John Firth was born in Yorkshire, England in 1789. In 1810 he arrived in New York and after military service in the War of 1812 both he and his future partner William Hall (1796-1873) found work with the instrument maker Edward Riley. Firth left in 1815 to establish his own shop and was joined in 1821 by Hall thus creating the firm Firth & Hall. In addition to manufacturing musical instruments the firm published sheet music at least as early as 1833. In that year Sylvanus Billings Pond (1792-1871) was admitted into partnership and the firm was renamed Firth, Hall & Pond. The business re-organized again in 1847 when Hall left establishing his own firm William Hall & Son while Thaddeus Firth and William A. Pond (d.1885), sons of the two remaining partners, were admitted into the firm which was renamed Firth, Pond & Co. In 1863 the firm was split up with the Ponds forming William A. Pond & Co. and the Firths forming Firth, Son & Co. John Firth died on September 10, 1864 and the firm continued to be run by his son Thaddeus until it was sold to Oliver Ditson Company in March, 1867.
Firth primarily published popular songs and piano pieces. By far, its most valuable commodity was the popular songs of Stephen Foster.
Imprints, Addresses, Agencies
- John Firth (1815-1820) - Probably manufactured instruments only.
- Firth & Hall (1821-1832) - Imprint was still in use in the 1840s.
- Firth, Hall & Pond (1833-1847)
- Firth, Pond & Co. (1847-1863)
- Firth, Son & Co. (1863-1867)
- 1 Franklin Square, New York (1832-1856)
- 239 Broadway, New York (1846) - address for Firth, Hall & Pond at same time that Firth & Hall were located at Franklin Square
- 547 Broadway, New York (1857-1863)
- 563 Broadway, New York (1864-1867)
Firth & Hall and Firth, Hall & Pond appear to have used either no plate numbers or an abbreviation of the work's title followed by the number of plates. Plate numbers for Firth, Pond & Co. and Firth, Son & Co. were issued in a fairly regular chronological fashion in the format of ####..
Firth & Hall and Firth, Hall & Pond
|Isle of Sheppy Waltzes. 7||Bristow||Isle of Sheppy Waltzes||1840|
|Rory O Moore Var. 6||Bristow||Rory O'Moore||1842|
|3846||Wallace||Grande valse de concert, Op.27||1845|
|3904||Saroni||Music From Afar||1846|
|4010||Wallace||La belle anglaise||1846|
|4048||Heinrich||The Tribute - pt.2, The City of Fraternal Love||1846|