Brothers Alexander T. Pirsson and James Pirsson were active in the piano manufacturing industry during the pre-Civil War era.
Alexander T. Pirsson is first listed as a pianoforte maker at 26 Church Street in 1822. As a professional musician and music teacher, Alexander was not as active in the piano industry as his brother James. Alexander Pirsson built only a limited number of instruments over the years. In 1836, Alexander established a piano manufacturing firm in Newark, New Jersey but was out of business by 1843. Alexander returned to New York City in about 1845, and went into partnership with Peter Provost from about 1852 – 1854, forming the firm of “Provost & Pirsson”. There is no mention of Alexander T. Pirsson building pianos after about 1855.
James Pirsson is first listed at 193 Hudson Street in 1829. In 1831, he had established his firm as “James Pirsson & Company”. During the 1830s and 1840s, James Pirsson was awarded several patents in improved piano building, and his instruments were frequently awarded with gold medals at various exhibitions. James Pirsson was one of the original member of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (as a double bassist), and his home was a frequent gathering place for chamber music ensembles during the 1840s. James Pirsson continued building high quality pianos for several years, but appears to have gone out of business just before the onset of the Civil War.
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