The Thurston family of New York City was very active in pianos manufacturing during the pre-Civil War era. The family members consisted of Nathaniel Thurston, Joshua Thurston, Jasper Thurston, Peter Thurston, and Joseph Thurston.
Nathaniel Thurston started his career as a music store owner in about 1821, and was also a music publisher. Nathaniel joined Joseph Thurston in about 1853 to establish the firm of “J & N Thurston”. In 1856, Nathaniel Thurston brought his son, Nathaniel Thurston Jr., into the partnership, changing the name of the firm to “N. Thurston & Son”.
Joshua Thurston built pianos under his name from about 1820 – 1853. His workshop is listed first at 68 William Street then later at 259 William Street with his brother Jasper.
Jasper Thurston built pianos under his name from about 1829 – 1840. His workshop is listed at 259 William Street, NYC.
Peter Thurston started out as a cabinet maker in about 1827, and soon started building pianos on Sullivan Street. Peter’s firm was short lived, and he left the piano industry before 1835.
All of the extent instruments we have seen by any of these related firms have been square grand pianos, indicating that the firms may have not produced upright pianos or grand pianos. There is no mention of the Thurston name in our archives after about 1860, indicating that the firms were out of business well before the Civil War.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
Early 19th Century Advertisement N. Thurston & Son, Piano Maker, New York City