The "Willard" brand name was one of the more popular piano brands built by the Smith & Barnes Piano Company of Chicago. The Smith & Barnes Piano Company was established in 1884 originally as the C.A. Smith Piano Company. Their factories were located at Clybourn Street in Chicago. In 1891, Barnes joined the firm and it became incorporated as Smith & Barnes Piano Company. In 1906, the Strohber Piano Company merged with Smith & Barnes forming the Smith, Barnes & Strohber Piano Company. In addition to the "Willard" name, the firm manufactured pianos under the names of Smith & Barnes, Strohber, Hoffman, and Lessing. In 1924 the firm was purchased by the Continental Piano Company, and they continued the Willard name until the Great Depression.