In 1866 George Manner launched Manner & Company, and began to make square Arion Forte pianos, which he patented
on November 13, 1866.
In 1869 Manner exhibited his Arion Forte before the American Institute, then a top juried competition of world
inventions held in New York City. Competing pianos were wrapped in cloth to hide their makers, then played by concert
pianists. Manner’s piano won top honors, even against a Steinway piano, and a national advertising campaign followed.
The piano was ordered by many, including leading music schools -- and Las Vegas’ José Albino Baca.
As to the name of the piano, Arion was a minor figure in Greek mythology who invented the dithyramb, an ancient Greek
chorus danced by up to 50 men or boys in a circle. Pianoforte is the original Italian name for piano, but the "forte" was
eventually dropped in popular usage.
Arion Piano comes to be:
In 1870 George Manner changed the name of his company from Manner & Company to the Arion Piano Forte Company,
which appears on the front of José Albino Baca's piano at the Plaza Hotel. The national advertising campaign was
successful, and the New York City manufacturing plant grew to take up an entire city block.
Later in 1870 George Manner sold his company and rights to the Arion name to Covell and Company, but Manner stayed
on as the company's superintendent, but became a mere journeyman when the company was purchased by J. Simpson and
Company around 1874. Two years later, Manner left the J. Simpson Company and joined with his sons Charles and
George, Jr., to make upright pianos in a firm called Manner & Sons.
Charles died in 1879, and George, Jr., died in 1880. Adding to the loss of two sons, a partner allegedly had stolen money
from George, Sr. Most of the family soon left New York City, and moved to Dallas, Texas. They lived in a large Victorian
two-story home in an upscale neighborhood.
In Dallas, George Manner began the first commercial piano manufacturing company in Texas, but it did not match his
previous success with the Arion. He became a well-known musician in Dallas, associated with a German singing society
and a Jewish synagogue.
He wrote and published hymns and other music, as well as a special German polka for the 1889 Ft. Worth, Texas,
Exhibition. George Manner died in Dallas in 1916, at age 86. He had fathered eleven children through two marriages.