William Dubois was one of the most renowned names in the piano industry in 19th Century America. Dubois was born in the West Indies, and began his career as an importer and retailer and music publisher as early as 1813 in New York City. He had handled pianos as a ship merchant between London and New York City for several years, and he took over the prominent music business that was originally established by John Jacob Astor.
In 1822, Dubois joined the piano maker Adam Stodart to form the firm of “Dubois & Stodart”. Dubois was primarily a financial backer, while Stodart was the craftsman. “Dubois & Stodart” enjoyed a great deal of success as one of New York’s earlier piano manufacturers, and the partnership lasted over a decade. In 1834, Dubois left Stodart to join George Bacon to form the firm of “Dubois & Bacon”. In 1836, Thomas Chambers was admitted into the partnership and the name of the firm was changed to “Dubois, Bacon & Chambers”. “Dubois, Bacon & Chambers” was dissolved in 1840, and William Dubois established his own firm.
Dubois built pianos under his own name until 1843 when he went into partnership with Charles Seabury to form the firm of “Dubois & Seabury”. This was a short-lived partnership, and was dissolved in 1844. Dubois went back to building pianos under his own name until 1850 when he went into partnership with Daniel Warriner to establish the firm of “Dubois & Warriner”. There is no mention of William Dubois after about 1853, indicating he was no longer active in the piano industry after this time. Warriner, however, continued in business until about 1863.
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19th Century Advertisement For Dubois & Bacon (William Dubois) Piano Company, Circa 1835