Mendelssohn Piano Company
The Mendelssohn Piano Company. A leading Toronto manufacturer of pianos in the early 1900s. It was formed by Henry Durke (b Liverpool 1863, d Toronto 1929) and David M. Best with assets of an unsuccessful company of the same name purchased in 1892 by Durke. (The earlier company, of which Durke had been an employee, was founded ca 1886 by William Wilson, president, and William Baird, managing director with facilities on King and Duke streets.) By 1897 Durke had become the sole proprietor and manager. His erstwhile partner later (ca 1900) founded D.M. Best & Co, makers of piano strings and hammers. Durke prided himself on producing a moderately priced piano and advertised it in the Canadian Music Trades Journal as 'made in Canada, by Canadian workmen, for use in Canadian homes.' The factory and showrooms were located on Adelaide St West. The company had built some 25,000 pianos before its sale in 1919 (on Durke's retirement) to the Bell Piano and Organ Co of Guelph, Ont. The Mendelssohn Piano Co continued in name until 1928, when Bell began advertising itself as the manufacturer of the Mendelssohn instrument. After Bell's sale in the early 1930s to the Lesage Co of St-Thérèse-de-Blainville, Que, the latter company continued to use the Mendelssohn name on some of its instruments into the early 1970s.