Hale, Joseph P.
Joseph P. Hale is frequently called “The father of the commercial piano”. J. P. Hale began his career in Massachusetts selling crockery and cookware. Having amassed a small fortune from his endeavors,
Hale moved to New York City in 1861 and became a financial backer for the piano builder James Grovesteen. The two formed the short-lived piano company known as Grovesteen & Hale. This partnership was dissolved in 1863, and Hale continued in business on his own for several years.
Hale’s major contribution to the piano industry was much like that of Henry Ford. Hale would buy all parts for his pianos by sub-contracted workshop and merely assemble them in his factory on a line basis. He was hugely successful, and very much disliked by his competition. Although his manufacturing practice was a shock to the industry, his methods allowed instruments to be afforded by the typical middle class family. His instruments were both of good quality and low prices, and they were sold in vast quantity. By 1869, J. P. Hale’s firm was the seventh largest piano manufacturing company in the United States with gross sales of over $200,000 annually.
In 1877, J. P. Hale re-established himself as “Joseph P. Hale & Company”, and continued to be a major force in the piano industry until his death in 1882. Several successors continued building pianos under the Hale and J. P. Hale brand names throughout the 1920’s era.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
19th Century Advertisement For Joseph P. Hale & Company, New York City
Joseph P. Hale & Company Illustrated Sales Catalog, circa 1881
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