James Beames started building pianos in New York City under his own name as early as 1858, joining R.M. Bent in 1869 to form Beames, Bent & Company. Beames, Bent & Company built square pianos from about 1869-1880. In 1880, Richard M. Bent took full control of the company, changing the name of the firm to R.M. Bent & Company. After 1880, James Beames is listed as building pianos once again under his own name up until about 1890. Beams built mostly square grand pianos, and they were known as being high quality, expensive instruments.