From its humble beginnings in Boston, the Mason & Hamlin piano company has risen to become one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of fine pianos. Lowell Mason, father of Henry Mason (the namesake of the Mason & Hamlin piano company), was a composer and educator, widely revered in the music education world as the first person to bring music into the public schools of America. He was also known throughout the world as a composer and publisher of hymns, and is often called the “father of American church music.” Henry Mason shared his father’s lifelong dedication to music.
Emmons Hamlin was not a musician, but instead a brilliant mechanic and inventor. In 1854, he and Henry Mason formed their company for the purpose of manufacturing a new musical instrument that they called the “organ harmonium.” From the organ harmonium, the company graduated to the American Cabinet Organ, a product that would earn Mason & Hamlin 1st prize at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. It wasn’t long before Mason & Hamlin had established a worldwide reputation for excellence.
In 1881, the company decided to branch out into making pianos. Following traditions established in making its organs, Mason & Hamlin built its pianos with the very finest materials—slowly and meticulously, with great attention to even the smallest detail. Wisely, it also hired brilliant designers. Among them was Richard W. Gertz, a genius who contributed many innovations to the piano industry, including the Duplex Scale, screw stringer and the Tension Resonator, a remarkable device that was designed to maintain the crown of the soundboard for the life of a piano.