Julius Layland and Co. was declared bankrupt on 14/5/1870.

T. Liddiatt (1874-89), H. Liddiatt (1889-1940)

Thomas Liddiatt (b.1839) of Stanley Marsh, Leonard Stanley, Gloucester was a joiner and wood carver who went on to make the Gothic and Stanley harmoniums.

By 1881 he had three children with his wife Mary E., they were Charles (b.1865) who became a joiner, Elizabeth (b.1871) and Harry T. (b.1875) who was then six years old. They had moved from Kings Stanley to Leonard Stanley just before Harry was born - hence the name of the harmonium model.

Harry later also became an organ and reed organ builder in his own right. He was in Oak Leigh, Leonard Stanley in 1939 and worked from around 1889-1940.

There is also one George Victor Liddiatt registered as an organ and reed organ builder in Leonard Stanley c.1885. There is some doubt about the relationship, but he may in fact be the elder son of Thomas who was called Charles in the 1881 census.

Locke and Son (1878-89)

Edward Charles Locke and Son were importers and manufacturers of pianos, American organs and harmoniums at Mendelssohn House, 34-6 Great Ducie Street, Manchester.

E.C. Locke of 9-10 Palatine Buildings, Victoria Street, Manchester was a piano, harmonium and organ tuner and repairer active around 1889-90.

The relationship is clarified by a notice in the London Gazette of 25/3/1887: Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned, Edward Charles Locke and Edward Augustus Locke, as Pianoforte Manufacturers and Organ and Harmonium Importers, at 34 and 36, Great Ducie Street, in the city of Manchester, under the style of Locke and Son, was, on the 22nd day of December, 1886, dissolved by mutual consent; and that all debts due to or by the said firm will be received and paid by the said Edward Augustus Locke, who will continue to carry on the said business as heretofore, under the style of Locke and Son, on his own account. Dated this 22nd day of March, 1887. Edwd. Chas. Locke. Edwd. Augts. Locke.

This clearly suggests they didn't build their own instruments. However they had some patents for pianos and exhibited in Dublin in 1865, so there is more to find out.

ROS Database entry 676 1M

This harmonium has serial number 28240 and stops: Forte, Sourdine 8', Cor Anglais 8', Expression, Flute 8', Voix Celeste 8' Tremolo and Forte.


W.V. Luck and Co. (1879-87)

Walter Villiers Luck manufactured pianos, harmoniums and reed organs. He was situated at Apollo House, Broadway, Stratford and 21 Stratford Grove, London. Other premises listed are 1-14 Short Street, Finsbury, 75-85 Tabernacle Street, Finsbury Square (1886-7), 5-11 Wood Street, Finsbury (1886-7), 19 Roseland Terrance, Chobham Road off Stratford Road, London (1879) and Landsdowne Terrace off Romford Road (1880). They were also possibly at 150 The Grove, Stratford.

Luck's business was based on the Apollo Piano Company who started with Emil Ascherberg of Dresden, Germany and became Apollo in 1880. Luck was clearly an agent for Apollo for a long period.

There was also apart from his 1882 premises Luck & Co. Pianoforte Manufacturing, Leyton Rd. Newtown located at 2 The Grove. He had manufacturing shops by 1886 in several streets in Finsbury Square, London as above.

He took control of the long standing company Avill & Smart, see Chapter 24.5, who had formally been at these addresses since 1865, modernised them by introducing the standard parts supplied by Ascherberg, and may have still had an interest in the company after moving to Australia (see below), as there he became an import-export merchant. By 1879 the group of addresses at Finsbury were known as ``Apollo Works'' and Walter's own house at 3 The Grove was called Apollo House (1881 census). But by 1892 Avill & Smart were again making pianos at 75 to 85 Tabernacle Street. In 1888 Avill & Smart had received a medal at the Anglo-Danish Exhibition.

We believe that Walter sold his Apollo Works business to James Grover of W. & F. Grover in 1885.

Walter Luck was born in 1853 in Brinklow, Warwickshire and married to Susannah Line in July 1875 in West Ham. Susannah was born in July 1858 in Tottenham and died Mar'1943 in Essex. They had at least one daughter and a son George Ernest born 1879 in Stratford and died in USA. They were divorced in 1887 and we presume between then and his marriage to Amelia in Victoria 1898, he moved to Australia. It is fairly certain that he imported Apollo pianos into Australia made by Avill & Smart or the Apollo Piano Company, which he most likely still had shares in. Walter died in 1939 in Sydney.

The London street directory shows that Broadway, Stratford becomes The Grove and Romford Road goes off Broadway. Chobham Road is five streets away and goes off Leytonstone Road, which is a continuation of The Grove. (21 Stratford Grove should read 21 The Grove, Stratford). Like so many men of little means but clear vision during the industrial revolution of the 19th century, Walter Luck made his fortune. Notes are from Robert Ferris on the Piano History site plus various genealogy sites.

G. Luff and Son (1846-62)


George Luff and Son of 103 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London around 1847-51 and then 7 Caroline Mews, Bedford Square in 1861 exhibited a harmonium and the so called Albert Cottage piano-harmonium at the London Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851. Luff was also an agent for Debain, the famous Paris harmonium maker. Labels in earlier instruments (e.g. a guitar) showed him at 92 Great Russell Street. Thanks to Michael McLuhan for some additional information [135].

The son was George John Armstrong Luff. The partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 27/2/1860 and the son continued the business under the same name.

A Luff harmonium at the 1851 exhibition was no.477 in Class X [194]. It had an unusual mechanical apparatus for playing it in addition to the usual keyboard. This was said to be an advance on the ``barrel organ'' system which had been widely used before this time. Pictures below are from The Art Journal Illustrated Catalogue re-produced in MacTaggarts' book.


The so called piano-harmonium was actually just a piano and there had been a mistake in the catalogue's transcript or a contemporary report. Thanks to Bill Kibby for providing documentary evidence to clarify this.

In fact, the official description from the catalogue which could lead to confusion, reads as follows: ... Albert cottage piano, of a new construction. Harmonium, an instrument played like the pianoforte or organ, claiming powerfull tone and simplicity of construction. The particuliar tone of the harmonium class of instruments is produced by metal springs set in motion by stream of air.

It is thought that George Luff held early patents in respect of the harmonium, but we do not have any details. In 1846 he visited Paris to try to acquire the rights to manufacture an instrument called the ``Antiphonel'' said to be ``a simple and ingenious piece of mechanism by which persons un-acquainted with music will be able to play the works of the greatest masters'' (Musical Gazette).

We still have some questions over Luff's ``patent Harmonium'' which may simply have been imported from Debain of Paris. It seems that Luff may have become mixed up in the patent dispute which affected Alexandre and others at that time. If anyone has further information, please let me know.

However, an advert in Musical Times, 1/6/1854 states: HARMONIUMS. - CAUTION. - GEO. LUFF & SON, Makers, to Her Majesty, of the only Real Harmonium, to prevent the sale of inferior imitations, have reduced their prices both for sale or hire.

G.H. Marsh (c.1890-2)

George Henry Marsh was an American organ and harmonium maker of 29 Temple Street, Bristol.

Matthews and Scott (-1869)

Mason J. Mathews was a Scottish mechanic who wrote extensively about reed organs in amateur scientific journals. He is listed as a musical instrument maker with patents in Oct'1867.

These extracts from the Edinburgh Gazette of 30/11/1869 were discovered by Mark Jefford. Dissolution of co-partnership. The co-partnership sometime carried on by the Subscribers, Mason Johnstone Matthews, and Robert Brown Scott, under the firm of Matthews and Scott, as Patent Pianoforte and Harmonium Manufacturers, in Glasgow, was dissolved by mutual agreement on the 27th day of March last, 1869, when the Subscriber, Mason Johnstone Matthews, ceased to have any connection with the business since carried on by the Subscriber, the said Robert Brown Scott, as Pianoforte and Harmonium Manufacturer, in Glasgow, and at the Patent Pianoforte and Harmonium Works in Little Street and Coulter's Lane there. Glasgow, November 25, 1869. Mason J. Matthews. Robt. B. Scott.

The remaining assets were sequestered and a dividend paid to creditors in 1870. Mason Johnston Matthews, now at Pembroke Place, Liverpool (London Gazette 12/5/1864) was awarded an order of discharge in the district court.

After moving to the USA in 1870 [presumably 1871], Matthews patented mechanical devices which he then sold to Mason & Hamlin, George Woods, the Mechanical Orguinette Co. and others.

T.H. Meek (c.1881)

Thomas Henry Meek (b.1841-d.29/7/1900) is mentioned in the thesis of Elliott [57] as having worked for a number of organ builders around the York area. He is listed as an organ builder in the 1861 Census, organ builder and umbrella maker in 1871, harmonium maker in 1881 and pianoforte maker in 1891. He lived at 72 Clarence Street, York where he died of cancer at the age of 59. He did not build complete instruments.

E.L. Merick (1879-82)

Piano and harmonium manufacturer of 41 Great Putney Street, Golden Square, London.

F. Mesnage (1887-1891)

Frederick Mesnage of 85 High Street, Marylebone, London. Harmonium and American organ manufacturer. Successor to Constant Laurent in 1887 and still working until at least 1891 at 3 John's Court according to Kelly's London Directory.

Moore and Moore (1878-1921)

moore_label.jpg moore_name.jpg

Moore and Moore were perhaps best known as piano manufacturers, founded from the cabinet making business of John and Henry Moore c.1838. The firm was taken over by Kemble in 1933. The DBOB entry reveals that Moore and Moore were also reed organ builders, at least from before 1884 until 1921. It appears that they built at least one enharmonic reed organ, as described in Chapter 28. They were also retailers of music and musical instruments.

John H. and Henry Keatley Moore of 138 and then 104-5 Bishopsgate Without, London (1846-83) made harmoniums, pianos and American organs. According to Ian Thompson they had actually been piano makers since 1837 (confirmed by other sources). The firm traded as John and Henry Moore from 1878-83 then and Moore and Moore from 1884-1921. There was a previous partnership with John King but this ceased on 26/8/1853.

Albion House, 59A New Oxford Street, WC

They also made reed organs, sometimes with 5 treble rows in a remarkably compact case. A very pretty pipe top 15 stop Moore and Moore is currently on e-Bay: *5843. Its case is identical to that of a Kelly of Worcester, Mass, that I bought a few weeks back, which has Smiths type rivetless reeds and surprising power from its 3 rows (16', 8' and 4' all through) plus BC and TC. As well as the maker's name the stopboard also says ``European Agent, 16 Mortimer St., London W.''
Moore and Moore sometimes used a ``Vox Angelica'' treble stop which had an 8' and a 4' rank beating out of tune.
Did Kelly of Worcester, Mass supply the works to be cased over here in Britain? Did Smith of Boston make their own rivet-less reeds or buy them in from a supplier like Munro?

In 1899 the business was in the names of H.L. Moore, Francis William Moore and Ernest James Moore, 104-5 Bishopsgate Street Within. and 28 Scrutton Street, Finsbury. This partnership was dissolved by mutual consent on 28/3/1899 and H.K. and E.J. continued.

See also later Chapter 28.

One is listed in the ROS DB.

ROS DB entry 741

This is serial number 16767. It has 61 keys CC-c'''. Some stop faces are missing, but the readable ones are: Forte, ?, ?, ?, Grand Jeu, Expression, Flute, ?, Tremulant, Forte.

1M/1 e-Bay *4219

This one was for sale in Ipswith in Jan'2019.

Stops are Forte, Sourdine, Expression, Tremulant, Forte.


W.H. Moore (c.1878)

W.H. Moore of King Street, Wellington, Shropshire was a harmonium maker.

J. Morandi (1879-83)

Joseph Morandi was a harmonium maker of 6 Kingsland Road, London E.

A. Morton and Co. (c.1896)

357 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London.

Small harmonium on e-Bay *5350 Sept'2009, probably of French construction. The label notes ``Morton Bros. & Co. London''.

G. Moutrie and Collard and Moutrie (c.1856-90)

This was [possibly?] George Robert [?] Moutrie, piano and harmonium maker of 22 Werrington Street, Oakley Square, London who later joined with Collard to form Collard and Moutrie and moved to 90 Southampton Road, and later 50-52 Southampton Road (or Row). Since 1870 Moutrie pianos were made in China, initially for British ex-patriots; they are still being made there by the Nanjing Moutrie Piano Co. Ltd.

By the 1850s, Shanghai in China already had Moutrie's piano shop, that sold, repaired and eventually assembled pianos. China's first piano factories were all founded by men who had worked at Moutries, many of whom hailed from Ningbo, which was renowned for the skill of its wood workers. In Oct'1898, the New York Times reported that Mr. Moutrie was called to Beijing to repair the Emperor's piano. According to the article, Moutrie said: the keys were filthy and had various Chinese hieroglyphics stamped on them, while the instrument had not been tuned for years. He tuned it and cleaned off the writing - only to be told by the Emperor that the characters should be immediately replaced (perhaps because they were used as a guide for playing the instrument).

It is known that Moutrie's also made small folding reed organs in China, e.g. for Catholic priests. There were a number of other small firms in China making similar instruments right up to the 1990s.

Moutrie was advertising from 1866 onwards as follows.

 Harmoniums - Five octaves, in polished cases 5 guineas. Seven stops,
 8 guineas. Ten stops 15 guineas. Dealers supplied. ...

 ...THE DRAWING ROOM MODEL HARMONIUM, having a soft pleasing quality
 of tone, price £8-8s. THE COTTAGE HARMONIUM, in Mahogany case,
 price £5-5s. THE ORGANIST'S STUDIO HARMONIUM, having Two
 Octaves of German Pedals and Side Blower, price £8-8s. Price
 Lists free.

London Gazette 11/5/1875: In the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, instituted by George Moutrie, formerly of no.3, Gloucester Street, Bayham Street, Camden Town, in the county of Middlesex, but now of no.12 Arlington Street, Camden Town, also in the county of Middlesex, Harmonium Maker. Notice is hereby given, that a First General Meeting of the creditors of the above named person has been summoned to be held at the offices of Messrs. Beesley and Gray, no.4, King Street, Cheapside, in the city of London, Public Accountants, on the 19th day of May, 1875 at two o'clock in the afternoon precisely. Dated this 27th day of April, 1875. William Hicks, 123, Globe Road, Mile End, E., Attorney for the said Debtor.

Information on the history of Clemeti and Collard is presented in Chapter 3.

J. Moutrie (1878-94)

Another harmonium maker of 16 Henry Street, Pentonville, London later advertising as J. and R. Moutrie and producing American organs at 13 Garnault Mews, Clerkenwell until 1894. They later also made American organs and traded as J. and R. Moutrie.

James Moutrie (b.1818-d.1886) was the son of Robert Johnson Moutrie. The Moutrie family were originally from Scotland and like many Scottish families (including my own) names such as Robert and James were handed down making the family tree hard to follow. To make matters worse they married into the Collard family at some stage. There was another son George, who was an organ builder and a daughter, Ann Jane, who married William Graham.

Tom Huygens told me in Jan'2017: After James Moutrie died in 1886, his sons James and Robert left Pentonville and continued the business in Clerkenwell while the Grahams stayed in Pentonville, see Chapter 22.68.


Bill Kibby noted: I have several piano firms on file with the name Moutrie, and it seems likely they were related. The famous Collard firm began with a William Frederick Collard and a Frederick William Collard, but the Moutrie family included William Frederick Collard Moutrie! This was another family of harmonium and pianoforte makers descended from James Burton Moutrie.

Marjory Mahoney replied in 2003: I have just started to research my mother's family, Moutrie. According to his marriage certificate, my great great grandfather James Moutrie was a pianoforte maker. His father Robert Moutrie was also a pianoforte maker - so there could quite well be a connection here. My great grandfather, Samuel Campbell Moutrie, married Maria Harrison, whose family were Harrison and Harrison the well known organ builders.

There was also William Moutrie (insolvent 1857) and hisnephew George Moutrie (c.1877) who were piano dealers/ makers.

W.S. Murdoch (-1880)

Walter Stewart Murdoch was before 1880 a partner of Arthur Allison trading as Arthur Allison and Company, 40 Great Marlborough Street, and Apollo Works, Leighton Road, Kentish Town. He is listed as a pianoforte, harmonium and American organ manufacturer residing at Enmore Road, Woodside, South Norwood.


J. Nelson (1866-1903)

Joseph Nelson of 52 Cumberland Market, Regent's Park, London in 1878-86 moving to 113 Cowley Road, Oxford until 1903 was a harmonium maker.

Dunn and Nicholls, and Nicholls and Nicholls (1872-96)

Dunn and Nicholls were piano and harmonium makers with premises at 482 Hackney Road, E. London, previously 20 Prospect Place off Cambridge Road. The firm was taken over by Edward Nicholls c.1879, see below. The firm of Nicholls continued at 118 Mile End Road c.1882 later becoming known as Nicholls and Nicholls until at least 1896. They were noted as making ``good cheap'' harmoniums.

The London Gazette of 12/10/1877 notes: Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership, hitherto subsisting between us the undersigned, Charles Dunn and Edward Nicholls, trading under the style or firm of Dunn and Nicholls, as Harmonium Manufacturers and Organ Builders, at no.482, Hackney Road, in the county of Middlesex, was dissolved, by mutual consent, on the 29th day of September, 1877. Dated this 4th day of October, 1877. Charles Dunn. Edward Nicholls.

It is possible that the father of Charles was George Dunn at 36 London Road, Fitzroy Square (1835-49), 6 Church Street, Camberwell (1839) and 77 Great Titchfield Street (1843-54).

Oetzmann and Co. (1848-c.1880)

Information provided by Ian Thompson says that Thomas Oetzmann was a reed organ manufacturer of 27 Baker Street, Portman Square, London W.

Thomas Oetzman is known at various addresses in London including: 27 Baker Street, Portman Square W. (1861-1921), 29 Blandford Mews, Manchester Square W. (1884), 36 North Road, York Road N. (1891-3), 27 Blandford Mews W. (1914), also 60 Baker Street.

Frederick Oetzmann and Sons of 151 Regent Street manufactured pianos in London c.1848-1928 and supplied to the Royal Family. According to Bill Kibby, Frederick Oetzmann and Thomas Louis Plumb were established in 1848, and still going at least up to 1877, but at some point this name overlapped with Thomas Oetzmann and Co. Oetzmann and Plumb were succeeded by Oetzmann and Sons. Actually the partnership with Plumb had ceased on 20/10/1865. They exhibited in London 1851 and 1885. Another branch of the business apparently sold general furniture, see below.

Their pianoforte manufactury, 1st floor Russell Mews, Howland Street, Fitzroy Square burned down with an estimated loss of £ 4,000 on 31/3/1844. There was a pianoforte case maker on the 3rd floor. It is said that the fire was caused by a cabined maker on the 2nd floor working late on a Sunday.

Frederick Oetzmann is known at various addresses in London including: 56 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury (1850-8), 4-1/2 Chenies Street, Bedford Square (1850-7), 6 Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury (c.1856), a manufactory in Charles Street, Tottenham Court Road (c.1856), 151 Regent Street (1862-71), 38 Broad Street, Golden Square (1882-4), 38 Conduit Street, Regent Street (1882-95), 157 High Street, Kensington (1914-21).

An advertisement from ``The Academy'', 1/10/1887 reads as follows.

 Frederick Oetzmann and Sons' Pianofortes and harmoniums will be found
 on comparison the most reasonable in London. Established 30 years:
 none but first class Pianofortes manufactured. 151 Regent Street. The
 only address. Frederick Oetzmann and Sons' Pianofortes and
 harmoniums, new and second hand. On the three years' system ...
  Harmoniums, best make, eight pleasing stops, 1-1/2 guinea per
 quarter. Frederick Oetzmann & Sons, 151 Regent St.

The company appears to have been dissolved in 1895: Notice is hereby given that the Partnership hereto fore subsisting between us the undersigned Frederick William Oetzmann, Arthur Leopold Oetzmann and Charles Isaac Hayton carrying on business as Pianoforte Manufacturers at No.38 Conduit-street, Regent-street in the county of Middlesex under the style or firm Frederick Oetzmann and Sons has been disolved by mutual consent so far as regards the said Charles Isaac Hayton as from the 10th day of August 1895. (The London Gazette, 1895, p. 4571)

Frederick Oetzman (b.1812-d.1879) was born in Ipswich and married to Lelias (Lilly) Verralls (b.1824-d.1871) born in Finchley on 24/4/1848 in St. Pancras. In Feb'1970 they were living at Astridge House, Rosslyn-Park, Hampstead and Frederick is referred to as ``Esquire''. They had five children as follows. Firstly three daughters Mary Rosa (b.1950-), Rachel Lelly (b.1852-) Emily Eugenie (b.4/12/1854-d.23/2/1948). Then Frederick William Oetzmann (b.10/4/1856-d.25/3/1917) born in Bloomsury and died in Richmond. He was married in Mar'1889 to Elizabeth Jane Mather (b.1860-d.Mar'1910) from Bow. And finally Arthur Leopold Oetzmann (b.1859-d.1910).

The names of Frederick William and Arthur Leopold clearly fit the London Gazette notice above.

Then there is however more confusion, The Whistler Arts Gallery in Glasgow notes: Frederick Augustus Oetzmann (b.21/7/1857-d.16/10/1922) born in Bermondsey was a pianoforte manufacturer. He started in the family firm of house furnishers and cabinet makers, before moving in pianoforte manufacturing. He and his wife Ada Ellen had at least two daughters Netta Winifred and Kathleen Elanie. There are however several patents by Frederick Augustus from the 1890s which have nothing to do with musical instruments and suggest he was from the furniture side of the family.

It turns out that Frederick Augustus was actually the son of John Robert Augustus Oetzmann (b.1825-d.1886) and Hannah Smith (b.1833-d.1909). He married Ada Ellen Smith (b.1866-d.1942) and they had 3 children, two as above plus Olga Cecile. The furniture business was in Hampstead Road, Campden Town occupying space between Drummond Street and William Street. They operated until the 1930s and the shop was demolished in the 1950s. They possibly also had premises on Tottenham Court Road. This is of course right in the heart of the area where harmoniums were also being made.

Thomas Oetzmann was also born in Ipswich (b.1827-d.1899) and married Emma Burningham (b.1827-d.1908) from St. Pancras. They had at least one daughter Camilla Kate born in Marylebone (b.14/5/1859-d.12/11/1948). Thomas Oetzmann & Co. are listed from c.1860-1914 as pianoforte makers and publishers. However they seem to have been better known for hiring and selling instruments than for making them.

It is now known that the Oetzmann family came originally from Barum in Hannover district of Germany and settled in Ipswich. Johann Heinrich (Henry) Augustus Oetzmann (b.1780-d.1833) had fought for the British in the Napoleonic war in the King's Own German Legion stationed at Woodbridge. He married Mary Adams who died in 1822 and then Anna Maria Bedwell (b.1798-m.1824-d.1858). [See Bedwell family of organ builders?]

Henry and Mary had one son also named Henry (c.1811-d.1835) and there was at least one other child, presumably Frederick (b.1812). Henry and Ann had one son John Robert Augustus who was indeed founder of the furniture firm in 1848 plus at least another child who turns out to be Thomas Oetzmann who was baptised in 1827. Henry died in 1853, family history records note that he had possibly 9 children, others being William (b.30/9/1818-), Henry James and Anna Marie Louis.

So we conclude that Thomas and John Robert were brothers and Frederick, founder of Oetzmann and sons was an older half brother.


The small harmonium by Oetzmann and Co. of London was advertised on e-Bay, Mar'2005. Apart from the accompanying photo which was sent to me by the seller, little is known about this firm. The instrument, apart from a few minor stylistic differences, is identical to mine by Baynton of London. This instrument is in the Fritz Gellerman database no.4735.


Patriot Excelsior (1880-5)

The Patriot Excelsior Piano, Organ and Harmonium Co. was managed by Thomas Leadbetter and had premises at High Street, Chesham, Buckinghamshire.

H.A. Pearson (unknown)

Hiram Abiff Pearson is noted as a cabinet maker and harmonium manufacturer. He was born in Wigton, Cumberland in 1839. His mother was Mary Pearson who was recorded as a widow aged 66 in the 1861 census. Does anyone know more?

J. Pell and Co. (c.1876-8)

John Pell built organs, pianos and harmoniums at Globe Works, 194 Ashstead Row, Birmingham.

Penrose (unknown)

A small harmonium appeared on e-Bay 8/12/06 from a seller in Thame. It was described as a ``Harmonium - Penrose of Redruth Exhibition Model'' 5 Octave harmonium in good working order. Lovely tone. Nice to look at. All keys and stops work. Two keys are a little sticky but would free with use. Just over 41'' wide, 36'' tall and 15'' deep. The stops are: ??, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, ??.


I have no further information about this maker so help is gratefully accepted.

V. Penso (1897-1902)

Victor Penso was a piano and harmonium maker of Hatton Garden and Hatton Yard, London up to 1898 and then 24-6 Duke Street, Brushfield Street, Bishopsgate, London to around 1902.

J.A. Peterkin (1879-80)

Harmonium maker of 91 Union Street, Glasgow.

S.F. Pichler (1851-63)

See Chapter 4.5.

J. Pickens and Co. (1879-84)

James Pickens was a harmonium maker of 172 Hampton Street, Birmingham.

H. Powell (1878-1906)

Henry Powell and Son were at 120 Market Place, Cirencester in around 1858-85 and also at 46 Dollar Street in 1862-1903 and Crown House, Stratton Street in 1885. He is recorded as an organ, piano and harmonium manufacturer and dealer who founded the Cirencester Sacred Harmonic Society and was also an organist in Evesham and Bengeworth.

B. Preston (1838-50)

Benjamin Preston was one of the early York harmonium makers. Nothing more is known.

W. Pridham and Son (c.1896)


W. Pridham of 13 Glaskins Mews, Pembury Road, Hackney, London, built harmoniums and American organs. The name on the instrument shown below indicates the firm as W. Pridham and Son, 206 Jubilee Street, Mile End, London. There exists a conveyance in the Hackney Archives Department Ref:M2914 showing transfer of property at 27-35 Amhurst Road, Hackney from Walter Pridham to Charles Sartain, a pawnbroker, with Thomas Oughton, a Gentleman of Chelsea, as mortgagee.

ROS DB entry 1378

One is listed in the ROS DB entry 1378. It has 61 keys CC-c''' and stops: Forte, Tremolo, Sourdine 8', Cor Anglais 8', Expression, Flute 8' Tremolo and Forte.

e-Bay 2007

A small one appeared on e-Bay in Aug'2007 located in Cambridge. It has the same specification Forte, Tremolo, Sourdine, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, Tremolo, Forte.


H.J. Prosser (1883-1915)

Henry Jonathan Prosser was an organ and harmonium manufacturer and dealer of 20 Market Place, Frome, Somerset. He had a factory at Bath Road around 1889-1915.

E.A. Ramsden (1860-94)


Edward Archibald Ramsden of 12 Park Row, Leeds was principally a retailer. He had been a performer and impresario, born in 1835, who returned to his native city of Leeds in 1864 to open a shop selling pianos, harmoniums and sheet music (later there was also a shop in London). Unfortunately the Park Row building (a stone's throw from Leeds City Square) has been demolished.

He however held several joint patents for improvements to musical instruments and was influencial on harmonium manufacture. See Chapter 31. He is therefore listed here. He was summoned to Balmoral in 1867 to play before Queen Victoria on his patented melody harmonium. More information about Ramsden's life is given here:

An intriguing snippet of information from the internet concerns a legal dispute in 1879 between William Alfred Waddington and Archibald Ramsden the same who had a ``piano saloon'' in Coney Street. Some pianos were manufactured with the Archibald Ramsden name, but as far as we can tell there is no record of Ramsden's having their own factory. It seems possible that Waddington's were supplying Ramsden with pianos, possibly under the Waddington name or possibly Ramsden's. We do not know the cause of the dispute.

Similarly, many components of Ramsden harmoniums were made in Germany and certainly had Schiedmayer reeds on so called ``oktaveplatten'' or metal plates taking one octave of reeds rather than individual frames. They also seem to have had Schiedmayer actions and cases very similar too.

Ramsden is associated with the name of William Dawes, also of Leeds, see Chapter 22.50, and some of his instruments were fitted with the Dawes Melody Attachment which he promoted widely. Dawes's Patent Melody Organs obtained the only prize medal awarded to English exhibitors at the Exposition Universelle, Paris 1867.

Ramsden was also associated with the production of the Vocalion, see Chapter 7. He promoted it in London with Hermann Smith in 1880. He was named as one of the creditors of the Hamilton Vocalion Company which fell into financial difficulties in 1887. Ord-Hume [145] notes that Hermann Smith, its inventor, worked for Ramsden for a while.

Brian Styles commented on one of Ramsden's harmoniums: it may be helpful to remark that, in one Ramsden at least, this Schiedmayer action and reed pan is extremely gratifying to play. It's a single manual instrument, with two complete 16' ranks, down to bottom C - well differentiated. Indeed, the differentiation between the voices is particularly good, even amongst rather higher class company. It's a 5 octave (C compass) instrument with the break at tenor A#/B and has William Dawes's patent ``melody actions'' for both treble and bass. The sound is a trifle retiring - it would never fill a church. The 8' Celeste is especially good and works well at that pitch because of the low break.

Ian Thompson added: In the Dawes, all pallets except for those of the Pédale Basse and Mélodie stops are positively opened, in the sense that depressing a key obliges the associated pallets to open. The pallets of the PB and M stops have light springs that tend to open the pallets, but then when a key is not depressed the key tail bears down on the pallet, preventing it from opening. Depress a key in the bass division (in the case of the Ramsden C-A#, 23 notes) and all pallets will open. Holding the same key down, now depress the key below it and a little wooden rocker will close the PB pallet again. These rockers are centre pivoted on a right-left axis, but angled so that depressing a key lifts the front end of the rocker and the back of it bears down on the PB pallet of the note above. Any lower rocker also transmits its motion, via a finely adjustable screw, to the next rocker up, so that if you depress bottom C, all rockers above tip and prevent any higher PB pallet from opening. The Mélodie stop works in exactly the same way, but blocking lower notes. As you approach the extremes of the compass the touch gets progressively heavier. Fine adjustment is essential to keep things as they should be, but at least the mechanism is more reliable than the pneumatic system used in the Casson ``Positive'' pipe organ.

ROS DB entry 389

ROS DB entry 389 is said to have been built in 1876. It has 61 keys CC-c''', treadles, knee swells and stops: Forte, Sourdine Bass, Sourdine Treble, Cor Anglais 8', Expression, Flute 8', Cremona 8', Melodie Cremona and Tremolo.

The stops are probably wrongly listed (some missing), but it is known as reported by Ian Thompson that Ramsden often used a Sourdine in association with a bass Bassoon 8' and a Dolce in association with the treble Cor Anglais 8'. This would explain the Sourdine Bass and Sourdine Treble.

David Pye's harmonium 1M/5:5

David sent me the following information in Nov'2006: I acquired a harmonium at auction in Birmingham some 25 years ago. It was subsequently transported to my present home in Sale, Cheshire.

My reed organ is a single manual instrument cased in figured walnut veneer, bearing the name of Archibald Ramsden and so I was very pleased to discover some information on its origins, which suggest a rather earlier date than I had believed.

It has 16 draw stops, comprising 10 speaking stops (5 for each lower and upper compass of the keyboard) and 6 effects stops: Pedal Bass, Basson, Sourdine Bass, Clairon, Bourdon, Cor Anglais, Forte, Grand Jeu, Expression, Flute, Clarinette, Flageolet, Hautbois, Cremona, Tremulant, Melody Cremona. It is believed that the Melody Cremona is a Dawes patent device sounding the upper note of the chord. [Another example is listed below.] It is possible that the Pedal Bass has the inverse effect. Two knee levers provide variable forte (swell flap) and progressive Grande Jeu (coupling of up to 8 stops). The instrument remains pedal blown and in full sounding order, although there is some leakage from the pressure bellows and other restoration needed to bring it back to pristine state.

The Pedal Bass is a separate half rank of reeds rather than a Dawes melody attachment. This means the instrument has a total of 305 reeds.


This clearly looks very much like harmoniums by Schiedmayer and in fact contains many of their parts. Brian Styles said this is similar to his own instrument. The size is: 49'' wide, 37-1/4'' high and 27-1/2'' deep.

Ramsden 1M/2:3 near Sandringham

Brian Styles sent information about this nice looking instrument. The owner had contacted him to sell it.

Specification is as follows. Pedal Bass, Forte, Sourdine Basse, Bourdon, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, Clarinette, Cremona, Melodie Cremona, Tremblant. There are two knee swells.


Read (c.1866)

Mrs. L. Read of 17 Sussex Place, S.Kensington, exhibited a harmonium in the Paris 1867 exhibition. No more is known.

J.W. Reed (c.1895)

See Chapter 14.

G. Richardson (c.1858)


George Richardson was a harmonium maker of 44 Stonegate, York.

RFG DB entries 1852 and 5538

Fritz Gellerman's on-line database lists two harmoniums by Richardson, RFG-1852 (no stops; 4 1/2 octaves CC-f'') and RFG-5538 (8 stops; 5 octaves FFF-f''). Photo A of RFG-1852 shows 43 Stonegate as the address.


David Kershaw wrote to me in Oct'2006 as follows: I now own REF-5538. This similarly shows 43 Stonegate as the address. Note that it is not Stonegate Street. I was a resident in York for many years. The street is known simply as Stonegate, the ``gate'' suffix being (I think) related to the German Gasse (street). York has many such streets: Micklegate, Goodramgate, Walmgate, etc. So simply 43 Stonegate, York.

I recently acquired 5538; it is presently unplayable and soundless, but all essentials are intact, including all reeds. Oak case, crudely (re?)varnished, handles missing, bellows shot, treadles unattached... The casework is solid and simple, including some hefty dovetailing on the back. The stops are: Forte, Clarinette, Basoon, Grand Jeu, Expression, Flute, [missing], Forte.


Dimensions are: 43'' wide, 34'' high, 17 3/4'' deep. David could find no serial number on the case or a maker's name on the reeds.

Joseph and Henry Riley (1851-c.1922)

riley_alex_label.jpg riley_name.jpg riley_name2.jpg

The firm of piano makers was founded by Joseph Riley in 1851 with premises in Henrietta Street and Hampton Street, Birmingham and by 1880 was at 20b-c Constitution Hill. Joseph Riley & Sons were listed as manufacturers, importers and dealers who had premises at 23-25 Constitution Hill and 30 Corporation Street up to 1906. The ``Manufactory'' was at King's Cross, London. W. Joseph Riley was also listed at 56-58 Corporation Street and Martineau Street and Paradise Street, Birmingham c.1906. As well as pianos there are also flutes and banjos with the name of Joseph Riley & Sons. They are also known to have sold high quality French harmoniums by Alexandre. Around 1896 they had a patent for what became known as the Riley-Baker Perfected Banjo.

25 Constitution Hill, on the corner of Henrietta Street, Hockley was built for the Rileys starting in 1881 and they occupied the building until the 1930s. It was designed by a builder called William Davis who may also have been responsible for nos. 27-29 several years earlier. The premises, on opposite corners of Henrietta Street and now grade II listed, have a distinctively Italian feel with ``Italianate'' detailing and colours reminiscent of 16th century renaissance architecture. This revival style was popular during the 19th century.

Old paintings and postcards show the nos.23-25 as it was, with delivery lorries outside.

rileys_painting.jpg rileys_postcard.jpg

And this is as it is today occupied by SND Electrical:


As well as a showroom and shop there was a concert hall known initially as Angelus Hall and then Riley Hall. It was occasionally used by the City of Birmingham Orchestra, for instance for a recording of Granville Bantock's Hebridean Symphony in 1925 (never released). Henry Riley and Sons Ltd. were bankrupt and went into liquidation in 1935 at which time the firm was run by Horace Riley.


Student's Model 128C

Photo from R.F. Gellerman database entry 1369.


e-Bay Riley Harmonium *3595

This was made by Joseph Riley. Its specification is Forte, Sourdine, Cor Anglais, Expression, Flute, Tremolo, Forte. It is stamped on the back with serial number 22209. Dimensions are 40"h x40"w x1'8"d.


This instrument did not sell so was re-listed in Oct'2008.

W.J. Robertson (1847-83)

DBOB ref.4955 notes that the firm of William Johnson Robertson, reed organ builder and harmonium manufacturer, was established in 1847. They were at 107 Tottenham Road, Kingsland, London from 1872 or earlier. William Robertson died in 1883 and there were no advertisements after 1885.

Contemporary adverts c.1872-3 were for:

 ORGAN HARMONIUM £19 and £21. Fine tone, 2-1/2 rows of reeds, bourdon
 on full compass, German pedals with coupler to keys, foot and side
 blower. Manufactured for pedal practice by W.J.~Robertson; 20 year's
 experience in this class of instrument.

There is a 2MP harmonium with the Robertson label in the Barger-Compascuum Harmonium Museum, Drenthe, NL. A photo is on Piet Bron's Flickr stream I hope Piet won't mind that I am publicising his photographic archive here.


Further information was added by Ivan Furlanis, see The rather sparse stop list which confirms the note above is: Pedal Coupler, Bourdon, Cor Anglais, Dulciana, Dulciana, Flute, Hautbois, Fifre, Manual Coupler.

There are 2x 61 note manuals and a 29 note straight pedal board. There is what I assume to be a single blowing pedal, but strangely no Expression stop. It was probably sold as a practice instrument as noted above. This is potentially an early instrument but further details are lacking.

S. Rolfe (c.1870)

Not much is known about Samuel Rolfe except for the existence of a UK Letters Patent dated 14/9/1870 number 2,479. This relates to a very strange improvement in the construction of harmoniums. It proposed four keyboards, a 5-octave CC-c''' (treble) at the front 2-octave G-g' at the rear, 2-octave C-c' (bass) at the LH end and 2-octave B-b' on the RH end. The idea was intended for the practice of part songs in which four performers would play and also sing their own parts in the range of their own voice.

It is unlikely that such an instrument was ever constructed or indeed that Samuel Rolfe was a maker or in any way related to Wm. Rolfe who earlier built Seraphines. Can anyone prove otherwise?

A. Rudd and Co. (1837-1906)

Albert Rudd is listed as a piano and harmonium maker of 74 Dean Street, Soho Square, London W. He was associated with Debain c.1860-1906 e.g. with premises at the same address and at 50 Boulevard de Buttes, Saint Chaumont, Paris and Rathbone Place, London.

B. Samuel and Son (1832-1921

barnett_name.jpg barnett_label1.jpg samuel_name.png

Barnett Samuel and Sons were piano makers in Sheffield from 1832 moving to London c.1849. They are referred to by Fritz Gellerman as one of the larger British reed organ enterprises [86]. However Ian Thompson notes Barnett Samuel were as far as I know dealers, not makers - at least not on any scale. They put their name on smaller Christophe et Etienne harmoniums and had an agency for the US maker Peloubet, Pelton.

They were however listed as musical instruments makers and wholesalers and gramophone makers, of 31 Houndsditch and 27a Duke Street, and later of 32 Worship Street, Finsbury Square, London, EC2. In 1882 they were listed as having a manufactury at Luke Street off Curtain Road E.C. See also Chapter 31. They were awarded a second prize at Sydney, Australia in 1878. They were awarded a bronze medal in the London Inventions Exhibition of 1885 for harmoniums (catalogue no.3,529). They are also known to have made concertinas. The story is quite interesting.

DBOB, the Database of British Organ Builders has more information. It notes that the firm was established in 1832 and was most active from 1876-1921. They were based in 31 Houndsditch, London from 1876 (Barnett Samuel) and 32 Worship Street, Finsbury Square from 1878 (Barnett Samuel and Son) with additional premises at 27-1/2 Little Duke Street, Aldgate. In 1900 they were located at 32-38 Worship Street, Finsbury.

Barnett Samuel was born in 1819 in Russia and later was naturalised as a British citizen in 1881. He was clearly a good business man.

The company was established in 1832 by Henry Solomon, Barnett Samuel and Josiah Solomon. The Samuel family and firm were originally at 4 Clifton Gardens in Sheffield; they manufactured tortoise shell doorknobs, knife handles and combs. Barnett, his son Nelson (who joined the firm around 1870) and a nephew Max Samuel (of Prussia) were also dealing in musical instruments. Barnett's wife, Caroline, was Henry Solomon's sister. They also had three daughters: Rosa, Bertha and Minnie, who all played music together.

The family moved to London as the music business started to take off, and took over the warehouses at 31 Houndsditch and 27A Duke Street. The firm became a huge concern selling every kind of musical instrument from harmoniums to zithers.

In 1861, Henry Solomon sold the musical instrument side of his business to Barnett Samuel (who had by then married his sister Caroline).

In 1869 Nelson Samuel (Barnett's third son) entered the business and eventually took a great part in the prosperity of the firm. In 1872 Barnett's eldest son was taken into partnership and the firm became Barnett Samuel and Son.

In 1879 the business moved to 32 Worship Street, and Nelson Samuel became a partner so the firm's name was changed to Barnett Samuel & Sons. He proved to be a force behind even greater expansion of the their activities. By then they were dealing in every type of musical instrument and musical merchandise - including banjos and zither-banjos made for them by factories in Birmingham and London. In 1878 the firm had opened their first English harmonium factory. Barnett Samuel died in 1882, but Nelson Samuel's guiding hand led the firm from strength to strength.

S. Samuel left the partnership in 1886. In 1889 they noted: Messrs Barnett, Samuel & Sons have entirely recovered from the late fire on their premises in Worship Street and the re-building is proceeding, so that the firm may return to them before the Winter Season. The salvage having been taken by the Insurance Co. all their present stock is entirely new.

The company was incorporated as Barnett Samuel and Sons Ltd. in 1901 By this time they were one of the largest musical instrument wholesalers in the country and, in addition, had established their own piano factory in North London.

Four of the next generation, Nelson's sons Frank and Edgar plus two of their cousins entered the family business in 1904.

By 1911 the subsidiary company John Grey and Sons (an invented name for the business of banjos, guitars and drums) had been formed and used the name as a trademark on its instruments. Earlier instruments just had Grey and Sons Ltd. as the trademark. The company made some of their own instruments and bought in many from the usual ``makers to the trade'' of the time.

By 1914, the four members of the younger generation were in charge; the business was then the largest record wholesalers and dealerships in London. They began manufacturing a portable gramophone called the Dulcephone, which they patented as the first portable gramophone; they sold it under the trade name Decca. This major breakthrough in the technology of recorded sound gave good quality reproduction and the convenience of portability. Many were taken overseas by soldiers in WWI.

As manufacturers and importers of pianofortes and all kinds of musical instruments, gramophones and records they had specialities such as the Pistonola player piano, Chicago cottage organs, Odeon, Jumbo and Fonotipia records and the Dulcephone. At that time they had 200 employees.

Following the end of the War in 1918, Barnett Samuel and Sons established subsidiaries: British Music Strings and Boyd Ltd., see 24.17.

In 1921 they advertised the Deccalian, another portable gramophone. The company was eventually renamed the Decca Gramophone Co. Ltd. and then sold to former stockbroker Edward Lewis in 1929. The British record label ``Decca'' was coined by Wilfred S. Samuel by merging the word ``Mecca'' with the initial D of their logo ``Dulcet'' or their trademark ``Dulcephone''. Wilfred was a linguist, and had chosen Decca as a brand name because it was easy to pronounce in most languages. The name dates back to the ``Decca Dulcephone''. Within a few years, Decca Records Ltd. was the second largest record label in the world, calling itself The Supreme Record Company.

The sales of portable gramophones was enormous and soon dwarfed the sales of all other goods made by the company, although the manufacture of banjos continued to thrive because of the dance band boom. Boyd Ltd. was sold in 1927 to the newly formed Associated Piano Co.

The Decca Gramophone Co which was floated in 1928 as a public company. The musical instrument part of the company was then contained in just 8 shares of John Grey and Sons. The shares in John Grey were then bought by Rose, Morris and Co. in 1932 who made banjos up to and after the second world war. That was history, as they say!

A 3 stop instrument bearing their name was restored by Melanie Fluke in 1988 and photos appear in the ROS Bulletin of February that year.

A small harmonium bearing this name plate appeared on e-Bay 9/4/05. Its other name label is believed to be from the retailer, Johnson and Company, Prince of Wales Rd., Norwich. It measures approx. 42'' x14'' x31''.

A number of other small instruments are registered on Fritz Gellerman's database.

J.F. Scholefield (1886-8)

Scholefield was an Harmonium manufacturer of Park Works, Greenhead Road, Huddersfield.

Scott Brothers and Co., Scott & White (-1871)

Edinburgh Gazette, 11/6/1871: The co-partnership between the Subscribers, sole Partners thereof, carrying on business under the Firm of Scott Brothers and Company, Harmonium Manufacturers in Glasgow, was dissolved of mutual consent on the 15th day of May 1871. JAs. & D. Scott, R.B. Scott.

There is a second notice as follow.

Edinburgh Gazette, 24/8/1871: The co-partnership between the Subscribers (sole Partners thereof), carrying on business under the Firm of Scott & White, Harmonium Manufacturers in Glasgow, has been dissolved as of this date of mutual consent. JAs. O.D. Scott, Duncan White.

Sewell and Sewell (c.1896-1906)


The Sewells were at 8, 10 and 16 (eventually up to no.23) Worship Street, Finsbury Square, London EC. There are advertisements for pianos made by Sewell and Sewell. The name plate claims that they were manufacturers of pianos c.1884-1915, but they possibly did not make their own harmoniums. The ones we have seen were made by the Hillier Organ Co.

Seymour and Co. (c.1893)

Possibly another of the London makers. A single manual instrument was for sale on the Harmonium and Reed Organ Workshop Web site late 2002 by Tony Pilcher in Sherington, Buckinghamshire. Measurements 39'' x17'' x37'' high.

J. and E. Shaw (c.1856)

John and Edwin Shaw of Glossop near Derby, musical instrument makers, applied for a patent in 1856 for ``certain improvements in pianofortes, organs, harmoniums and other similar keyed musical instruments'' (London Gazette).

E. Shipman (1877-96)

Edwin Shipman (b.1833), later Shipman and Shipman was a harmonium manufacturer of 88 and 30 Prince of Wales Road, St. Pancras, London NW and a factory at Poynings Road, Junction Road or 8 Anglers Lane. They later also made pianos until around 1930.

Shipman lived with his family at 30 Prince of Wales Road. His wife Caroline was born in 1832 and they had two daughters, Emma and Jane. Grand daughter Ivy Shipman aged 2 years was also living with them in 1891 along with two lodgers, one of whom was an Austrian journalist named Herman Pollatt.

J. Simpson (1879-90)

James Simpson was an harmonium maker and piano dealer of 141 Elderslie Street, Glasgow later occupying numbers 559 and 284 Sauchiehall Street, at different times.

H.C. Sims (1866-1906)

Captain Heber Caplin Sims (b.1843-d.13/9/1917) was an organ builder, harmonium manufacturer and tuner of Southampton and the 13 Partlands Avenue, Isle of Wight. He had initially been a joiner and cabinet maker and lived at 1 Anderson's Terrace, Chapel, Southampton and then 32 Onslow Road and 39 Ordnance Road (1891). The South of England Organ Works were at Bellevue Terrace, Southampton in 1906, but the firm had previously been run from 32 Onslow Road. The Ryde branch was formed in around 1898. Harmonium production probably ceased before 1906. The firm was known successively as Heber C. Sims, Sims and Co., Heber Caplin Sims and Co., H.C. Sims, Sims & Ivimey (c.1901) and Sims & Co. (1907-11).

James Ivimey was a well known organ builder in Southampton, the firm was operating from at least 1866 to c.1951 latterly as Ivimey & Cooper Ltd.

In the 1881 census, Sims is noted as having a wife Catherine, sons William, Frank and Wallace and daughters Bessie and Nellie. All children were less than 14 years of age and still at school at that time.

Sims must have re-married, for in 1891 he is noted as living with wife Jenetta J. (age 34), son William C. (also an organ builder age 24), Katherine B. (17), Ellen M. (14), Jenetta F. (age 1) and a domestic servant named Ellen Bailey. They had another daughter, Edith B. (b.1894) and another son, Heber Harold (b.1896), is noted as having been killed in action in France on 1/9/1918.

Captain Sims V.D. is buried in Ryde New Cemetry, see

E. Slack (c. 1883)

Edward Slack was a piano and harmonium maker of 12 Packers Row, Chesterfield.

R. Slater and Son (1881-1952)


Robert Slater (d.1930) and Son (Sidney) produced small portable harmoniums supplying Morgan and Scott and also the Congregational Church. 484 instruments were built between 1920-9 at Forest Gate Organ Works.

Slater was previously an apprentice to organ builder Henry Speechley and set up his own firm in 1881. It was at 112 Odessa Road, Forest Gate, E. London. He built a number of pipe organs around that area using low wind pressure in the traditional way. He also built portable harmoniums at the same time. Robert Slater died in 1930 and his son Sidney carried on the business. Later Stanley Harris, an employee, took over the business when Sidney died in 1952 and carried on until he retired in 1980. A number of pipe organs by Slater still exist and, although not particularly inspiring, they are attractive in appearance, compact and well built. One was recently for sale from the Tower Road URC, Hindhead, Surrey following the closure of the church.


A. Smith (c.1889-90)

A piano and harmonium manufacturer of 56 Manchester Road, Burnley, Lancashire. He may have worked for organ builders Gray and Davidson and may also have been associated with (or become) Smith and Smith (see below).

H. Smith (c.1867-84)

Hermann Smith and James Baillie Hamilton were co-inventors of the Vocalion, see Chapter 7. Smith worked at 29 Shaftesbury Road, Hammersmith, London and later at 238 Oxford Street. Smith built an instrument called the Oberon and another called the Mechanic's Harmonium which was featured in articles for The English Mechanic on how to build your own harmonium c.1867. He also held a patent, number 7,777 in 1884 for a so called ``mechanism'' with W.H. Riddell.

H.H. Smith (c.1872)

Herbert Harvey Smith was a harmonium manufacturer and tuner of Church Street, Eckington, Worcestershire.

W. Smith (c.1858)

William Smith was an harmonium maker of 22-1/2 High Petergate, York.

Smith and Smith (c.1880)

Harmonium, American organ and bellows manufacturer of 1 Chapel Mews, Chapel Street, Somers Town, London.

Smith and Whincup (c.1882)

Piano and harmonium manufacturers of 89 Cookbridge Street, near Leeds Town Hall. An advert from 1847 notes them as pianoforte makers at 1 Wade Street and 168 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds.

An account ledger from 1856-7 is in the West Yorkshire Archive ref.GA/2/18.

E. & W. Snell (1864-1907)

See Chapter 17

R. Stather (1870-1908)

See Chapter 19.

R.F. Stevens (1853-1978)

See Chapter 20.

H. Storey and Sons. (c.1878-96)

Henry Storey and Sons of 22 Eversholt Street, Oakley Square, Camden Town, London were registered as a piano and harmonium manufacturers. They ceased production of harmoniums around 1880 and known as piano manufacturers 1882-95.

J. Strohmenger and Sons (1878-1915)

John Strohmenger and Sons were established in 1835 and later registered as piano and harmonium manufacturers and importers at 169-71 (steam factory) and 206 (show rooms and office) Goswell Road, London EC. There was also a warehouse in Powell Street. They seem to have continued until c.1932.

Other London addresses are noted as: 17 Ashford Street, Hoxton, Alexander House, Southgate Road, Wood Green (c.1874), The factory at: 169, Goswell Road (c.1870) and 167-71 Goswell Road (1914-15), 169-206, Goswell Road (1878-1903), a warehouse at: (2?) Powell Street (Goswell Road) (1884-95), show rooms at: 206 Goswell Road (1891-1914), 2-4 Powell Street (1914-15), 86 Brompton Road (1914-15), 105 High Holborn (1914-15).

It is believed the sons were Henry, George and Frederick Strohmenger trading at the Goswell Road address. This partnership was dissolved on 3/7/1889 when Frederick left [check].

Instruments were exhibited in the London exhibitions of 1872 and 78.

They were founded in 1830 (manufacturing from 1835) and acquired by Chappells in 1938.

Their Goswell Road factory was destroyed by fire on 29/6/1887, cause was reported as ``a light thrown down''.

W. Temlett (c.1878-87)

Temlett of 95 Union Street, Borough Road, London SE was registered as a harmonium manufacturer. Business by 1887 expanded to 93-95 Union Street but they no longer made harmoniums after 1889 turning attention to banjos and other cheap and popular instruments.

W.H. Tidder (c.1895-1914)


Wm. Henry Tidder and Sons, as the business became known, worked at 228 Mile End Road, London from c.1895 to 1906 and had other related businesses, e.g. making steel reeds c.1896 and at other addresses. They started as seraphine, harmonium and concertina makers but later made American organs and portable harmoniums up to at least 1914. It is likely that Tidder was a concertina maker at least between 1884-1921, but who has ever seen one of his (labelled) instruments? There is a lot more discussion about that on here:

William Henry Tidder (21/5/1847-1906) married Louisa Ruth Hickey (1851-1926) in 26/12/1871 in Hackney and was listed as a musical instrument maker on their marriage certificate. The 1881 census lists him as a musical instrument maker living at 144 Jamaica Street In about 1890 he lived at 553 Commercial Road (less than a mile from George Jones, concertina maker).


A small 3-octave portable harmonium came up for sale in Mar'2013 from a seller in North Yorkshire. Whilst in poor condition, the instrument was clearly of high quality with inlaid mahogany veneer woodwork. It was very similar to the photo above from Fritz Gellerman's data base, but in addition had 5 stops below the keyboard.


Totterdell and Price (c.1887)

Manufacturer of harmoniums and American organs at 2 Kingsland Green, London.

W. Travis (c.1879-85)

William Travis was an harmonium and piano maker of 109 Manchester Street, Oldham, Lancashire.

E. Trost (c.1863)

Harmonium and accordion maker of 263-4 Whitechapel Road, London.

W.B. Tucker (c.1900-14)

A maker of portable harmoniums and pianos up to around 1914. Tucker had premises at 95 King's Road, Chelsea and Euston Road, London.

L. Valentine (1859-90)

According to Elvin [60], Lorenzo Valentine established a workshop with his business partner Charles Lloyd in 1859 in Bilbie Street, Nottingham. Lloyd had been a voicer and tuner with Samuel Groves of London, who had a factory in Nottingham, and trained with John Gray before Frederick Davidson became his full partner to form Gray and Davidson, see Chapter 30.

Lorenzo was born in Paddington in 1835 and his wife was Sarah (b.1838 also in London). Listed in the 1881 Census at Leicester Street they had 8 children all born in Melton Mowbray: daughters Emma (b.1866), Harriett S. (b.1873) and Sara E. (b.1875); sons William J. (b.1868), Walter L. (b.1870), Alfred G. (b.1871), Charles E. (b.1877) and Claude H. (b.1880). In 1861 Sarah's parents William and Martha Whalley were also living with them at Beast Market. William was a basket maker from Melton and Martha was from Newark.

Valentine produced pipe organs, pianos and harmoniums from premises at Market Place and Scalford Road, Melton Mowbray probably from around 1862 onwards when Lloyd decided to join Dudgeon in Union Road, Nottingham to become Lloyd and Dudgeon, organ builders.

C. Venables and Co. (c.1869-)


Charles Samuel Venables, becoming Venables and Co. of London were harmonium makers c.1869. They were also known as piano makers and dealers from that time until 1915 showing pianos in the London exhibition in 1872. They had premises at 187-89 Essex Road, Islington (1870-1915), Lower Road, Islington and 1-4 Canonbury Road, Isington from 1882-95.

ROS-1697 1M

ROS DB has entry 1697 which is a small ``Improved Patent'' harmonium, CC-c''' range and stops: Forte, Sourdine, Cor Anglais, Voix Celeste, Tremolo. This was sold at auction in 1993 with the rest of the B. (Cricket) Green Collection of Alabama.


Another photo of a small harmonium by Venables is shown in Gellerman's book [86] Figure 368, p243.


C. Virot (c.1865-83)

Charles Virot was a manufacturer of both harmoniums and reeds. His business had premises at 67 Stanhope Street, Euston Road, London moving to 15 Seymour Street, Euston Square. His output included a 2MP harmonium with a retractable pedal board.

An advertisement from 1865 simply notes C. Virot, late with Messrs. Boosey and Co. Manufactureer of Harmoniums. 25 High-Street, Marylebone.

Waddington and Sons (1838-1918 on)

William Alfred Waddington was another of the Yorkshire makers producing pianos from 1838 to c.1932. He had premises at 44-46 Stonegate, York. We note that Geo. Richardson was registered at 43 Stonegate. Among other instruments they produced a combined piano and harmonium in 1882. They also seem to have had a patent for a combined harmonium and cupboard! They had a number of patents and exhibited some unusual instruments in Dublin in 1865.

Some more information was found from Andy Chase's blog: and The History of Stonegate [128].

W.A. Waddington came to York from Everton and commenced in a small way to manufacture pianos, occupying some workshops behind the Star Inn. Knowles tells us that he died in 1896 at the age of 79, which would put his year of birth as 1816 or 1817. He was married to Mary Ann Hunt who was born in York. Their sons later traded as William Alfred and Walter Waddington - Waddington Brothers. There were three other sons.

Waddington Brothers were also established at New Station Street Leeds in 1893 and later moved to 9 Woodhouse Lane and existed there until around 1910.

The firm was reported as employing 135 to 150 people by the 1860s and by 1876 said in an advertisement that they had sold 10,000 instruments (pianos). It was clearly a large enterprise.

They continued until after the 1920s when they became a limited company. At that time the manufacturing part of the business moved to Scarborough; the Stonegate premises were re-furbished as piano show rooms and shops. It was not long before manufacturing ceased altogether in the 1930s depression. A fascinating film was made of the Scarborough factory in 1928, see Yorkshire Film Archives, showing manufacture of their last products marketed as the Bremar piano.

Nos. 43-45 Stonegate have today been re-numbered and are now Nos. 34 and 32. The 18th centuury buildings are now occupied by clothing shops.

It is believed they imported and sold Hamilton organs from Chicago, USA. A piano is known with the internal labels: ``British Patent no.4804. D.R.P. 228464. other patents pending.'' ``Hamilton's Organs. Waddington Bros. Trade mark.'' ``The Hamilton Piano.'' We don't know the significance of this.

At least one reed organ with the Waddington label was mentioned by its owner in 2005. We have seen a couple of others. Waddingtons later had a big ware house so may only have been retailers at the time these was made. Some of the instruments look as if they could have been made by Jacob Sames.

J. Wallis and Son (1848-1930)

See Chapter 31.37.

Henry Ward (c.1849-1909)


It was not known that Henry Ward, a piano maker of Bloomsbury, also made harmoniums until a potential candidate appeared in Nov'2020. The label says ``manufacturer'' but of what? This has to be confirmed with more examples if any exist.

Pianofortes by Henry Ward are well known and they made around 350 per year. The company exhibited in the London international exhibitions in 1862 and 1885 being listed as piano makers since 1848 at 70 (1852) and 100 (1862-1903) Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury plus other addresses at Miller Street (1891-5) and 44 Arlington Road (1891-1909), Camden Town.

The instrument in question was listed by a seller in Chippenham. It looks like a standard French instrument with barley twist legs, but has English stop names (at least those ones visible).

Forte, ??, ??, Diapason Bass, Expression, Diapason Treble, ??, Forte.

It also has a wind gauge similar to those on instruments by Stevens.

H.T. Wedlake (1859-1902)

See Chapter 4.6.

G. Wells (c.1895)


George Wells of 94 Hackney Road and 61 Gore Road, South Hackney, London. His label states ``Manufacturer'' on a small harmonium that was for sale in Mar'2013. Little more is currently known of this maker.

C. Wheatstone and Co. (c.1823-51)

wheatstone_name2.jpg rock_chidley_name.jpg

Wheatstone and Co. won a prize medal at the 1851 Exhibition for a novel invention of a Portable Harmonium. This was no.526 in the exhibition catalogue. See Chapter 3. Edward and Rock Chidley, Wheatstone's nephews, exhibited concertinas as item no.544.

In 1856 Messrs. Wheatstone and Co. were advertising a ten guinea harmonium similar to the prize winning instrument. This had five octaves and one stop. The advertisement also noted them as inventors and patentees of the concertina, at 20 Conduit Street, Regent Street, London.

Advertised as follows in Journal of the Society of Arts, 1857, p284.

 Wheatstone's Ten Guinea Harmonium, manufactured expressly for
 churches, chapels, schools, &c., is made on a greatly-Improved
 construction, combines all the latest Improvements, and is
 manufactured solely by them. It has the compass of five octaves, an
 expression stop, and possesses a powerful rich quality of tone,
 answers with the greatest rapidity to the touch, and can be produced
 loud or soft at pleasure. It has a substantial oak case, can be
 warranted in every respect, and is indispensable to the school-room,
 singing-class, etc. The Ten Guinea Harmonium will be taken in
 exchange for any more expensive ones at full price if required. The
 more expensive Harmoniums, with from three to ten stops, range from
 16 to 30 guineas. They are equally adapted to the church or
 drawing-room. For the former, it will be found most valuable, and in
 many respects preferable to the organ.

 Messrs. WHEATSTONE obtained the only Great Exhibition Prize for
 Harmoniums in 1851.The MECHANICAL and FINGER HARMONIUM, which can be
 used mechanically or not, without any preparation. This is a
 perfectly new invention of Messrs. Wheatstone and Co., and can be
 seen only at their warerooms. This instrument will be found to be
 particularly useful when the Harmonium performer cannot always
 attend. The PIANO HARMONIUM is made expressly for playing by the same
 performer with tho Pianoforte. Price Twelve Guineas.

 Messrs. WHEATSTONE and CO., have Just received a large assortment of
 the ALEXANDRE HARMONIUM, for which Messrs. Alexandre et Fils received
 the French medal of honour. Including the different Instruments with
 and without the percussion action, and that with the expression a la
 main, at reduced prices. These Harmoniums have been brought to the
 greatest perfection, and are equally adapted as an accompaniment to
 the voice or pianoforte, and have been pronounced the best by Adam,
 Auber, Liszt, Rossini, Thalberg. &c.

 Also the SIX GUINEA HARMONIUM, or rather Seraphine, with 4 octaves,
 suitable for Sunday-schools and small Binging-classes.  

 WHEATSTONE and CO., 20, Conduit-street, Regent-street, London.

Rock Chidley was then advertising concertinas from a depot at 135 High Holborn, London. He had started in Oxford Street. It was noted that he had factories at Hollingworth Street North and Wellington Street, St. James Road, Holloway. Here is an artist's impression of 135 High Holborn c.1855.


On 2/5/1862 he were advertising Rock Chidley's celebrated harmoniums and concertinas at reduced prices. Harmoniums 5/5s ...

A small harmonium appeared on e-Bay from a vendor in Skegness in Spring 2007. This is certainly a rare instrument and carries the Rock Chidley name plate of 135 High Holborn.

A note in the London Gazette of 17/10/1862 suggests that Rock Chidley was then bankrupt: Rock Chidley, of no.135, High Holborn, in the county of Middlesex, Concertina and Harmonium Manufacturer, and formerly of no.135, High Holborn aforesaid, and of Wood Green, Tottenham, previously of no.11, Wellington Street, and of Hollingsworth Street, both in Holloway. And all in the county of Middlesex, Concertina and Harmonium Manufacturer, having been adjudged bankrupt under a Petition, for adjudication of Bankruptcy, filed in Her Majesty's Court of Bankruptcy, in London, on the 8th day of September, 1862, a public sitting, for the said bankrupt to pass his Last Examination, and make application for his Discharge, will be held before Edward Goulburn, Serjeant-at-Law, a Commissioner of the said Court, on the 17th day of November next, at the said Court, at Basinghall-Street, in the city of London, at two in the afternoon precisely, the day last aforesaid being the day limited for the said bankrupt to surrender. Mr. George John Graham, of no.25, Coleman Street, London, is the Official Assignee, and Mr. H. Pook. of no.27, Basinghall Street, London, is the Solicitor acting in the bankruptcy.

An order of discharge was granted on 17/11/1862 but no instruments of any kind are known to have been made after this date. Rock Chidley's machinery, tools and remaining stock were put up for sale on 1/1/1867.

One occasionally sees for sale 48 key English concertinas with the Rock Chidley name label, these look very like the ones by Lachenal of the same period. It seems that Tidder may also have been a supplier to Lachenal.

Edward Chidley (b.1830-) was Rock's younger brother. He moved in 1861 to 28 Store Street, later moving in 1871 to 20 Conduit Street and taking over the business.

The history of Wheatstones in relation to concertina manufacture is well known. See CHIDLEY Concertina Maker.pdf. In relation to harmoniums the following dates are relevant.

1862 - Edward Chidley listed as a maker at 28 Store Street, Bedford Square
1862 - William Wheatstone dies
1862 - Rock Chidley concertinas received an ``honourable mention'' in the International Exhibition
1862 - Rock Chidley declared bankrupt, and again in 1867. The case is helped by elder brother John Robert
1866-8 - Chidley (Edward) producing concertinas for sale by Wheatstones
1870 - Edward Chidley operating from Wheatstone's Conduit Street premises and advertising as Maker and Importer of Harmoniums, concertinas, etc.
1875 - Charles Wheatstone dies - Edward Chidley continues running the firm
1899 - Edward Chidley Snr. dies - Wheatstone's firm passes to his sons Edward and Percy
1905 - move to 15 West Street, Charing Cross
1906 - Kenneth V. Chidley joins the firm
1924 - K.V. Chidley becomes production manager
1945-6 - manufacture moves to Frederick Close, Stanhope Place with sales remaining at West Street
1948 - Percy Chidley dies
1964 - Ken Chidley dies

The Horniman museum in London has an extensive collection of instruments by Wheatstone, many collected and donated to them by Neil Wayne.

H. Whitehead (1847-61)

Henry Whitehead (b.1826-d.4/4/1917) was an organ and harmonium maker registered at 51 Coney Street, York. After an apprenticeship with John Ward, he commenced business in 1848 as a music and musical instrument dealer and in 1855 established an organ and harmonium factory. He built or re-built at least 17 pipe organs, but was mostly concerned with harmoniums. In the York Directory of 1861 he is simply described as ``harmonium maker''.



Whitehead emigrated to Dublin in 1861 and died on 4/4/1917. None of his harmoniums appear to have survived.

G. Williams (c.1897-1900)

Maker of portable harmoniums, 244 Caledonian Road, London and also registered at other premises. Milton Yard, Cloudesley Road, Barnsbury (1897) and 123 Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath.

T.R. Willis (1861-1890)

Thomas Richard Willis (b.c.1835-d.c.1900) (late of Coleman and Willis) the Harmonium Factory, 29 Minories, London E. is listed in the 1882 directory under harmonium. The trade directory of 1871 says established 1827 [not possible see below], maker and importer of brass and woodwind instruments, harmonium reeds, music strings, wire etc., violins, concertinas. Also organ builder, wood and metal pipe maker, voicing, tuning, repairing...

He is listed in NPOR but noted as born in 1835 in Blackwall. The 1871 Census confirms that he was a musical instrument dealer then aged 36 living with his wife Caroline E. also aged 36 and two daughters Caroline E.M. (age 7) and Florence (9 months) and a teenage domestic servant named Mary Ann Ross. They employed 2 men and 2 boys.

He was advertising in Musical Times 1/3/1861:

THE CHEAPEST AND BEST HARMONIUMS are to be obtained at the
Manufactory, as below. No charge for packing. Every fitting requisite
is kept for the convenience of those who wish to make for themseves. 
Thos. R. Willis (late Coleman and Willis) 29, Minories, London, E.

also Harmonium notes, keys, note-boards, bellows etc. manufactured on the premises.

and in 1866: Wood and Metal Pipes. Voicing, Tuning, and Repairing. Lists on application.


(late Moffatt), Maker and Importer of Musical Instruments. 
Established 1833. The trade and amateurs supplied with Harmonium 
Reeds, Musical Strings, and Fittings of all kinds. Lists on applica- 
tion. 29, Minories, London, E.

There were similar adverts in 1873, but from c.1886 Willis was listed as a pianoforte silker and hammer coverer.

Another source says that Willis had opened his Tower Organ Works at 29 Minories in 1827. It burnt down in 1890. This is not possible. It seems likely, but not confirmed, that the building was orginally occupied by John William Moffatt, from Muzio Clementi & Co., who may have previously been at 145 Minories. Listed at 29 Minories, London, manufacturer of every description of musical strings, and importer... He was noted as a gut string maker for violins. J.W. Moffatt ``Minories London'' was an instrument dealer in London, putting his own stamp on instruments he sold such as concertinas, and was succeeded by T.R. Willis when he died in 1854. Confusingly his son was also named John William Moffat (b.1842-d.1915).

Charles Wood (1877-90)


We don't very often add a new section, but this manufacturer was unknown to me until Nov'2017. A harmonium (e-Bay *1609) was advertised carrying the label:

  Improved Harmonium
    Manufactured by
Charles Wood, Stamford

It has 10 stops and one knee swell and was being stored in church actully near Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Possibly Charles Wood (b.1829-d.1881) Stamford St. Michael, Stamford. But, according to DBOB Charles Wood was an organ builder in Stamford working from 1877-90 and based at 11 St. Martin's, Stamford, Northants. No more is currently known.


Rob Allan