Navigation:   Tower Bells Home => Tubular Bells => R.H.Mayland

Rowland Hill Mayland (1848-1916)

Rowland H. Mayland was the third and youngest child of silversmith George Mayland, who emigrated from England to the USA about 1841, accompanied by his wife (Sarah) and their firstborn child.  A daughter was born to them in Connecticut, but by the time Rowland was born, they had settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they remained.  (See Residences, below.)  George carried on the silversmithing trade there until at least the mid-1880s, but his date of death and place of burial have not yet been found.  None of his children followed the silversmithing trade, at least not directly, and the fate of the older two has not been discovered.  (See Genealogy, below.)

Rowland H. Mayland married young, and about that same time he went into business as a manufacturer of musical instruments.  (See Business History, below.)  Business directories of the day give no clue as to what types of musical instruments he made, but other evidence shows that there was quite a variety.  (See References, below.)  At some point, he became the first American manufacturer of what are now called English handbells, and that may be reflected in the later business directories which list his occupation as "musical bells".

Rowland's wife, Julia, had the distinction of having been born at sea while en route to America.  The only certainty about her family is the fact of their being English.  However, it is possible that they immigrated through Canada, because in the 1880 US census Julia gave her place of birth as Canada rather than "At Sea."  It is also possible that their family name was Stanley (see Mayland & Stanley under Business History, below); if that is correct, then the names of her parents and siblings are also known.  Rowland and Julia had two sons and a daughter, in the same order as his parents had done.  The older son became an engineer, and seems to have moved around quite a bit before settling in California.  The daughter lived at home, and did not marry until after her father's death.  But she must have been a great favorite of her parents, because she was always known by her nickname rather than her given name until after she married.  Only the younger son followed his father into the musical instrument business. 

In addition to being an artisan and businessman, Rowland was a musician.  As a youth during the Civil War, he enlisted in the 56th New York Volunteers, where he served as drum major.  (Many years later, this service entitled his widow to a veteran's pension.)  Possibly he continued service with this band after the war, because later he was described as having been its bandmaster.

As a young man, he played the flute in several different minstrel groups in Brooklyn, and was sufficiently well known to be able to contribute significantly to the writing of a book on minstrelsy many years afterward.  In his middle years, he was sometimes a flute soloist at more genteel musical entertainments, accompanied by his daughter at the piano.

Rowland seems to have been of an inventive turn of mind, because he was issued four patents over the course of a decade, as follows:

He was also the assignor of a patent issued to Robert J. Carson of New York City in 1903 (No.741,625, Oct.20) for a "Strength-testing or punching machine," which was evidently intended to be coin operated, as in an entertainment arcade. 

Rowland was also quite civic minded.  He became well known as a volunteer fireman, and eventually was a key figure in the establishment of a firemen's home in Hudson, New York, and thereafter a trustee of it.  After moving his family from Brooklyn to Freeport, Long Island, he became Vice President of the Freeport Board of Education, and also served as President of the Board of Health.  He was one of the organizers of the Freeport Lodge of Elks.

In 1909, Rowland H. Mayland was one of three directors of the Eaton-Hough Company of New York City, a firm which seems to have had some involvement with calculating machines.

Rowland Mayland died at his home in Freeport, at the age of 68.  The cause of his death and the place of his burial have not been discovered.  He was survived by his wife and all three of their children, and the results of his long-lasting business have survived to the present day.

Mayland Genealogy

George Mayland, patriarch of this family
b.c.1816 in England; d.1884 or later in NY?
m.c.1838 in England + Sarah ? (c.1818-18??)
Immigrated to USA c.1841; naturalized in New York City, 4 Nov 1845
Occupation: silversmith
  1. George Mayland, b.c.1840 in England, d.?
  2. Sarah E. Mayland, b.c.1842 in Connecticut, d.?
  3. Rowland Hill Mayland
    b.16 Feb.1848 in New York; d.6 Oct.1916 in Freeport, NY
    m.c.1868 + Julia Alferetta Stanley (c.1850-1935)
    Occupation: manufacturer of musical instruments (see Business History below)
    1. George A. Mayland (c.1869-1926)
      m. + Irena C./Lura ? (1870-?), no issue?
      Occupation: electrical engineer, consulting engineer
    2. Elizabeth S. (Bessie) Mayland (1873-1956)
      m.Nov.1916 + Sidney D. Smith (1872-1944), no issue
    3. Edwin Stanley Mayland
      b.2 Aug 1876/7; d.1959
      m.1907 + Evaline Fletcher (1881-1955) of Lodi, IL
      Occupation: manufacturer of musical instruments (see Business History below)
      1. Edwin Stanley (Stan) Mayland, Jr. (1914-2005)
        m.after 1940 + Ethel M. ? (1915-1995)
        Issue: 2 sons, probably both still living.
        Occupation: Real estate, manufacturer of musical instruments

Mayland Business History

The Meneely/Troy bellfoundry supplied a 159-pound bell to R.H.Mayland's Son of Brooklyn NY on Apr.13, 1905.  Presumably this would have been a factory bell.  It is not known whether the year is a typo or whether this is evidence that Mayland, now nearly sixty years of age, had effectively turned the business over to his son.  However, up to 1913 this business name did not appear in the Brooklyn city directories. 

The business was relocated to Lakeside, Connecticut, in the late 1960s by Edwin Stanley Mayland, Jr.  It has been reported that in 1977 the business was sold to the Verdin Company of Cincinnati; but whether that is correct, and what happened thereafter, are unclear, because other evidence indicates that at least part of the business continued until the death of Edwin Stanley Mayland, Jr.  Nowadays, both Mayland and Deagan organ chimes are being sold by Organ Supply Company of Erie, PA, and OSC's literature indicates that they have been doing so since 1993.

For an index to pages about all of the known tubular tower chimes made by Mayland, click here.

The following advertisement appeared in an organ-related publication in the year of Rowland H. Mayland's death:

In view of what's known about the one surviving Mayland tower chime recorded here,
it is quite possible that the catalogue might have included both indoor and tower chimes.

Mayland Residences

Where there are gaps in the following sequences, they are caused by absence of residence information from the city directories unless stated otherwise.  All addresses are in Brooklyn, New York, unless stated otherwise.  Directories before 1862 were published but are not available online.  Directories after 1913 probably were published, but are not available online.


A page about Mayland handbells mentions a few of the other kinds of musical instruments that he manufactured, though not tower chimes.

An article from the Percussive Arts Society discusses Mayland's work and pictures a two-octave set of orchestral tubular chimes.  But it doesn't mention his tower chimes.

The NYC AGO Website has specifications for many of the organs in and around that city.  Among them are 13 instruments which contain Mayland chimes.  Those which are fully identified have 20 or 25 tubes, but there is also a set of "clochettes" (small bells?) by Mayland and a 49-bar Harp rank from the same company.

Photos of a "Rowland H Mayland & Son Vintage Metal Marimba", c.1930, which is part of the Grainger Musuem Collection, University of Melbourne.  In view of the date of this instrument, one might wonder whether the maker's inscription has been transcribed correctly.

A small pipe organ installed in a home has a 21-note set of Mayland organ chimes, which is shown in a photo.

Purchasers (actual or prospective) of organ chimes from Organ Supply Company can download a set of installation instructions (PDF) "for Deagan or Mayland organ chimes, manufactured by Organ Supply Co. since 1993."  The first page includes a small logo of "Mayland chimes / est. 1866 / Erie, Penna.", but that must have been designed (or adapted) by OSC, since the Maylands themselves never operated in Erie.

The Organ Historical Society database lists many instruments containing Mayland ranks, which may be summarized as follows (as of August 2012):

    Mayland chimes (25 notes from tenor G) - 18
    Mayland chimes (21 notes from tenor A) - 95
    Mayland chimes (20 notes)              -  1
    Mayland chimes, solid tubular          -  1
    Mayland chimes, unspecified            -  4
    Mayland 4' Celesta                     -  1
    Mayland Harp (61 note)                 -  1
    Mayland & Son Harp                     -  1
    Mayland electronically amplified chimes (1956) - 1

[Tower Bells Home Page] [Site Map] [The builder] [What's New]

This page was created 2012/08/25 and last revised 2013/12/30.

Please send comments or questions about this page to