William Lewis & Son is one of the oldest stringed instrument brands still in production. The fine violinist, William Lewis was born in Devonshire, England in 1837 and moved to the US in 1850 residing near Bellevue, Ohio. Lewis was a violin prodigy performing concerts at only 8 years old. In 1862, he moved to Chicago and worked for the music house of Root & Cady which was destroyed in 1871 by the Great Chicago Fire. Ebenezer Towner Root then became a partner with William Lewis and formed the music house known as Root and Lewis.
Then in 1874, William Lewis, concerned by the lack of quality instruments and service available for his students, formed the Chicago Music Company with new partners Newell and Gibbs. Located in the heart of the Chicago business district, players from the finest symphony orchestras in the world would often visit Lewis' shop to have their own instruments appraised or serviced. Amati, Guarneri, and Stradivarius instruments were commonly in inventory.
William later renamed the business Wm. Lewis Company in 1886 and then eventually to Wm. Lewis & Son in 1896. Fred Lewis succeeded his father as president of the company. In 1995, the 121 year old string maker was purchased by the Selmer Company.