Marshall & Wendell
The Marshall & Wendell Piano Company was originally established as Marshall & Traver in Albany, NY in 1836. Marshall & Traver was a retailer of pianos, organs and related musical instruments. Marshall & Traver began building instruments under their own name in 1853. Their factory was located on James Street, Albany. In 1855 Mr. Amos C. James was admitted into partnership and the firm was reorganized as Marshall, James & Traver. In 1868 James & Traver withdrew from the firm and Mr. C. V. Wendell was admitted into partnership. The firm was then organized as “Marshall & Wendell”. In 1882, the firm was officially incorporated as “The Marshall & Wendell Piano Company“.
During the late 19th Century, Marshall & Wendell built several lines of square, grand, and upright pianos, all of superior quality. The firm also manufactured upright pianos under the names of “Little Gem” and “Boudoir Gem” and square grand pianos under the name of “Parlor Gem“.
In 1900 the firm moved headquarters from Albany to Rochester, New York and continued rapid growth and success. After the turn-of-the-century, Marshall & Wendell instruments continued to be considered to be made of superior quality and fine craftsmanship. Their small grand pianos were particularly popular because of their exceptional design and tone quality. Marshall & Wendell specialized in building elaborate “art-case” pianos in historic and period design styles. Many of these pianos were equipped with the “AMPICO” reproducing player mechanism, allowing the piano to play by itself with expression with human interpretation.
Marshall & Wendell retained their own art department of skilled painters and carvers who specialized in building custom-designed instruments on special order. In the early 20th Century, it was not uncommon for a wealthy client to visit the Marshall & Wendell, choose the instrument they preferred among all others, then have the factory commission their art department build a custom cabinet around the instrument they chose. Once a piano was chosen for it’s tone quality, a small fortune was then spent to have the cabinet custom made to suit the client’s décor! Many of these custom-built Marshall & Wendell pianos were incredibly expensive to produce and were remarkable works of art.
Like most major American piano manufactures, Marshall & Wendell was absorbed into the Aeolian-American Corporation due to the Great Depression. Aeolian continued to produce the Marshall & Wendell brand name until the 1950s.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
Marshall & Wendell Piano Company Sales Catalog, Circa 1920
Marshall & Wendell Piano Company Sales Catalog, Circa 1930
19th Century Marshall & Wendell Advertisements
19th Century Advertisements for The Marshall & Wendell Piano Company
Little Gem Advertisements
Late 19th Century Advertisements For The “Little Gem” Brand Upright Piano, Manufactured By Marshall & Wendell Piano Company
Late 19th Century Advertisement For The “Parlor Gem” Brand Square Grand Piano, Manufactured By Marshall & Wendell Piano
Browse the Antique Piano instruments we have for sale!