---- THE GREAT MUSICAL INSTRUMENT DEPARTMENT OF THE OLIVER DITSON CO., BOSTON, MASS. ---- Much has been printed in many parts of the United States concerning the elegant quarters fitted, and now occupied, by the world's greatest music publishing house, the Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, and but little concerning the musical instrument house of John C. Hayes & Co., which, it is well understood, is the musical instrument department of this great publishing house, remarks a writer in the Boston Budget.
A short description of the stores and the business of John C. Haynes & Co. will be of interest. No. 33 Court street, Boston, where the business was established thirty years ago, is still the leading retail musical instrument emporium in America. Business at this old stand has increased steadily, until May, 1889, the firm was obliged to lease the large store No. 694 to 700 Washington street, transferring their wholesale business principally to that store.
A large stock of banjo and guitar music from all publishers, as well as piano music and books, are special features at No. 33 also. Customers will find a competent and obliging corps of salesmen in attendance. John C. Haynes & Co. have recently removed from No. 694 to 700 Washington street to their newly fitted apartments at No. 453 to 463 Washington street. Customers enter at No. 463, taking the elevator to the third floor, which is richly fitted with show cases filled with desirable instruments for musicians.
The next floor is used for storing and shipping. Three large floors in the building No. 453, which are connected with these rooms, are used for laying out dealers' orders, drums, band instrument and repairing departments. Their manufactory, where the "William B. Tilton" and "Haynes, Excelsior" guitars, and "Bay State" guitars, mandolins and banjos are made is located on Stanhope street. Messrs. C. H. Ditson & Co. of New York and Messrs. J. E. Ditson & Co. of Philadelphia draw their musical instrument supplies from John C. Haynes & Co. These houses have largely increased their facilities in this department recently.
At the time of its razing in 1898, the building occupied by John C. Haynes & Company at 33 Court Street (pictured at right) was purported to be the 'Oldest Music House in America' having been previously occupied by Elias Howe whose remaining stock was purchased by Ditson in 1861.
It is a common misconception that any J. C. Haynes drum with a label bearing the address of 33 Court Street dates to the Civil War. While the company was indeed located at this address as far back as the Civil War era, Haynes continued to do business at 33 Court Street decades later even after their newer manufacturing facilities had opened at 453 - 463 Washington Street in the early 1890s.
Instruments labeled with a 694 - 700 Washington Street or 453 - 463 Washington Street address (sometimes in conjunction with the 33 Court Street address) date from 1889 or later. No drums were manufactured under the John C. Haynes & Co. brand name after 1903.
As of January 1st, 1904 John C. Haynes & Co. was absorbed into the Oliver Ditson Company with John C. Haynes remaining as president of the Oliver Ditson Company as he had been since 1888. John C. Haynes died in 1907 after which Charles H. Ditson became president of the Oliver Ditson Company.
The vast majority of drums produced under the John C. Haynes name were rope tension drums in large sizes intended for street use or military purposes. Shells were typically one-ply with reinforcing rings and a single air vent lined with a rosewood or ebony grommet. Shells and hoops were produced in a variety of hard woods including walnut, pictured above.
Rod tension drums by Haynes are not common but did begin to appear by the late 1800s. The drum pictured here features a label listing both the 33 Court Street address along with 453 - 463 Washington Street. It is also unusual in that it accommodates two sets of eight gut snares which run side by side along the bottom head.