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The Thurston family of New York City was very active in pianos manufacturing during the pre-Civil War era. The family members consisted of Jasper Thurston, Joshua Thurston, Nathaniel Thurston, Peter Thurston, and Joseph Thurston. Jasper Thurston built pianos under his name from about 1829 – 1840. His workshop is listed as being at 259 William Street. Joshua Thurston built pianos under his name from about 1820 – 1853. His workshop is listed as being first at 68 William Street, then later at 259 William Street with his brother Jasper. 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 Jr., into the partnership, changing the name of the firm to “N. Thurston & Son”. 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.

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Early 19th Century Advertisement For N. Thurston & Son, Piano Maker, New York City