Mason & Risch

Mason & Risch. A leading Canadian piano manufacturing firm established in 1871 in Toronto by the former A. & S. Nordheimer accountant Thomas G. Mason, with Vincent M. Risch and Octavius Newcombe. During its first six years it imported and sold music and instruments.

Mason & Risch

Mason & Risch. A leading Canadian piano manufacturing firm established in 1871 in Toronto by the former A. & S. Nordheimer accountant Thomas G. Mason, with Vincent M. Risch and Octavius Newcombe. During its first six years it imported and sold music and instruments. Risch supervised piano tuning and repairs. The first piano was built in 1877. A year later the Mason-Risch-Newcombe partnership was dissolved, and Mason & Risch continued their business association, developing a cross-country retail chain (which later included the distribution of records and talking machines) and making extensive sales abroad. Among the many prizes and endorsements received by Mason & Risch was a tribute from Liszt, who sent them a life-size portrait of himself in 1881. By 1900 the company had built some 20,000 pianos; by 1950, over 65,000. In 1948 it was sold to Winter & Co of the USA but continued to manufacture pianos in Toronto under the Mason & Risch name. The cross-Canada retail network was terminated with the closing in 1949 of the Vancouver outlet, but that same year Mason & Risch (Winter & Co) bought Sterling Action & Keys Co of Brantford, Ont. In 1959 the Winter family purchased the controlling interest in the US Aeolian Corp and set up Aeolian of Canada, a holding company for Mason & Risch. In 1969 Mason & Risch purchased the George Dansereau & Sons Lumber Mill in Grenville, Que. In 1971 the Sterling Action & Keys Co was closed, and in 1968 the Toronto factory was moved to new premises in Scarborough, from which it continued to manufacture Mason & Risch uprights until the early 1980s. After 1950, however, all grand and player pianos were manufactured in the USA and exported (to Canada and elsewhere) by Aeolian.


Further Reading

  • 'Old piano firm closes last store - widens basic work,' Toronto Telegram, 20 May 1949

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