Niagara Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company
(1905-1917) The Niagara Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company is formed by former employees of the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory. Signatures on the company's incorporation papers include those of William Herschell, the man who arranged for de Kleist’s coming to America to make organs, as well as machinist William Strassburg and Frank Morganti. There are also:
- Duncan Sinclair
- Frederick Schultz
- William H. Griffin
- Louis Schultz
- William D. Trimble
The local newspapers are silent about Niagara’s March 1905 start (it is only a later piece that gives us this origin date). In 1906 Niagara loses some if its leadership, including president Frank Morganti, to the larger and better funded North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works. Niagara continues on, and completes a second small expansion of it modest plant in August 1910.
Niagara produces Niagara Military Band Organs ("The Organ That Is Different," one ad insists) for carousels, dance halls, roller rinks and sideshows; in 1910 the picture house-targeted "En-Symphonie" is being marketed in Billboard and other comtemporary trade publications; the "Midget Orchestra" and similar instruments follow.
Business appears to be booming in 1914, as the company pays out a dividend of 10% to its stockholders that January.
However, in October 1917, the Foster Specialty Company of Buffalo purchases the "patents, goodwill, stock in trade, and equipment" of Niagara. In spite of reports that Foster intends to "immediately develop the business...on a large scale," the enterprise is never heard from again.
Reader Andrew Barrett contributes the names C. E. Phillips and J. F. Preston as probable Niagara sales people in 1909 and probably thru 1910.
Some more particulars are on my semi-abandoned website, Organ Wars.
The street running vertically at right (with the house numbers) is Thompson; along the bottom would be Vandervoort street. Compass direction north is…
Seen on eBay. From the seller's description: "Niagara Musical Instrument Company North Tonawanda, N.Y. with Peerless Engelhardt plaque directly below…
Niagara MIMC expansion carried over objection, Common Council Notes (Tonawanda News, 1910-07-29).jpg