The Plumb Memorial Library has received many inquires over the years for information concerning the Sterling Piano Company and the Huntington Piano Company.  This page represents the library's collection and resources on this topic.  We have made this page so that patrons can find the resources in one location.

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Images from a Huntington Piano Company pamphlet.  We express our thanks to the Shelton Historical Society for their permission to use these rare images.

 

 

Images from "Evening Meditation" by William H. Fry and published by the Huntington Piano Company.  Permission to post this sheet music courtesy of the Shelton Historical Society.

 

 

Images and information from Images of America:  Shelton by the Shelton Historical Society

 

Caption on pg. 40 reads:

"A Shelton saying was that along the canal everything was produced from "pins to pianos."  The Huntington Piano Company, a subsidiary of the Derby-based Sterling Piano Company, was founded in 1894 to produce a more affordable piano.  The building burned in 1922, forcing the company to close."

 

 

Images and information from pages 36-40 of Souvenir History of Derby and Shelton, Connecticut

 

Charles A. Sterling

Rufus W. Blake

James R. Mason

    

Sterling Piano Factory

Factory of the Huntington Piano Company

 

Residence of James R. Mason

 

Sterling Company--

Stringing Department

Sterling Company--

Varnishing Department

 

Sterling Company--

Fly Finishing Department

Sterling Company--

Bellying Department

 

Sterling Company--

Milling Department

Sterling Piano Style R

Sterling Piano Style S

Sterling Organ Style 35

 

 

Images and information from pages 132-133, 135, 137 of A Pictorial History of Shelton, CT.

 

"Plate glass windows show off the wares of the Huntington Piano Company in this 1896 [depiction]."
"Aftermath of the 1922 fire that forced the Huntington Piano Company out of business."
"Its elegant plate glass windows removed, the Huntington Piano Company became a center for Boys' Club activities..."
Ignace Jan Paderewski (1860-1941)
"Writing from the Hotel Manhattan in May, 1900, the noted pianist...thought so highly of Huntington Piano Company wares that he ordered one for the Paderewski Singing Society at Chicago to be charged to his account."
A view of a World War I Memorial Day Parade, showing the Huntington Piano Company in the background.
"Wise's bakery wagon crosses on the iron bridge.  The National Folding Paper Box Company factory can be seen behind the bakery wagon.  The Derby Silver Company is at the end of the bridge; the Huntington Piano Factory with its square tower is to the left of the Silver shop."
Information, pg. 132  

Images and information from pages 22 and 278 of Tercentenary Pictorial and History of the Lower Naugatuck Valley

 

Sterling Piano Factory (since razed)
Old Huntington Piano Shop, Shelton

 

Images and information from pages 368-369 of History of the Old Town of Derby, Conn. 1642-1880

 

 

Image and information from pages 248 and 323 of Ansonia, Derby, Shelton & Seymour Directory 1896-97

Former address of Charles Sterling and the Sterling Co.  

 

Former address of the Huntington Piano Co.

 

Image from Birmingham, Derby, Ansonia & Shelton, Conn. Published by Robt. S. Gardiner of Birmingham, Conn.

This small red book may be viewed in the History folder of the Shelton Files at the Plumb Memorial Library.

 

 

Image from  "Milestones and Memories", October 9, 1963, The Suburban News Shelton, Ct., History Folder in Shelton File.

 

 

 

Information from page 61-62 of Valley Downtowns:  A Historical Perspective

 

"Sterling Company:

    The Sterling Company was first organized in Birmingham, Derby, about 1868, having previously manufactured musical instruments in Ansonia.  In Derby, the Company concentrated on making organs, and when pianos became popular twenty years later, the Company established a nearly world-wide reputation in the production of organs and pianos.  The Sterling Company became one of the largest [establishments] of its kind in the country, and was Derby's largest industry for many years.

 

    Prior to its demolition, the Sterling Co. factory in Derby was located east of Water Street of the east side of the Canal.

 

    The Company's organizer and first president was Charles A. Sterling.  His residence is located at 302-304 Caroline Street.

 

    Rufus W. Blake was manager of the Company and was chiefly responsible for the Company's efficient operation and growth.  Under Mr. Blake's management, the Company was able to overcome severe business losses sustained by the complete destruction of the factory by fire in 1875, and following its reconstruction, financial losses in 1887.  Blake assumed the Presidency of the Company in 1887 and under his leadership the Company became Derby's largest employer.

 

    Mr. Blake developed the three cottages on Cottage Street, at 3-5, 10-12, and 14-16 Cottage Street; they are presumed the reason for the street's name.  Blake's residence in Derby was located at 253 Elizabeth Street and this structure is presently the location of the Adzima Funeral Home.

 

Sources:  Orcutt, p. 369; Rockey, pp.395, 443-445; Gillespie, pp.36-40; 1883 Map

 

    The proximity of the Sterling and Blake residences together with the Blake cottages, are certainly a "Piano Block" in Derby's downtown."

 

The Bicentennial Quilt contains 44 squares in a quilt about 112" wide and 71" long.  It was created in 1976 to show a history of Shelton over the years.  More information is available online at Plumb Memorial Library .  The full files on the quilt squares, their creators, and other information including DVDs are available to the public in the library.

 

Click on the quilt image to see a full version of quilt square #29, The Huntington Piano Company.

 

In the News...

 

Information from The Shelton Booster, October 15, 1910. Volume II, No. 27. On microfilm.

    "Frank Goad has severed his connections with the Sterling Piano Co., of Derby, and has accepted a similar position with the Huntington Company in Shelton."

 

Information from The Shelton Times (formerly known as The Shelton Booster), Nov. 19, 1910. "Local and Personal" and "Derby Gleanings". On microfilm.

    "The Huntington Piano Co. are rushed with work now, producing ninety of their excellent pianos a week.  This sounds good doesn't it?"

    "It is said that Arthur Smith has gotten tired of being a "rubber" and has left the Sterling company."

 

Information from The Shelton Times, November 19, 1910. Volume II, No. 30. On microfilm.

    "Albert Horton has entered the employ of the Sterling Co."

    "William Keefe has left the employ of the [Sterling] Co."

 

Image is of an ad for the Sterling Opera House in The Shelton Booster, October 1909. Volume I, No. 11.  On microfilm.

 

 

Links to more information on Sterling/Huntington Piano Co.

Derby Historical Society  >History Archive >Scroll to bottom of the page

Shelton Historical Society

Huntington Piano Factory--Old Pictures

Charles Sterling and Sterling Piano Factory

Sterling Piano Co. Sheet Music (Derby) and Midi File

Sterling Piano Co. Sheet Music (Published in N.Y.)

Parlor Songs, Sterling March and Two-Step in SCORCH format

Huntington Pianos and Player Pianos

On the mechanics of Huntington and Sterling Player Pianos

Howe Collection:  Piano Series A description of the series and list of companies in it

Howe Collection of Musical Instrument Literature Howe Collection at the University of Maryland information

 

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