John B. Simpson started in the piano industry as secretary of the Arion Piano Company of New York City. Simpson was also building a small number of pianos under the name of 'Simpson & Company' during this time. In about 1870, Simpson purchased the Arion Piano Company, integrating it into the firm of Simpson & Company. The firm manufactured pianos under the names of "Simpson & Company" as well as "Arion". Simpson also built a limited number of small, ornately carved upright pianos sold under the "Model Piano" brand name. In 1886, Simpson took Robert Proddow into partnership, and the name of the firm was changed to Simpson & Proddow. Before the turn-of-the-century, the large Estey Organ Company took control of Simpson & Proddow, changing the name to the now famous Estey Piano & Organ Company.