Horace Waters is one of the older and more historical names in the American piano industry. Horace Waters established his ‘Piano & Music Establishment’ in New York in 1845. Horace Waters began as a large retailer for pianos, melodeons, organs, sheet music publisher and other miscellaneous musical merchandise. Horace Waters is credited with being the first in the industry to sell his instruments on credit installments, ultimately establishing the roots of modern day credit and financing.
In about 1864, Horace Waters admitted his two sons, T. Leeds Waters and Horace Waters, Jr., into partnership as “Horace Waters & Sons”. Instruments sold by the firm during this period were built by other prominent New York manufactures under secret contract and were labeled as “Waters & Sons” which were sold in their retail stores.
In 1869 Samuel T. White began working for Waters, ultimately working his way up to partner in. Samuel T. White was instrumental in transforming the firm from a retailer to a manufacturer. Horace Waters & Sons began manufacturing their own pianos in about 1880 and these instruments were instantly met with great success.
In 1886, the firm was incorporated his firm as “Horace Waters & Company” with his son, T. Leeds Waters as Vice President. Horace Waters, Sr., died in 1893, at which time his son T. Leeds Waters took control of the firm.
Horace Waters was known for building very high quality instruments, and the firm enjoyed a very good reputation in the industry. In the 20th Century, Horace Waters produced pianos under the names of Horace Waters & Co., Waters & Sons and Chester. He also produced a line of player pianos under the name “Waters Autola”. In about 1930 Horace Waters became absorbed into with The Janssen Piano Company of New York. Janssen continued to build pianos under the Horace Waters name until about 1949.
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