Dominion Organ and Piano Co.
Dominion Organ and Piano Co. Instrument manufacturer. Although the date has not been substantiated, the firm was probably founded in 1870 in Oshawa as (A.M.) Darley and (William) Robinson, later called the Oshawa Organ and Melodeon Manufacturing Co. The firm relocated in Bowmanville, Ont, in 1873 and was renamed the Dominion Organ Co in 1875. It specialized in cabinet reed organs. These were distinctive for the reed-qualifying tubes which replaced tuning slides to give even-register voicing. In 1876 a 19-stop Dominion organ with 12 sets of reeds won an international medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Prizes in Paris, London, and Chicago followed. A piano factory was added in 1879, and two-manual organs for church use were introduced in the 1880s. The exceptional quality of Dominion's square grand and upright pianos made the company second only to Bell as a Canadian instrument producer and exporter. Before World War I it maintained agencies in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies. As a sales promotion the firm published complimentary piano music as well as the Dominion Organ and Piano Company's Modern Method for Reed Organ, possibly the first such work to appear in Canada. After several changes of owner the company was taken over in 1901 by J.W. Alexander. Later models of Dominion organs displayed a declining tonal quality, although Dominion pianos retained their reputation. Demand decreased during the Depression of the mid-1930s, and even after introducing other lines, including the successful Mitchell phonograph, the firm suffered as a result of competition from radio and a scarcity of capital. The company closed in March 1936.