Founders of Lyon & Healy, Chicago Facilities, and a
Gallery of Selected Trade Journal Advertisements
(arranged chronologically)

George Washburn Lyon, circa 1894.(from The Music Trade Review.)

George Washburn Lyon (July 1825 - January 12, 1984). Born in Northborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Mr. Lyon was a co-founder of Lyon & Healy in 1864. From The Music Trade Review of January 13, 1894, "We sincerely regret to state that Mr. George Washburn Lyon (of Lyon & Potter, Chicago), died yesterday morning, January 12th, [in the Windsor Hotel,] at Jacksonville, Fla., where he had been sojourning for some time in the hope of recuperating from a protracted illness. The funeral will take place at his home, in Chicago, next Monday, January 15th.

Mr. George Washburn Lyon was identified with the music trade throughout his business life, both in Boston and Chicago. He migrated to the latter city in 1864, and with Mr. P. J. Healy founded the house of Lyon & Healy.

Mr. Lyon invented many valuable improvements for musical instruments, and was a learned and skillful player of many of them, having studied the harp under the great Apt. Thomas, and having, moreover, been a most diligent pupil of the best teachers of stringed and brass instruments of his time. His entire career was devoted to the music business and to the art of music. As a man of business he was sagacious and energetic; as a salesman he had no superior. He always possessed the faculty of engaging the interested attention of customers.

Mr. Lyon had personal charge of all the floors of the vast building on Wabash avenue, where he made many friends by his winning manners and quiet courtesy, and by his great knowledge of every branch of the music trade.

It is needless to say that the piano trade of the West, and the firm of which he was an honored member, have suffered a severe loss by his death."

Patrick Joseph Healy, circa 1900.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Patrick Joseph Healy (March 17, 1840 - April 3, 1905). Healy was a Chicago resident of some thirty years when he died at the age of 65 while at his apartments in the Kenwood Hotel. Mr. Healy was born on a farm near Burnfort, Ireland, and came to the U.S. when ten years old, whereupon he attended public schools in Boston. After the Civil War, at age 24 years, Oliver Ditson sent for him and offered to give him charge, along with George W. Lyon, of the Chicago branch of the Ditson Company. He accepted and moved to Chicago in May of 1864. Four months later the music house of Lyon & Healy was established.

Lyon & Healy Union Park Factory, circa 1900.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy Factory at Randolph Street and Bryant Place, across from Union Park, circa 1900. This landmark building, flying the Lyon & Healy banner, was often referred to as the Union Park Factory. It was in use by Lyon and Healy until 1916. From the April 29, 1916, issue of The Music Trade Review is the following article:

Lyon & Healy Moving

Lyon & Healy are gradually getting into their beautiful new building at Jackson and Wabash avenues. The advertising department went over last week and the general offices have just occupied moving slowly, in sections, so to speak, so as not to interfere with business. By the end of next week everything will be in fair operation in the new building. There is a good deal of sadness associated with the change, for to part from a place where you have spent a large proportion of your waking hours for twenty-three years is much like breaking up home ties and this is keenly felt by the old timers from President Robert B. Gregory and Secretary James F. Bowers down.

Another old Lyon & Healy landmark is passing. The old factory at Randolph Street and Bryan Place, opposite Union Park, which the company occupied for many years, until a year ago when they occupied their magnificent new plant on the Northwest side, has been entirely remodeled, and has been rented to a number of small manufacturing concerns in different lines.

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1892 issue of The Music Trade Review.(from The Music Trade Review.)

A typical Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1892 issue of The Music Trade Review.

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1895 issue of The Music Trade Review.
(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1895 issue of The Music Trade Review.

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1897 issue of The Music Trade Review.
(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1897 issue of The Music Trade Review.

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1900 issue of The Music Trade Review.
(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1900 issue of The Music Trade Review.

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1906 issue of The Music Trade Review.
(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy Advertisement in a 1906 issue of The Music Trade Review.

band organ.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy Advertisement from a 1908 issue of The Music Trade Review. This was a common advertisement in the trade journals circa 1908, and shows the company's interest in marketing Military Band Organs. The band organ cut is of a North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works organ. Lyon & Healy took these organs and emblazoned the company name across the front, with no mention of the true maker of the instrument. The company also sold North Tonawanda's Pianolin (a 44-note piano with flute and violin pipes) under the Orchestrola name. The Majestic Piano, also mentioned in this ad, was a re-branded "Reliable" coin piano made by the Automatic Musical Company of Binghamton, N.Y. -- the predecessor to the Link Piano Company.

Artist's conception of new Lyon & Healy Fullerton Avenue factory, circa 1913.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy's New Piano and Harp Factory. In 1912 the company secured a six-acre tract on the Northwest side of Chicago, where it planned to "erect a large, fire-proof structure which is to be one of the most modern musical instrument factories in existence. Improvements in methods of lighting and of maintaining a uniform temperature will be incorporated in this building. The ample amount of floor space will permit of many economies in the making of musical instruments of the highest grade. The manufacture of Lyon & Healy pianos, Lyon & Healy harps, and other musical instruments will be carried on there under ideal conditions.

From The Music Trade Review, Chicago, Ill, July 16, 1913, comes the following:

"The accompanying illustration shows the factory being erected by Lyon & Healy, of Chicago. The new plant is being erected on West Fullerton Avenue, near Forty-first Avenue, and will probably be one of the best buildings devoted to the manufacture of pianos and harps in the country. The structure is a skeleton frame of reinforced concrete with column spans of approximately 21 by 19 feet. The floors are arranged three-column spans wide so that no floor spaces are more than sixty feet wide. The building is set well back on the lot line and an abundance of light provided in the rear by two 100-foot courts. The property upon which the building is being erected covers seven acres and abuts the main right of way of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. A private switch elevated to be on a level with the main tracks is provided, and is planned to give the utmost shipping facilities. A power and heating plant will be housed in a separate building and a large dry-kiln will be constructed that will be 55 by 76 feet, with a large compartment for the storage and seasoning of veneer. Nothing has been overlooked to make the plant complete."

In actuality Lyon & Healy only completed the left half of the above illustrated structure, the right hand half never so much as commenced. This splendid factory building was sold by Lyon & Healy in 1926 to the Mills Novelty Company, also of Chicago. Mills moved into the building in 1927, and later enlarged it in the same architectural style, although the originally proposed second tower was never built. Mills then again enlarged the factory in the late 1930s or early 1940s, but in a more modern style. Mills is known by mechanical music aficionados as the manufacturer of the famous Mills Violano-Virtuoso and other popular coin operated music and arcade machines.

Lyon & Healy 1915 Advertisement for the Empress Electric Style Y Orchestrion.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy advertisement placed in the January 30, 1915 issue of The Music Trade Review. This advertisement emphasizes the Empress Electric Style Y Orchestrion in the "New Colonial Design" case. Empress Electric pianos were, according to Lyon & Healy, of "Superior Tone--Durability" and "The Only Really Musical Electric Piano on the Market," The Style Y could also be had for motion picture accompaniment, for which it was then "controlled by long distance switch located at box office or operator's room." When so equipped with a remote switch the instrument was referred to as the Style Y-1.

Lyon & Healy 1915 Advertisement titled Everyone Goes to the Movies.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy advertisement placed in the December 11, 1915 issue of The Music Trade Review. This splendid advertisement shows the Empress Electric Style Y Orchestrion in the "New Colonial Design" case. Here the Style Y is spotlighted as the perfect electric piano for motion picture accompaniment, and, as the ad states, it is "controlled by long distance switch located at box office or operator's room."

Lyon & Healy's platial new store, circa 1916(from The Music Trade Review.)

Opening of Palatial New Home of Lyon & Healy, from The Music Trade Review, Chicago, Ill, of July 19, 1916.

The formal opening of Lyon & Healy's store and headquarters building at the northeast corner of Jackson Boulevard and Wabash Avenue, makes this one of the important weeks in the history of the music trade of Chicago.

Coming as it does so soon, comparatively speaking, after the completion and placing in full operation of the immense new Lyon & Healy factory on Fullerton avenue, it bears witness not only to the progressiveness of the great house, but to the remarkable latter-day development in the piano and musical industries of this, the great western trade centre, in these lines. The new Lyon & Healy building, which stands at the greatest piano corner in the world, has been aptly described as "an expression in steel and stone of the best ideas for the display and sale of musical merchandise which have been evolved through the cumulative experience of half a century."

Actual figures show that the Lyon & Healy organization includes no less than 138 people who have been with the house all the way from ten to fifty years. It can be easily understood that they must have experienced emotions akin to home-sickness when they left the old building at Wabash Avenue and Adams Street, which had been occupied by Lyon & Healy for nearly half of their half century career. Even now, however, this feeling is no doubt being replaced by one of elation because of the artistic triumphs and of the superb equipment, convenience and personal comfort of the new structure.

The building was erected under the personal supervision of Marquette A. Healy, vice president and general manager of the corporation. It is a nine story steel structure, faced with pink granite and gray terra cotta, and follows the Italian Renaissance in the design of its principal facades, with the introduction of the Corinthian order at the upper stories. The entrances on Jackson boulevard and Wabash avenue are finished in walnut, white marble, gold leaf, and white enamel. The corridors are finished with light Toanazzo marble wainscot, the floors are of marble tile, and the woodwork is of walnut.

The first floor is devoted to Victrolas, sheet music and music books, while in the rear with entrances through the store from Wabash Avenue and also from Jackson Boulevard, is the Lyon & Healy Concert Hall. The latter is an acoustical triumph and this has been remarked upon by many experts including several officers of the Victor Talking Machine Co., who were in Chicago last week.

The second floor is devoted to Victor records, retail and wholesale, and the third to the display and sale of pianos. The piano floor is a wonder. Some idea of the beauty of the reception room is given in the wash drawing accompanying this article, but the principal feature is the tremendous vista furnished by the large number of beautiful grands, uprights and players, which can be obtained even from the elevators, as all of the partitions of the various rooms are of glass, thus causing no obstacle to the vision. Several beautiful display rooms are, of course, devoted to the Steinway exclusively, while the Aeolian line of Pianola-Pianos and the Weber and the Steck are beautifully housed. Furthermore, the Lyon & Healy and the Washburn pianos, both products of the company's own factory, have a most adequate representation. A number of other well-known makes of pianos are also shown.

The administrative offices and the counting room are found on the fourth floor, together with the wonderfully organized music roll department, while the small goods, band instruments, old violins and special sales rooms devoted to the Lyon & Healy harp are on the fifth floor.

The four upper stories, with the exception of a few studios extending along the Wabash avenue and Jackson boulevard frontages, are occupied by various other retail and wholesale lines of musical merchandise.

It is impossible within the compass of an article such as this to give any idea of the remarkable ingenuity shown in the display of goods, or of the manner in which the wholesale and retail stocks have been arranged with a view of expediting handling and the filling of orders. However, it can be said most emphatically that any dealer visiting Chicago can gain a vast amount of information which he can use to a great advantage in his own business by studying the systems evolved by Lyon & Healy during their fifty years of experience in the trade. It can also be said that the company extends a hearty invitation to the merchants in this line to avail themselves of this opportunity at any time.

Lyon & Healy 1919 advertisement in The Music Trade Review.(from The Music Trade Review.)

Lyon & Healy advertisement placed in the October 25, 1919, issue of The Music Trade Review. In this ad the Empress Electric pianos are mentioned, but no longer featured, the ads being of a general nature calling attention to the variety of Lyon & Healy products manufactured and/or distributed.

Lyon & Healy factory, circa 1925.(from The Music Trades.)

The great factory of Lyon & Healy on Fullerton Avenue, as pictured in the March, 1925, issue of The Music Trades. The article states: "The total floor space exceeds 160,000 square feet, with a frontage of 400 feet. It is a genuine "sunlight" factory and working condition are ideal." By 1925 this factory was only producing one size of grand piano, as explained: "Our decision to confine ourselves to one style of grand piano, and that a four foot eleven instrument was reached after we had exhaustively studied the situation. ... Public sentiment is popularizing the small grand of quality and this is what we are bending every effort to build." But in spite of the glowing report on the future of grand pianos the following year, 1916, the factory building was sold to the Mills Novelty Company (also of Chicago), whereupon one year later, as agreed, in 1927 Lyon & Healy cleaned out the building and turned the "sunlight" factory over to Mills.

Lyon & Healy factory plate fitting department, circa 1925.(from The Music Trades.)

Lyon & Healy factory plate fitting department pictured in the March, 1925, issue of The Music Trades. Note the large windows, which afford an abundance of light.

Lyon & Healy factory milling and machine room, circa 1925.(from The Music Trades.)

Lyon & Healy factory mill and machine room, pictured in the March, 1925, issue of The Music Trades. This room was "equipped with modern machinery of the latest type."

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