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L.E.N. Pratte piano

A brand of pianos that began production in Montreal in 1889. Louis-Étienne-Napoléon Pratte (b Princeville, Que.) founded a music store and began dealing in pianos after arriving in Montreal around 1875.



L.E.N. Pratte piano - Piano Age Calculator
L.E.N. Pratte piano

In 1882, he was briefly joined by his younger brother Antonio (born in Princeville in 1865, died in Saint-Célestin de Nicolet on January 9, 1943). Antonio studied piano manufacturing as an apprentice 1882-9 with the Dominion Organ and Piano Co in Bowmanville, Ont., after receiving music instruction from Dominique Ducharme and Charles-Marie Panneton. Évariste (about 1867-1913), another sibling, accompanied him and learned tuning. They both flew to New York for more training before returning to Canada. In 1889, Antonio Pratte started making pianos under the moniker L.-É.-N. Pratte; Évariste handled sales and L.-É.-N. promotion and advertising. The Pratte Piano Company/La Compagnie de pianos Pratte was founded in 1895 and quickly purchased the Cornwall reed organ plant in Huntingdon, Quebec, bringing expert workers from the United States and Europe. Between 1894 and 1909, Antonio Pratte received patents from the Canadian, US, and even European governments for improvements to the upright piano that he produced.


In 1896, the company proudly announced the names of "the elite of Canadian musicians and teachers who have chosen and purchased the Pratte piano in preference to all US ones," adding that their pianos "possess artistic qualities not found in any other US or European piano." Their technique ensures maximum firmness and longevity in harsh conditions, in addition to the rarest musical qualities' (L'Art musical, Nov 1896). At a recital at the Institut national des jeunes aveugles in Paris in 1898, Victoria Cartier debuted the Pratte piano to Europeans. In 1900, the Pratte company earned first place at the Paris International Exposition and introduced the first Canadian-made player piano to its customers.


L.-É.-N. Pratte founded and owned the monthly journal L'Art Musical (published from October 1896 to January 1899).


When L.-É.-N. Pratte died in 1911, Antonio Pratte took over as CEO. Victoria Cartier performed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montreal in 1912, introducing the world to Antonio's first grand piano, the design of which he had been constructing since 1896. Pratte also created a new type of harmonium 'with a transposing keyboard' for use in churches and chapels around this period. In 1918, the Pratte Piano Company launched the Prattephone Co., which produced phonographs.


In 1926, the company amalgamated with J.-Donat Langelier Ltée, which merged with N.G. Valiquette in 1963 to form Langelier-Valiquette Ltée.



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