Chickering and Sons

Chickering and Sons
Chickering nameboard label

Chickering and Sons was an American piano manufacturer located in Boston, known for producing award-winning instruments of superb quality and design. The company was founded in 1823 by Jonas Chickering and James Stewart, but the partnership dissolved four years later. By 1830 Jonas Chickering became partners with John Mackay, manufacturing pianos as Chickering & Company, and later Chickering & Mackays until the senior Mackay's death in 1841, and reorganized as Chickering & Sons in 1853. Chickering pianos continued to be made until 1983.

Most Famous Piano

It was P.T. Barnum who persuaded Jenny Lind - the Swedish Nightingale - to make a concert tour of the United States. After her agreement, Barnum commissioned the Chickering company to manufacture a custom grand piano for her nationwide tour, ultimately involving 93 performances. The piano was completed by August of 1850; Lind arrived in September and the concert series began in Boston. Her pianist was Otto Goldschmidt, whom she married at the end of her tour.

Coincidentally, as the tour began, Henry E. Steinway (Steinweg) and his large family arrived in New York as immigrants from Germany. Henry attended the opening night of the NYC concert series but showed little interest in the diva. His profound interest was in the Chickering piano, to which he dashed for such careful examination that he nearly had to be hauled away so the concert could begin.

On December 1, 1852, a massive fire destroyed Chickering's piano factory located at 336 Washington Street in Boston. One policeman was killed. The walls of the building collapsed, and set adjoining structures on fire. A new factory was built in 1853-54 at 791 Tremont Street in Boston, and this structure still stands today. It was renovated into artist studios in 1972. [1]

Jonas Chickering made several major contributions to the development of piano technology, most notably by introducing a one-piece, cast-iron plate to support the greater string tension of larger grand pianos.

Chickering was the largest piano manufacturer in the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century, but was surpassed in the 1860s by Steinway. In 1867, Jonas's son Frank Chickering had the Imperial Cross of the Legion of Honour, then one of the world's most prestigious non-military awards, bestowed upon him by Emperor Napoleon III for services to the art of music, one of more than 200 awards the piano manufacturer garnered over the years.

The company became in 1908 part of the American Piano Company (Ampico).

The Chickering name continues to be applied to new pianos today, as a brand name of the Baldwin Piano Company.

External links


  1. ^ Chickering Piano Works Fire at