Duck Son & Pinker was founded in 1948. William Duck had his first Piano shop at 2 Pulteney Bridge but grew to occupy the whole of one side of the bridge. In 1878, William's son George became a partner in the firm and in 1884 Thomas Pinker joined the firm - thus the name: Duck, Son & Pinker.
Thomas Pinker was originally employed as a piano tuner but being a man with a talent for business, he was a valued member of the firm. Out of hours he played the organ at a local church and was a member of the Bath Rowing Club.
There are many pianos that bear the Duck, Son & Pinker name and it is difficult to pinpoint where they were made. Some models were made by Skerrett, a better quality model was made by Brasted. Others, from the look of the insides, might have been made by Bentley. Their earlier, straight-strung pianos, may well have been made at the premises in Bath or in Bristol.
The decline of the piano side of the business reflected the widespread downturn in acoustic piano sales across the industry over many years. Today, it is hard to imagine any piano business tuning 5,000 pianos every month but at their height, D.S.&P. really did achieve an astonishing 65,000 piano tunings in a year! They had an army of tuners working from Bath down to Cornwall and into Wales. They had branches in Swindon, Swansea, Bristol, Gloucester and for a while, Weston Super Mare.
I remember tales from the old tuners when I was an apprentice: they were given a bicycle, put on a train to South Wales, and told to go up and down the valleys going door to door for piano tuning work! Those really were the golden days!
Duck son and Pinker was the classic local, music 'institution'. Entering the shop was like stepping into a bygone era. Vacating its traditional Pulteney Bridge premises during the 1980s, the business continued to survive up until 1 April 2011.
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