“It shows no signs whatever of the rough handling that it has received at the hands of our pupils who have used it continuously for practicing and evening amusement.” That was how J. W. Hill, M.D. described the durability of the piano purchased for Bishop Scott Academy in Portland, Oregon.
The piano he was referring to was an Ivers & Pond piano manufactured by Ivers & Pond Piano Co. They made grand, square, and upright pianos. This circa 1890 trade catalog by Ivers & Pond Piano Co. illustrates some of the pianos available for purchase at the time.
The upright piano was described by Ivers & Pond as “THE PIANO OF TO-DAY” and one which “possesses, to a large degree, the features of the Grand–VOLUME, SINGING POWER, SWEETNESS OF TONE, and SYMPATHETIC TOUCH, the action resembling the Grand in its repeating capacity.” Shown below is Style O, an Upright piano available in rosewood finish.
They also manufactured Grand pianos. Illustrated below is the Small Parlor Grand Style 13. It was available in rosewood finish, mahogany, or figured walnut. This nineteenth century trade catalog stated, “Small sized Parlor Grands are rapidly growing in favor, and are the choice of everyone for home use, where there are both money and room to spare, and when we consider that a first-class Piano of this sort costs no more today, than an ordinary Square Piano did fifteen years ago, it seems probable that the Small Parlor Grand is the ‘Coming Piano.'”
For a closer look at the construction of the Ivers & Pond Grand Style 13, take a look at the pages below. The left page shows the wooden skeleton frame of the piano. The right page shows the piano after the sound-board, bridges, metal frame, tuning pins, agraffes, and strings were placed onto the wooden skeleton.
The second half of the catalog includes page after page of testimonials from happy customers. Many of these customers mention the durability of the pianos, especially for schools and colleges.
On November 15, 1887, J. W. Hill, M.D., principal of Bishop Scott Academy in Portland, Oregon, wrote: “The piano that I purchased of you two years ago for my school use is in perfect order to-day. It shows no signs whatever of the rough handling that it has received at the hands of our pupils who have used it continuously for practicing and evening amusement. It has been in almost constant use during that time. It keeps in tune remarkably well and is altogether the most satisfactory instrument that we have ever used in our school work. I should certainly give your pianos the preference over any with which I am acquainted for school purposes, being reasonable in price, extremely durable, thoroughly reliable and satisfactory instrument.”
This trade catalog by Ivers & Pond Piano Co. is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library. Interested in other trade catalogs related to pianos? How about toy pianos? Take a look at a previous blog post about Schoenhut toy pianos.