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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution ; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Boston,   pp. 276-312 ff.


Page 287

CHICKERING & SONS PIANO-FORTE MANUFACTORY.
the reparation of a disordered Piano-the only one in the town-
which, after much labor, he succeeded in restoring to usefulness. This
instrument belonged to Samuel Batchelder, elsewhere alluded to, and
was no doubt the first Piano-forte that Mr. Chickering ever saw.
On February 15th, 1818, he arrived in Boston, and found employment
at cabinet-making, commencing work on the very day of his arrival.
One year afterward he entered into the employment of Mr. Osborn,
then almost the only manfacturer of Piano-fortes in the city, with
whom he remained four years. On February 15th, 1823, he entered
into a copartnership with a Mr. Stewart in the manufacture of Pianos,
which continued for three years, when it was dissolved; and Mr. Chick-
ering prosecuted the business without a partner for several years. le
then became associated with Mr. Mackay, a capitalist of Boston, and
by the erection of large buildings, and the importation of rare kinds
of wood, prepared for an extension of the business, which rapidly fol-
lowed. It is a noticeable circumstance in his career, that all his part-
nerships, and all his most important undertakings, date from the
fifteenth day of February, the anniversary of his arrival in the city of
Boston. In 1852, his large Manufactory on Washington street was
destroyed by fire, involving a loss of two hundred thousand dollars;
and he then laid the foundations of the present establishment, which
has been described. But before its completion, in March, 1853, he died,
leaving to his sons the most famous name in the annals of musical
mechanism, and a business which his genius and skill had increased
from fifteen instruments-the number made by him the first year-to
thirteen hundred per year.
Since Mr. Chickering's decease, the business has been conducted by
his thrie sons, who have had the advantage of a thorough training
and long experience, and who have made and adopted improvements
that render the instruments which they now manufacture far superior
to the best made by their father. They employ about five hundred
workmen, some of whom earn forty dollars per week, and have been
connected with the establishment for thirty years; and they turn out
over two thousand Pianos a year. They have received, from Fairs
and Exhibitions, gold and silver Medals sufficient to form an extensive
numismatic collection, and Testimonials from eminent performers and
competent musical critics, which, if arranged in a volume, would make
a bulky octavo. Their Square and Grand Pianos have been repeatedly
subjected to the most rigid tests of comparative merit in competition
with the best instruments made in Europe and America, with results
so satisfactory, that their superior quality and excellence cannot now
reasonably be questioned; and recently Messrs. Chickering & Sons
2 8 '


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