J. Wallis and Son (1848-c.1921)

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Joseph Wallis founded his company in 1848 and was succeeded by his son James and later by H.E.H. Standish and George Wallis as heads of the firm. They were established in 1848 at 6-7 Providence Street, Walworth as a music store, and from 1858 were at 6 Union St., Borough SE, moving to no.14 in 1865. The firm moved to 133-35 Euston Road in 1867, where they remained until 1928. They became J. Wallis & Son in 1887.

There is said to have been a factory at 50 Isledon Road and Thane Villas, Holloway (c1914), with other premises at 53B Carysfort Road, Stoke Newington (1915-19).

Wallis is known to have made concertinas for some time. They also made woodwind and brass instrument, but other makes may have the Wallis stencil. They produced the Wallis Patent Table Organ, harmoniums and American organs at 133-5 Euston Road, London, but were later registered as making only parts and reeds and in 1921 just making pianos and players. Some of the instruments we have seen were probably supplied from other makers, for instance as the ``Improved Parisian Model''. It has also been suggested that their concertinas were actually made by Lachenal or Jones.

Joseph Wallis and Sons were also recorded as piano makers, and their upright models do turn up regularly for sale. Around 1883, the firm's name changed to Joseph Wallis and Son. Around 1889, they became a limited company and seem to have finished around 1930.

In the 1878 Paris exhibition they were exhibiting materials for musical instruments and a selection of flutes.

In the 1885 London Exhibition, they were award a bronze medal for cheap and good cottage harmonium. They also received medals for an electrograph for music, good quality flutes and holdfast violin pegs. They had catalogue nos. 3,555 and 3,569.

Their instruments were exported around the world, there seem to be a number of pianos in South Africa. The Table Organ and also Wallis Folding Organs were being advertised by Chrisp and Son of Gisborne, Poverty Bay, New Zealand in Sep'1898.

Patent Table Organ

One of these instruments was for sale in Feb'2012 by David Shuker, a restorer in West Malling. The asking price was £850 because it had been completely overhauled, fitted with two rows of new reeds and a newly re-made foot pedal from drawings in the patent. It has three stops (front set, rear set, tremulant) and a Forte. This is a rare survivor of a by-gone age.


RFG-4342 piano-cased organ



ROS-3921 is another Wallis harmonium with seven stops. Its name plate shown above claims it to be a ``broad reed organ harmonium''.


This small harmonium in the Woodville Organ Museum was restored in 2013. It has the same name plate as above. Stops are Forte I, Dulciana, Diapason, Expression, Melodia, Vox Humana Forte II.

Plumley Collection

There is said to be a Joseph Wallis harmonium dating from c.1860 in the Plumley Collection in Arundel, see http://plumleycollection.co.uk.


This one is a small suction instrument.


Here is a somewhat larger one advertised in Jan'2013 from a vendor in Milton Keynes.


A small suction organ appeared on e-Bay Jan'2008. It looks to be a fairly late one.


A single rank instrument in very poor condition was advertised on e-Bay, *6350 in St. Neots, Mar'2013.


This one was advertised in Rotherham, June 2013. It carries metal plaques denoting some of its history.

Presented to ???
??? Sunday School
  March 23 1904

This Organ was transferred from
 The Crescent Church, Spalding
     11th December 1955

 Members of the Congregation
found Interferring with this
   Organ will be Severely
 Reprimanded and Forbidden
to Practice with the Choristers
   Reverend T.~Hardie ???
     November 1871


e-Bay *7941

This one with an oak case was advertised in Dec'2013 and said to have been used in a church in Carlisle. It measures 46'' x23'' x48'' and was originally sold by Charles Thurnam a & Sons, Carlisle; the company still exists and are listed as printers and office equipment suppliers.

I contacted the seller and was told that the 16 stops are as follow: Forte, Bass Coupler, Harp Aolian, Principal, Sub Bass, Diapason 8', Dulcet 8', Vox Humana, Echo 8', Melodia 8', Voix Celeste 8', Dulciana, Flute, Saxophone, Treble Coupler, Forte. It also has 2x knee swells.


Rob Allan