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Canadian Piano Manufacturers A To Z

Amherst Pianos Ltd

1913 - 1928 Amherst, Nova Scotia

Amherst Pianos Ltd. was established in 1913 in Amherst Nova Scotia. The Macdonald Piano And Music Company was the largest music retailer in Atlantic Canada at the time. Business was so good that they decided to build their own factory and create the Amherst brand. Eventually Amherst established a distribution network right across Canada. However, by the 1920’s the home piano market was reaching the saturation point and like many other Canadian piano makers, they found it difficult to compete in the dwindling market. The Amherst Piano company closed their doors in 1928.

As a piano technician, I find the Amherst pianos difficult to work on. They may have been a decent piano in their day but they have not aged well. They often have pinblock problems. They usually have very loose tuning pins. They did not have a full iron plate that covered the pin block, as a result it is common for the pinblock to have separated from the back of the piano. A piano in this condition is impossible to tune to concert pitch.

Bell Piano & Organ

1864 – 1928 Guelph, Ontario

The Bell piano had a distinctive full sound. Many people would argue that the Bell upright piano was the best upright piano ever made in Canada. The pianos produced in the period from 1900 to 1920 were as good as the best uprights made anywhere in the world.More about Bell pianos...

Cecilian Piano Company

1883-1922 Toronto

This company produced a small number of instruments but I include it in this Canadian piano makers section since it is the piano that I learned to play on. They specialized in player pianos but also produced standard upright pianos. Cecilian pianos were distributed by Heintzman & Co. through their dealer network.

The older Cecilian pianos were reasonably good quality. Mason & Risch used this brand in later years on some of their small uprights unfortunately they were not well made.

Dominion Piano & Organ Company

1870 – 1936 Bowmanville, Ontario

The Dominion piano company was one of the largest piano manufacturers in Canada. The company was established in 1870. Potential buyers should be cautious since many of these pianos are extremely old. It is hard to judge whether these instruments were good quality in their day but I can say from experience that they did not age well.

Ennis Piano Company

1863– 1911 Hamilton, Ontario

Ennis produced mid quality pianos from their plant in Hamilton Ontrio. The original factory was burned to the ground in 1905. The company rebuilt but was not able to compete in the growing piano industry. They closed in 1911 when many pianos companies were expanding to meet the increasing consumer demand.

Evans Bros.

1872 – 1932? Ingersoll, Ontario

This piano make is on my stay away from list. It is hard to say 100 years later if a piano was good value in it’s day but you can say if they have fallen apart in the intervening years. This seems to be the case with most of the Evans Bros. pianos that I have ever been called on to tune.

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St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie, Beamsville, Jordan, Vineland & Smithville.

 

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