Weber Piano Company Ltd.

Weber Piano Company Ltd. Manufacturers of grand, square, and upright pianos, founded as Messrs Weber & Co in Market Square, Kingston, Ont, in 1871. The firm also sold parlour organs and melodeons by other makers. Weber succeeded an earlier piano manufacturer, John C.

Weber Piano Company Ltd.

Weber Piano Company Ltd. Manufacturers of grand, square, and upright pianos, founded as Messrs Weber & Co in Market Square, Kingston, Ont, in 1871. The firm also sold parlour organs and melodeons by other makers. Weber succeeded an earlier piano manufacturer, John C. Fox, after a transition period of several takeovers and amalgamations by other entrepreneurs. John C. Fox (of J.C. Fox & Co, New York) had established a piano manufacturing firm in Kingston in 1862 and by 1867 was reputed to be the largest piano manufacturer in Canada, turning out about 500 instruments a year. The void left by Fox's demise was filled 1868-71 by J. Reyner; J. Stevenson; Rappe & Co, Weber & Co; F.C. Cline; and John Breden, Jr.

Only Weber & Co survived the transition. By 1873 Weber was building seven or eight square and upright pianos a week. The company won several prizes at provincial exhibitions and in 1876 was awarded a first prize and a silver medal at the Philadelphia World's Fair. John and W.H. Stevenson became the proprietors of Weber & Co in 1881 and later renamed the firm Stevenson & Co. A Kingston piano builder, William Wormwith, assumed control of Stevenson & Co in 1891, continuing as Wormwith & Co at Princess and Ontario streets. This company carried on successfully, producing, in addition to Wormwith pianos, a line of Weber pianos and player-pianos. The factory was destroyed by fire in 1908, but was rebuilt and became incorporated as the Wormwith Piano Co Ltd, with William Wormwith as president. He was succeeded a year or so later by George Y. Chown, and in 1918 he retired from the company. At that time the firm employed about 75 workmen and produced 1800 pianos per year. With Wormwith's retirement, the firm was renamed the Weber Piano Co Ltd in 1919, the controlling interest held by Henry Richardson. In 1920 the firm began exhibiting at the CNE and exporting some pianos to the West Indies. The staff increased to 100 and production to 2000 units a year. The Weber Piano Co was purchased by Lesage Pianos in 1939.

Another Kingston piano builder, G.M. Weber, set up business on Wellington St, manufacturing upright instruments ca 1881-95. No connection with the prior Weber firm has been established.


Further Reading

  • Kelly, Wayne. Downright Upright: A History of the Canadian Piano Industry (Toronto 1991)