Newcombe Piano Co., Ltd. | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Newcombe Piano Co., Ltd.

Newcombe Piano Co., Ltd. was founded in Toronto by Octavius Newcombe in 1878. The quality of Newcombe pianos were recognized at several international exhibitions. Following a factory fire in 1926, the Newcombe name was purchased by the Montreal piano retailer and manufacturer Willis & Company Ltd.


Before establishing his own firm, Octavius Newcombe was a partner of Mason & Risch from 1871-78. Newcombe eventually established his own firm in Toronto, Octavius Newcombe & Co. in 1878. The firm was later incorporated as Newcombe Piano Co., Ltd, in 1912. Octavius Newcombe’s brother, Henry joined the business in 1879 at premises on Church St. In 1887, a factory was built on Bellwoods Ave.


Newcombe built all kinds of pianos - squares, grands, and uprights. A silver medal and the Jurors' Report of Commendation at the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition (New Orleans 1884-85) are credited with helping to open the US market to the company. At the 1866 Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London, England, Newcombe Pianos were awarded a medal and a diploma. At the same exhibition, Sir Arthur Sullivan selected a Newcombe grand piano for Queen Victoria; it was housed at Windsor Castle in the Audience Chamber. Another medal and diploma were received at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and a gold medal at the Paris Exposition in 1900.

The Newcombe factory on Bellwoods Ave. was destroyed by a fire in 1926. The factory was not rebuilt. The piano retailer and manufacturer, Willis & Company Ltd., acquired the rights to the Newcombe name and built pianos under the Newcombe name until the 1960s.

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