In 1849, Elias Parkham Needham and Jeremiah Carhart established the Carhart & Needham Organ Company of New York. This firm built melodeons and parlor organs, and they were immensely successful. Elias Needham gained international fame as the inventor of the upright organ action used in most 19th Century parlor and chapel organs worldwide. In 1846 the Needham Piano & Organ was founded. By the 20th Century, their organ production had ceased as the piano become the preferred musical instrument for the American home. Elias P. Needham died in 1889, and the firm continued to build superior quality pianos until the Great Depression era.