Those as interested as I am to learn the provenance of our ClockTower building will remember this post from October first,
I asked about the painted billboard on our eastern face that advertised 12 Rathbone Place in London. A comment offered a link that showed an Estey Organ facility at that location in London.
Then a quick Google of Estey Organ led me to the Estey Organ Museum website……
...and from there I found email for John and Mary Carnahan, museum founders. Their mission?
From their webpage:
I wrote and asked them what they knew about all this.
They sent back a very nice, very encouraging letter with loads of information and a connection to a historian who wrote a book about this company. Except for the first Rathbone photo, these photos are all from their webpage.
So. It turns out that Jacob Estey…
...was actually manufacturing pump organs first, in Vermont pre-Civil War beginning around 1848.
By the 1880’s he was doing so well he branched out into piano’s and that’s when he built the showy 1886 ClockTower to celebrate his success and to make a statement to the community and to house his piano manufacturing.
Piano’s flourished too. Demand ramped up in Europe and the showroom at 12 Rathbone Place came into being. Old Mr. Estey apparently made one of the best pianos in the world. From the Landmarks Commission statement about our ClockTower:
“Estey grand and upright pianos soon became a dominant
factor in the piano trade”,…….they often “carried off highest awards for superior construction and workmanship. In 1887, (note: one year after the ClockTower opened) the trade publication Musical Courier wrote that the Estey Piano Factory was “one of the most complete in the country”; two years later, it called the firm’s upright “a most beautiful specimen of piano manufacturing,” of which Estey would “find no difficulty in disposing in the best musical circles in the land.”
No wonder they clamored for them in London.
Nice sleuthing, Selina.