The Beale brand is strongly connected to Australia and Australians. Beale started from humble beginnings in Sydney and its success story is an inspiration to many in the piano industry.
The company was founded in 1893 by Octavius Charles Beale, who was born 23 February 1850 in Ireland and died 16 December 1930 in Stroud, New South Wales. Amazingly, Beale and Company rose to be the largest piano manufacturer in the British Empire, producing some 95,000 pianos from 1893 to 1975.
Beale set out to manufacture every element of his pianos. The range of trades incorporated into the factory is astonishing – brass and iron foundries, power houses, timber yards, stores, mills, joinery works, cabinet departments, veneer works, paint and pattern shops, machine and electro-plating departments, keyboard action-making and fitting, tuning, intonating; drying kilns, dust-proof polishing rooms and experimental laboratories!
A French music critic, Oscar Comettant, visited Australia in 1898 and commented that ‘…there is probably no piano factory in the world so completely self-contained as the Beale factory at Annandale, NSW. Certainly there is none in the British Empire that produces nearly so many parts used in piano making…’
The Beale Piano Factory was located at 47 Trafalgar Street in Annandale, Sydney. Beale is no longer manufactured in Australia but the factory still stand today, a testament to its strength and longevity. The buildings have been converted into modern apartments and each building has its own piano-related name, a reminder of the thriving Australian piano industry of the past.
Beale Pianos are now manufactured by Pearl River Pianos for an Australian company, the Australis Music Group. Australis is the largest independent, Australian-owned, distributor of musical instruments in Australia. Over the past five years Australis has consistently been ranked in the ‘Top 200 International Music Product Manufacturers and Distributors’ list published by Music Trades magazine.
Pearl River is a renowned Chinese and global piano manufacturer. They have been designing, building and continuously perfecting fine pianos for over fifty years. From the world’s smallest piano company producing 4 upright pianos a month in 1956, Pearl River has grown to become the world’s largest piano factory with the capacity to produce over 100,000 pianos a year. That amazing success is the result of a total commitment to excellence in every facet of the manufacturing process. Assembled in a strictly climate-controlled environment, every element in the Beale piano reflects the highest standards in craftsmanship and quality materials. Pearl River has become so respected for producing fine pianos, that they have established co-ventures with many of the most renowned names in European, Japanese and American piano manufacturing. They even manufacture Steinway’s Essex pianos.