Spencer B. Driggs was considered to be a pioneer in piano design and manufacturing during the 19th Century. Driggs began his career experimenting with new ideas piano building as an apprentice in a Detroit based workshop during the 1850s. Driggs moved to New York City from Michigan in 1856 and began building square pianos under his own name. In 1858, Driggs was awarded a British Patent for improvements to the standard piano soundboard which increased tone and clarity.
In 1859, Spencer Driggs went into partnership with Spencer Parmelee, forming the firm of “Driggs, Parmelee & Company”. This firm was located at 26 Wooster Street, New York City. Driggs dissolved his partnership with Parmelee in 1860, and established himself as “Driggs Piano Company”. While building pianos under his own name, Driggs was also president of the “William Wallace Piano Company”, and both Wallace and Driggs were listed as sharing a workshop at 467 Broome Street. Driggs also had a second workshop located in New Brunswick, New Jersey and several pianos under the Driggs Piano Company were listed as having been built there rather than in New York.
In 1863, Driggs went into partnership with Richard M. Tooker, establishing the firm of “Driggs & Tooker”. This partnership was dissolved in 1864, at which time Driggs reestablished himself as “Driggs Pianoforte Company”. There is no mention of Spencer Driggs after about 1865, indicating that he either died or retired well before 1870.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
Driggs Piano Company Advertisements
19th Century Advertisements For Driggs Piano Company, New York City