John Firth had a long and illustrious career in New York City’s music and piano industry throughout the 19th Century. Firth is listed as a musical instrument maker, dealer, importer, and music publisher. John Firth immigrated to New York City from his native England in 1810, and served in the military with his future business partner, William Hall, in the war of 1812. After the war, both men found work in the New York City shop of Edward Riley, and subsequently each married one of Riley’s daughters and became Brothers-In-Law. In 1815, John Firth left Riley’s shop to establish his own firm. William Hall left Riley’s shop in 1820, and joined Firth in 1821 to form the firm of “Firth & Hall”.
“Firth & Hall” enjoyed modest success throughout the 1820s, manufacturing several different varieties of musical instruments during that time. In 1833, Sylvanus Pond was admitted into the partnership, and the firm’s name was changed to “Firth, Hall & Pond”. During the 1840s, the firm was very successful as both an instrument maker and music publisher.
In 1847, William Hall withdrew from the partnership, and William A. Pond (son of Sylvanus Pond) and Thaddeus Firth (son of John Firth) were admitted as partners. The firm was then reestablished as “Firth, Pond & Company”. By 1855, Firth, Pond & Company was producing about 450 pianos annually.
In 1863, John & Thaddeus Firth withdrew from the firm and formed their own firm of “Firth, Son & Company”. The firm continued to be very successful well into the 1860s. John Firth, founder, died in 1864 and the firm was carried on by his son William until 1867 when the firm was sold to The Oliver Ditson Company of Boston.
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