Hinds & Sons
Silas P. Hinds original established his firm as “S. P. Hinds” in New York in 1844. S. P. Hinds was a small family-owned firm, and their instruments were built in modest numbers. In 1867, Silas P. Hinds admitted his son William H. Hinds into partnership. The firm was then renamed “Hinds & Son” and relocated to 21- 23 Bank Street, Newark, New Jersey. Silas P. Hinds admitted his second son Alpheus R. Hinds into partnership in about 1870 and the firm was reorganized as “Hinds & Sons”. Based on surviving instruments, it appears that Hinds & Sons specialized in building square grand pianos, although it does appear that the firm offered at least a couple of upright piano models in their catalogs.
Perhaps Hinds & Sons is best known for a unique instrument called the “Telephone Piano”. The Telephone Piano was a piano equipped with a cymbal-like device made of Chinese and Turkish Gong Metal attached to the soundboard. This cymbal-like device would reverberate in sympathetic vibration with the piano soundboard which would create a unique, amplified tone quality in unison with the piano strings. The Telephone Piano was essentially one of the first amplified pianos ever built! Though ingenious in theory, the amplified Telephone Piano proved to be far ahead of its time and was not successful in the marketplace. Telephone Pianos are exceedingly rare today.
Like so many other small 19th Century firms, Hinds & Sons was slow to shift production from their successful square grand pianos to more popular upright and grand pianos as the 20th Century approached. It appears that the waning demand for square grand pianos caused Hinds & Sons to go out of business before 1900.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
19th Century Illustrated Sales Catalog for Hinds & Son “Telephone Pianos”, circa 1869