Williams Piano Company

The R.S. Williams Piano Co. was established ca. 1890 and moved into the old Joseph Hall Works on Richmond St. four years after the Hall Works had closed down.

Robert S. Williams had a piano works in Toronto but opened this plant in Oshawa, producing pianos and church organs.  In 1891, a piano, stool and cover would cost someone $375.  These products were known all over the world, which accounted for large export trade to places like Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In 1903, the Williams Piano Co. was formed and no longer had any link to R.S. Williams Piano Co. from Toronto.  By 1920, they began to expand in the products they were manufacturing (such as player pianos) but pianos and church organs were still the primary business.


Besides musical instruments, in 1929 Williams began producing small motorboats, which were called Sea Fleas. Iin the late 1920’s they also began making radios, which were becoming popular household item. It also unintentionally led to the demise of the company, as radios and talking movies (‘talkies’) were replacing musical instruments in the household. With the lack of demand, combined with the Depression, the Williams Piano Co. closed down in 1931. At its peak it gave employment to 175-240 men.

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