Horn-u-Copia's Display of Makers

previous  765  next
Select Maker:

Commodore Instruments
Tonk Instruments


Chicago, IL



  • 1815 William Tonk, Sr. is born in Prussia
  • 1848 son William Tonk, Jr. is born in Berlin, Germany 1851 the family emigrates to New Jersey
  • 1856 son Charles Tonk born in New Jersey
  • 1866 William, Jr. is a bookkeeper for Julius Bauer & Co. (his uncle) in Chicago
  • 1871 William is still a bookkeeper for Bauer; Charles Tonk is a student at Bryant & Chase Business College
  • 1875 William J. Tonk, Sr. is a superintendent for Bauer while both William, Jr. and Charles are bookkeepers, 165 State
  • 1880 William, Sr. is a clerk for Bauer, William, Jr. is a manager, and Charles is a superintendent, #182 Wabash, Chicago
  • 1882 Tonk & Co. now have an office in New York, #47 Maiden Lane; William, Charles, & Max, stools
  • 1883 William Tonk & Bro. starts, #47 Maiden Lane, manufacturer & importer of musical instruments; Max Tonk continues with Tonk & Co., stools
  • 1888 William Tonk & Bro. now at #26 Warren St., NYC
  • 1889 Tonk establishes piano factory in NYC (top photo)
  • 1890 still at #26 Warren St.; William & Charles Tonk, cornet from this period is marked with exhibitions of Oporto 1865 & Philadelphia 1876 possibly made by Pereira of Portugal
  • 1891 William Tonk, Sr. dies (born Johann Wilhelm Tonk); William, Jr. at #127 E. 129th St., NYC
  • 1892 William Tonk & Brother, musical instruments, #14,271 Wabash (same address as Tonk Mfg. Co. headed by Max Tonk which made piano stools), Wm. Jr. & Charles; perhaps this is the first year for the Chicago store; William seems to have stayed in NYC while Charles was in Chicago
  • 1898 Registered Tonk as a trade name in 1898 for small wind instuments.
  • 1896-97 Wm. Tonk & Bro, musical inst. factory, 10 workers, NYC
  • 1899 Wm. Tonk & Bro., guitars, 8 workers in NYC factory 1900 William Tonk & Bro., musical inst., #250 Wabash, Charles J. Tonk vp1904 William Tonk & Bro., #452 10th Ave, Wm. Pres, Gustav H. Alting secretary, Henry Presspritch
  • 1910 Tonk Bros. Co., #259 Wabash 2nd Floor, Charles J. Tonk president, Albert E. Tonk sec. ; in NYC, William’s sons Wm H. is a manager and Edwin G. is a salesman for pianos
  • 1913 Wm Tonk & Bro, Wm pres & dir, Wm H. Tonk, tres & dir, #452 10th Ave
  • 1918 Charles Tonk dies February 21st
  • 1920 Census shows William as piano manufacturer owner, #18 126th St.; son Edwin is piano mfg. manager
  • 1923 Tonk Brothers Co., #323 S. Wabash Ave., Sarah H. Tonk pres, M. Morris sec, Paul Monnig tres, manufacturer & importer of musical merchandise, wholesale only; they buy the E.A. Couturier Co. from Lyon & Healy
  • 1925 mention of a piano factory in NYC; William now living in Pelham, NY
  • 1926 William writes "Memoirs of a Manufacturer", NY, Presto; Chicago store at #623 Wabash Ave.
  • During the 1920s they either established or bought the Regal Brand name and in 1928-29 they bought the rights to the Washburn name.
  • 1930 Census has William, 81, now retired in N. Pelham, NY
  • 1947 Tonk merged with Continental Music Co. (a Conn div.)

Commodore was a tradename for higher quality instruments.

Contribute new Data (or Corrections):

Information posted here will be added to this page.

This is not the place to ask questions, as users will only occasionally visit a particular Maker's
page. Pease use the forum to ask questions or talk about your instrument.
(Please use the forum for discussions, questions, etc.)

  • Name:
    Email Address or HUC Username, Please.      

    What is this:

    Type in the 1st 4 letters of the name:

  • Data:


Top Of Page

Designed by Scott Office Solutions