S. Brainard’s Sons

Published by Robert Coldwell on

In the March 1876 issue of Brainard’s Musical World, the editors reprinted articles about their new business location at 341 and 343 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. The articles came from the Cleveland Daily Herald, the Cleveland Daily Leader, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. An engraving of the front of the building appeared in the March 1876 issue, an engraving of the retail department appeared in May 1876, and an engraving of the Piano Parlors appeared in June 1876. In January 1879 a consolidated article was published in Brainard’s Musical World as appears below.

At the request of many of our friends and patron* in distant parts of the country, we herewith present a brief description of our new building, with accurate illustrations, and a history of the growth of the business, etc., as described by the Cleveland press. It will no doubt prove of interest to our thousands of customers in distant parts of the land, who have never visited our establishment.

But few persons looking at the prominent and handsome front of the great music publishing house of S. Brainard’s Sons, on Euclid Avenue, have any conception of the magnitude of the business transacted therein, and it is possible that fewer still are acquainted with the interesting history of the growth of such a business from a small beginning to its present magnificent proportions, the extent of which may be judged when it can be stated that with one exception, it is the largest house of the kind in America. This fact is conceded without denial from any quarter, and is most significant when it is coupled with the fact of an unprecedented turn of tide in public appreciation of music during the last few years, leading to a springing up of numberless houses of publication throughout the country.

In 1836 Silas Brainard, father of the present members of this house, opened a store under the American House and displayed his sign to the public as Brainard’s Bazaar. Strict attention to business and enterprise in keeping fully up to the demands of the increasing wealth and population of the city enabled him, some thirteen years thereafter, to secure the large building on Superior street, afterward well known as Brainard’s Opera House, and later as the Globo Theater. To the lower floor he transferred his business, commencing the publication of sheet music and books, in 1848, and year by year extending his business until it became necessary to occupy the story above and additional buildings in the rear, on Frankfort street. In the prime of life, in April, 1871, he died, being but fifty-seven years of age, and his two sons, Charles S. and Henry M., succeeded to the business under the firm and style of S. Brainard’s Sons. They were emphatically to the manor born, and, following in the course they had been so well trained for, daily adding to the good standing of the firm, they now rank with the most reliable men known to the trade, honored at home and abroad. A short biography of Silas Brainard is published in Moores’ Encyclopaedia of Music, which, after sketching his life and career, states that “he became an accomplished theoretical and practical musician and the author of several musical works, such as his Piano and Violin Instruction Books. Early in 1876 the firm completed the new building on Euclid avenue, which is the most complete, well arranged, commodious, and fully equipped establishment in the United States for the publication of music, and the sale, at wholesale and retail; of that pertains to what is known as s music trade.

The Building is four stories above the ground, with a deep under-ground story, and occupies a space of 80 by 130 feet. Its front is of pressed brick with stone trimmings, very handsome and fully in keeping with the other grand structures on that part of the avenue. The entire cost of the new building and lot was $71,000.

The Basement contains the boiler, a fifty horse power engine, the heating apparatus, the immense presses for electrotype and stereotype printing and is used for packing and shipping goods, etc. The large fire-proof plate vault, in which the music plates of the establishment are placed, is located on a level with the basement, and is just in the rear of it. The firm now have over 100,000 music plates in this vault, representing over 15,000 pieces of music and several hundred music books. These plates, costing from $2.00 to $5.00 each, represent a large capital. Each piece is labeled and registered in such a way that the employee in charge can find among the 100,000 different plates, any desired one without delay. The vault is 30 by 20 feet, perfectly fire-proof and most conveniently arranged for the purpose for which it was designed.

The First Floor is devoted to the retail trade of the establishment, the mailing and express order department, and offices of the firm. It is the finest salesroom in the city, is 30 by 130 feet in size, and 18 feet from floor to coiling. On each side of this room are balconies which are reached by stairways, allowing the immense sheet music stock to be stored on both sides of the apartment to the ceiling overhead. In the rear part of this room, and on the right hand as one enters, is the mailing department, where one person is employed in preparing sheet-music for the mails, though he does nothing in the way of directing the same. This is the work of a person stationed in the rear of the room but not far distant from the counter, where the parcels which number between two and three hundred daily are put up. These rolls are sent to every part of thia country: from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the chain of lakes to Texas. Parcels are often mailed to Europe also. In the rear part of thia floor is the general business and private office of the proprietors. These are most conveniently arranged, and are furnished in a manner every way suitable for the extensive business which is there transacted.

The Second Floor is used exclusively as the Piano and Organ Warerooms, though occasionally utilised for Musical Soirees, Parlor Concerts, etc., having a seating capacity for four hundred persons. Here can at all times be found one of the largest and finest stocks of first class pianos in this country, including the celebrated Chickering & Son’s grand, square and upright; the J. & C. Fischer elegant upright and square pianos, and other well known and reliable makes. The Piano and Organ trade of the firm is very large, and extends to all parts of the country.

The Third Floor contains the wholesale sheet music and music book stock, imported musical merchandise and second-hand pianos and organs. In the rear end of this floor is located the editorial office and mailing department of Brainard’s Musical World, a monthly musical magazine published by this firm.

The Musical World was established in 1864, and enjoys a very large circulation in all parts of the country. Each number contains about forty pages of choice new music and interesting and instructive musical literature. It is most ably conducted and edited by Karl Merz, with J. C. Macy, local, who is also a generous contributor of many compositions for the piano forte, and vocal pieces. Correspondence from all musical centers in the United States and Europe is a prominent feature in the journal, and subscriptions are registered from all parts of the Union, and not a few from Europe. Recently orders have been received from China, and within a few days one was received from India.

The Fourth Floor is entirely devoted to engraving, music-printing from engraved plates, and typo setting. About twenty printers, engravers, and compositors are constantly employed on this floor. Communication to the upper floors is had by handsome stairways and a steam elevator. The business has now reached dimensions requiring the use of all the available space in this capacious building, and extends from the Canadas to the Gulf of Mexico, and from New England to California. Extensive sales are of everyday occurrence for Texas, San Francisco, Utah and other remote localities. The catalogue of imported musical instruments and merchandise sold by the firm, excluding piano fortes, contains nearly 1,000 items, descriptive of every conceivable instrument for the production of melodious sound, from the bones of the irrepressible minstrel end man, to the violin of the famous makers of the Old World. The catalogue of sheet music is, with one exception, the largest in the United States, and by far the most popular. The publications by the house number over 15,000 different pieces of music and over 200 music books. At the present time the firm is publishing about fifty new pieces of music and one or two music books each month. The most popular piece ever published by this house was “Silvery Waves,” by A. P. Wyman, of which nearly 1,000,000 copies have been sold, but a few songs and pieces copyrighted, have had sales ranging from 100,000 to 300,000. The extent of the business done by the firm in Cincinnati led to the opening of a branch house in the Queen City. January 1878, an establishment was opened at 74 West Fourth street and placed under the care of Messrs Williams and Manss, two well-known gentlemen in the trade, who have the capability of building up a large business. Agencies have also been established for copyright publications in New York, Chicago, Sun Francisco and other large cities.

The Electrotype Foundry for the casting of the music plates and the Bindery, both owned by the firm, are located on Frankfort street, employing on an average about sixty hands. These few items will give our readers, perhaps, some idea of the facilities and business of this house. Since the death of the head of the firm the successors have employed the same enterprise, correctness, and good judgment which always had characterized the management of the business, and, continuing this, there is no doubt but that this extensively known house can increase their business to still greater proportions.

To Music Dealers, Teachers, Etc.
We would respectfully call the attention of Dealers, Teachers and Music buyers generally, to the numerous advantages we can offer them. Being the only large publishing house west of New York (since our purchase of the extensive catalogue and business of Root & Cady, Chicago,) and having one of the largest stocks and the most popular list of musical publications in the United States, we can offer inducements not to be obtained elsewhere. Correspondence solicited and liberal dealing guaranteed to all who favor us with their patronage. Complete catalogues of sheet music and music books, with terms to teachers and the trade, promptly sent on application.

Music and Books by Mail.

S. Brainard’s Sons will send by mail, to any address, Sheet music and Music-Books, postage free, on receipt of the marked price of the piece or book required, thus giving those who cannot procure Musical Works at home, an opportunity of obtaining them at the same price as if purchased by themselves at any Music-store. When Music or Books are sent by mail, the expense is one cent for every two ounces. Dealers and Teachers who may order in small quantities will find this conveyance a saving of time and expense.

S. B’s Sons always keep all the publications of every other house in the country, at the same prices as if published by themselves: therefore any piece of Music or Musical Work found in any catalogue will be sent to any address in the United States, or Canadas, postage free, on receipt of the marked or selling price.

S. BRAINARD’S SONS, Cleveland, O.

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