HISTORY & COMPANY DETAILS
Music - A Local Tradition since 1816.......
The Bristol /
Bath area is famous for many historical trades such as architecture,
ship building and its aircraft industry. However, it is often
forgotten that our locality has a long tradition of musical
organ builder to have his works in Bristol was Robert Tanton,
establishing his business in 1660. So followed a succession of organ
builders, including manufacturers and hirers of barrel organs and
pianos etc, dealers and shops selling all kinds of instruments, both
mechanical and manual players.
By the middle
of the 18th century, the area could boast such famous firms as
Elizabeth Chew, the Bristol Harpsichord makers, and Brice Seede Organ
Builders. As the music industry grew, apprentices to these firms
started their own businesses like John Smith of Bath and Bristol who
trained with Seede and was succeeded by his son, Richard Smith, who
in turn was succeeded by Joseph Monday.
One of the
areas closely linked to the music industry was Castle Street in
Bristol, which at times could boast music box sales, pipe organ
dealers & manufacturers and other musical instrument sales.
By circa 1805
the famous cabinet making family of Hicks had turned their attention
to the building of musical instrument and are credited as inventing
and building the very first street barrel piano in Bristol around
this date. So by 1816 the firm of Joseph Hicks was well established
as a leading supplier of barrel street pianos and organs. The Hicks
pattern of street piano was so popular that other firms copied the
design, including the German builders in the Black Forest area.
success of the Hicks street piano, Hicks style pianos continued to be
built in Bristol by his ex apprentices. At this point the firms of
Henry Distin and Taylors were established and continued the
tradition, although Henry Distin emigrated to America, leaving
Taylors the English market.
Not only were
pipe and string instruments popular, also reed playing organs were
sought after. Bristol was not to be left behind in this field, with
George B Briffett establishing his reed organ manufacturing business
in Hulbert Street circa 1883, producing fine quality reed organs.
mechanical music businesses were well established in the area and it
was in this year that Arthur Oram was to found the Bristol Showmans
Stores in Bedminster which went on to become sole agent for the Paris
firm of fair organ builders, C H Marenghi & Cie.
Bedminster that was to become the first home for the Dean family when
Walter Thomas Dean brought his family to the area from Dorset
following his marriage in 1899 to the daughter of a local dealer,
William Wyatt. Walter Deans son Edwin, was to move his business
to Whitchurch in 1939 and so established the present site where our
shops and workshops are today.
There is a
long tradition in the Dean family in wood work, with carpentry and
cabinet making. Each member of the family taking pride in becoming
Master Craftsmen of their trade, producing only the finest items with
a quality of service that you would expect in a traditional business.
direction of Edwin Deans son, Michael, the family turned its
attention to the building of new traditional style
fairground and street organs. It was at this time that the name of
Dean Organs was born and so the small family firm has
become one of the, if not the, premiere names in the field. The
family are responsible for a number of innovations taken as standard
amongst today's organ builders, such as the 20 keyless book playing
organ and the 52 keyless book playing organ.
and Pat Deans retirement from the business in the late 1990s,
the business continues in the hands of their sons, who have added
extra scope to the business by opening the retail music shop, and you
can be sure whether you purchase a Dean made product or an externally
sourced product, that the same care and pride has been used to
manufacture or source it as is expected of a traditional firm.
Organ Builders, keeping Bristols Mechanical Music Tradition alive".