Doherty Pianos Ltd.

Doherty Pianos Ltd (W. Doherty Piano and Organ Co Ltd 1875-1913). Manufacturing firm founded in 1875 in Clinton, Ont, by William Doherty (b 21 Mar 1841, d Clinton 9 Feb 1924), a furniture dealer and Bell Organ representative. Under the name W.

Doherty Pianos Ltd.

Doherty Pianos Ltd (W. Doherty Piano and Organ Co Ltd 1875-1913). Manufacturing firm founded in 1875 in Clinton, Ont, by William Doherty (b 21 Mar 1841, d Clinton 9 Feb 1924), a furniture dealer and Bell Organ representative. Under the name W. Doherty & Co, he began his business in 1868 above a store on the main street. In 1875 a large factory was built where 100 reed organs were produced monthly The factory burned down in 1898 and was rebuilt in time to ship organs to the 1898 CNE. Doherty was joined in partnership ca 1880-90 by John Gibbings. Doherty's company made its first pianos in 1907 and was incorporated as the W. Doherty Piano and Organ Co Ltd 4 Dec 1907. The firm produced about 400 organs a month and increased its piano production to 1500 annually during the first 10 years. 'Organ' was dropped from the name in 1913, and production seems to have been curtailed ca 1917. Retail branches were established after about 1908, in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and, briefly, Regina. The firm's mainstays were its piano and the Doherty Attachable Player (which converted any style or make of standard piano into a player piano). In 1913 a grand piano was introduced and also a new standard design, the 'Clinton' line. In 1915 the firm advertised that over 70,000 Doherty instruments were in use 'throughout the civilized world' although their export was primarily to England, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand The same year Doherty closed its retail operations, planning to extend its wholesale trade. With Doherty's retirement in 1917, the firm was reorganized as Doherty Pianos Ltd under the control of a group of businessmen, and thenceforth it manufactured player, Doherty, and Clinton pianos, reed organs, benches, and stools. Bought in 1920 by Sherlock-Manning (Sherlock and Manning were former Doherty employees) it continued to operate under its own name. Though head offices were moved to London, Ont, factories remained in Clinton and increased their production to 2500 instruments a year. B.J. Gibbings, son of the one-time partner John Gibbings, served as plant superintendent at Clinton. Contrary to figures in the Pierce Piano Atlas, production of Doherty pianos ceased in the early 1930s.


Further Reading

  • Draper, Murray. The Story of Doherty and Sherlock Manning (Clinton, Ont 1986)

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