Wing & Son
Established in 1868, The Wing & Son Piano Company was nothing short of marketing genius! Originally founded as Doan, Wing & Cushing, the company started out manufacturing typical square grand and upright pianos like most of their contemporaries. In 1873, Frank L. Wing incorporated the firm as Wing & Son Piano Company, New York.
Wing’s vision was that the piano should be a complete instrument, all in itself, and should be able to give one the sense of a complete orchestra within. Wing & Son pianos were sometimes equipped with an optional 5 pedal mechanism that mimicked the tones of various string instruments like the mandolin, guitar, zither, harp, and banjo. The 5 pedals were labeled from left to right: Mandolin, Orchestra, Expression, Soft, and Forte (the Forte pedal was the standard damper sustain pedal).
In order to successfully market his instruments, Frank L. Wing decided that he needed to position his firm as an authority on piano manufacturing. Wing began printing large illustrated catalogs that were entitled “The Book of Complete Information About Pianos” which were used to educate the public about piano manufacturing and sales. These books were immaculately illustrated, and even the most ignorant reader would come away with a basic knowledge of the piano manufacturing process. Once a reader understood how a piano was built, the reader was then informed about why the Wing & Son pianos were superior to most other makes. This “soft sell” marketing was extremely successful!
Wing & Son sold their pianos exclusively from their lavish color catalogs, eliminating the need for costly showrooms which would increase their prices across the board. Wing & Son also offered free trials and aggressive financing, which was another reason they were so very successful. Wing & Son pianos were especially popular in rural parts of the United States where the closest competitor’s sales room was a great distance away. Wing & Son seems to have gone out of business with the Great Depression, as there seems to be no mention of the firm after about 1931.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
“Book of Complete Information About Pianos” by Wing & Son Piano Company,circa 1897
Book of Complete Information About Pianos by Wing & Sons Piano Company, circa 1911
Book of Complete Information About Pianos by Wing & Sons Piano Company, circa 1926
Period Advertisement for Doane, Wing & Cushing Featuring The Square Grand Pianos( Predecessor to the Wing & Son Piano Company)
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