George Washington Norris was born in New Hampshire in 1830. In 1852, at only 22 years of age, G.W. Norris established himself as a retailer of fine diamonds and pianos in Boston. Norris had a gift for business, and quickly established himself as a premier New England piano maker. During the Civil War era, pianos were built under the G.W. Norris brand name. Sometime in the 1870s, Norris took his sons Lucian W. Norris and Alvah M. Norris into partnership and formed the firm 'The American Grand Square Piano Company'. The firm was located at #1 Pemberton Square, Boston, with G.W. Norris at President. The American Grand Square Piano Company sold their instruments directly to the public through mail order and catalogs, eliminating the needs for retail 'middlemen'. Their claim was that they could save the buyer up to 30% retail by offering pianos directly from the manufacturer. The firm enjoyed great success, and their pianos were known to be durable and of very good quality at an affordable price. G.W. Norris remained President of the firm until his death in 1887.