John A. Weser began apprenticing with New York piano manufactures in 1872. In 1879, John A. Weser established the firm of “Weser Brothers’ with his brother Winfield S. Weser in New York City. In 1880 the firm was producing about 2 pianos a week. In 1888, the firm expanded to a new factory at 509 W 33rd Street at which time brothers Calvin Weser, George Weser and William Weser joined the firm. The firm continued to grow and expand. In 1890 the firm was located at 520 – 524 W. 43rd St. In 1910 the firm added 10 more acres of factory space, also taking up 526 – 528 W. 43rd Street. By 1913 the firm was producing about 5,000 annually.
Weser Brothers produced their first player piano in 1897, about a decade earlier than most other major manufacturers. During the next decade, Weser Brothers were award 34 subsequent patents as they constantly improved the design of their player pianos. In 1907, the firm introduced a player piano equipped with both manual foot pumping pedals and an electric pump, making it one of the earliest electric player pianos on the market.
During the early 20th Century, Weser Brothers specialized in building high quality player pianos, although they did build a smaller number of conventional upright and grand pianos as well. In addition to the “Weser Brothers” brand name, the firm produced pianos under the names of Billings & Co., Coloniet, Marveola, Re-Rendo, Orpheola, and Winfield.
Despite their huge success, Weser Brothers was not immune to the financial stress of The Great Depression. In 1935 Weser Brothers reorganized as “Weser Pianos Corporation” under the direction of Walter C. Hepperla and L. C. Kauling. The Weser Pianos Corporation was set up to produce modern console pianos and baby grand pianos in order to meet the demands of the post-depression market. The Weser Brothers Corporation factories were used to build pianos for Kohler & Campbell, Story & Clark and Winter during the 1930s – 1950s period. Weser Brothers appears to have gone out of business in the mid 1950s.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
Weser Brothers Piano & Player Sales Catalog, Circa 1926
19th Century Advertisements For Weser Brothers Piano Company
Early 20th Century Advertisements For Weser Brothers Player Pianos
Late 19th Century Advertisements For Weser Brothers Pianos