Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: Daynes Music advertising, 1915

The Whole Year Through: Daynes Music advertising, 1915

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 11, 2010

Daynes Music was the pioneer music company of Salt Lake City, is still in business, and is one of the longest-running companies to be operated by multiple generations of a single family. (I don’t understand the “established 1860” claim of the logo – the Daynes family didn’t arrive in the Valley until 1862; maybe they were engaged in the same business prior to emigrating.)

The John Daynes family made an early mark on Deseret’s music culture. John’s son Joseph, age 11, was already proficient on the organ when he first played for Brigham Young in 1862. Following training in New York City, he became the first Tabernacle organist at age 16.

John Daynes was a skilled watchmaker; his combination music and jewelry store opened on Salt Lake’s Main Street and handled sheet music, musical instruments (band instruments, as well as pianos and organs), music lessons, and, as the years passed, mechanical-musical technology such as phonographs.

I haven’t done the work yet to know who the partner Beebe was, or how long the company was a partnership. Whether as Daynes Music or Daynes-Beebe Music, though, the company appears year after year as a sponsor of various church magazines.


















  1. It’s just a little ironic that the ads all seem directed at giving the little girls, the blushing brides and the “sweet girl graduates” the opportunity for refinement that only comes through making music. Had they forgotten so soon that Joseph J. was a musician? (And, he was still alive in 1915!) Or were all the menfolk in 1915 already perfectly refined? Or was the task of refining them hopeless?

    As to the founding date, the company website gives 1862. Maybe it was just a typo in the 1915 ads. (Maybe all the feminization of music-making in those ads was also just a typo!)

    Comment by Mark B. — January 11, 2010 @ 8:25 am

  2. Reminds me of the pump organ in Elsie May’s front room.

    Comment by Stephen Taylor — January 11, 2010 @ 8:57 am

  3. If only pianos were still in those price ranges . . . my price range. I’d buy one for sure. 😉

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — January 11, 2010 @ 9:46 am

  4. I smiled at the timely summer ad:

    “Get your Piano or Player Piano NOW — and Pay When You Sell Your Crops!”

    Nothing like buying on time!

    Comment by Hunter — January 11, 2010 @ 9:48 am

  5. I might buy more than one, Michelle!

    Stephen, you’re lucky to have those memories. Her house, and of course her organ, were gone before I ever got a chance to see them.

    Mark, there really is a flavor of the times, isn’t there, with the whole “this is an accomplishment of women” thing going. I note, though, that while it is more often assumed to be the man’s duty to pay for the piano or risk depriving the ladies in his life, even mothers are told that they must have and can pay for these lux– er, necessities.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2010 @ 9:49 am

  6. That’s just a slight modification of the earlier Utah practice of paying your way into the theater with a bag of cabbages and pumpkins, Hunter!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  7. I smile when I think of these old piano promotions. At the time these ads were published, it was just about the only way to bring music into the home. And after the radio and phonograph became common, being an accomplished pianist was still an important social skill. Now with karaoke machines, “Guitar Hero” and iPods, i don’t think piano lessons are felt to be critical–for either gender.

    That cultural trend has forced the church to adapt. Our new meetinghouse in Utah County has only 2 pianos (primary room and chapel) with another “automatic piano” in RS room. When the player hits the keys (any keys) the speakers play the programmed hymn. ugh!

    My mother grew up in the era when even a farmer’s daughter was expected to be an accomplished pianist (and she is, having served almost exclusively in music callings her entire life, beginning as Jr. Sunday School pianist at age 12). Our family still enjoys gathering around the piano and singing together, but I don’t know of very many other families that do.

    Comment by Clark — January 11, 2010 @ 10:11 am

  8. Actually, Michelle, I think that the only full price for a piano in any of the ads is the inferior piano purchased from the mail order house for $397. I’d guess that a piano from Daynes would have cost more (the old “you think you got a bargain with your Sears, Roebuck mail order piano, but you got what you paid for” advertising line). So, those $5 or $10 payments were just a downpayment.

    And $400 could have been a substantial part of a family’s annual income in 1915. So, that should make your $4,000 or $5,000 piano seem like a bargain!

    Comment by Mark B. — January 11, 2010 @ 11:02 am

  9. Right on, Mark B. Sometimes we assume that yesterday’s musicians paid proportionately less for instruments than we do today, but I think the reverse is often the case.

    Comment by Hunter — January 11, 2010 @ 11:41 am

  10. Mark & Hunter, You are right. I’m not so much into pianos, although we bought one for the family years ago, but I do know I can buy a better acoustic guitar for less money today than I could even back when I was in college in the 70’s. The advent of more computer controlled machinery has made quality and reliability available for less money than ever before, and I would contend that is also the case in pianos.

    Clark, #7, I agree in some part, but since my kids bought me Beatles Rock Band for the Wii, that has turned out to be a family activity that tends to pull the family together. Even my wife will participate, making Rock Band and Wii Sports the only video games that she has ever been interested in.

    We are, however, exposing our 4 year old granddaughter to the refinements of piano, plus we bought her a first guitar for Christmas. It, however, was at 1915 prices ($15)!

    Comment by kevinf — January 11, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  11. Actually, kevinf, I think we agree completely. I was trying to say that iPods, Rock Band, etc. provide the family bonding, “top 40 sing-alongs” and background music that previously was only available if there was an accomplished pianist in the house.

    Comment by Clark — January 11, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  12. Nothing like a little “keeping up with the Joneses” salesmanship in the ‘To the mother who says I can’t afford a piano’ ad.

    Comment by Steve G. — January 11, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

  13. What a fun discussion — and some shared smiles at what changes and what doesn’t — from a batch of old ads!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 11, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  14. Ovando Collins Beebe was my great grandfather. He is the Beebe in the name Daynes-Beebe. He died in 1928. I haven’t been able to find out the exact nature of their partnership. I do know that he was also a banker, and also married to one of Wilford Woodruff’s daughters. Ovando died in Hollywood California. I haven’t been able to figure out what he was doing there. I’ve been wondering if maybe they were trying to expand the business.

    Comment by Michael Collins — November 12, 2015 @ 9:02 pm


    Comment by Michael Collins — November 12, 2015 @ 9:04 pm