Artizan Factories Inc. (583 Division Street)

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Artizan Factories Inc. (583 Division Street)


Artizan Factories photo, 1926 The only known photograph of the Artizan Factories Inc. building in its seven years of operation; published in a 1926 industrial survey. From the Historical Society of the Tonawandas. The red brick building at 583 Division Street was built for music.

A colorfully painted Style D band organ
A "Style D" band organ on display at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 2015
Artizan Factories Inc. makes "automatic" musical instruments for carousels, fairgrounds, and parks. The men are refugees, so to speak, of the North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works, which was purchased by the Rand Visible Records Company in 1918 and converted to making office supplies. Artizan president Stillman C. Woodruff was the first secretary and treasurer for the de Kleist Musical Instrument Mfg. Co. in 1903 and served in a similar capacity for the North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works . Vice president Frank Morganti and treasurer Christian Maerten have also made the rounds of the local organ factories, and each have 30 years of firsthand experience.

Like the North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works' original factory, the single-elevator Artizan building is designed to accomodate expansion. However, in its case, an expansion is never necessary. In spite of its talented leadership, the competition from the nationwide Wurlitzer and changing tastes in public entertainment prove too much. After years of economic hardship, the venture fails in 1929.

Other concerns have owned the building through the decades. Little trace remains of the original work done here. The first floor was removed and merged with the basement, as seen in a video tour in this collection. Doug Hershberger of the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum paid a visit in 2006, and found much the same, as he recorded in the Mechanical Music Digest that year:
Inspection of the interior of the factory building is an exercise in frustration to a historian. I have never seen a building so utterly devoid of clues or artifacts or interest. There was not a partition, a workbench, a sign painted on the wall, anything that gave a clue as to the original occupant of the building. I'm not sure there was even paint on the wall. Moreover, even the first floor was gone! One of the post-Artizan owners of the property needed a higher ceiling, so he removed the first floor, making the basement ceiling the underside of the second level.

Mr. Wagner was generous with his time and provided some interesting background on the building. He moved his business to the site in 1986. He said the previous owner was a pallet manufacturer who had gone bankrupt. The elevator had been sold off for income. Some of the (hardwood?) flooring had been removed by someone for the construction of a summer home. There were two boilers associated with the building, but evidently not within the four-story structure. Both have been removed and one boiler room is now used as a compressor room.


VIDEO: A video tour of an Artizan "Style D" Band


This working organ at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum of North Tonawanda, N.Y. is the largest of the Artizan line of military band organs.…

VIDEO: A Factory Tour, Former Artizan Factories Inc. (2017).mov


I take a walk around the interior of the North Tonawanda, New York factory built by the 1922-1930 band organ and office furniture makers.