1918 pioneer of musical instruments: The L.D. Heater Music Company

1918 pioneer of musical instruments: The L.D. Heater Music Company

Family-owned L.D. Heater Music Company moved from its long-time Portland location to a new building at 10300 SW Allen Blvd in 1967-1968. This was a time when Beaverton and its 16,350 population was increasing, building up its environment of commercial and industrial properties and expanding outwards.

Established in 1918, the company was well-known as an importer and pioneer of musical instruments and in its formative years, sold Gramophones, a new and improved version of the phonograph. They would go on to span years of the newest musical technologies.

Here musicians bought or rented brass and stringed instruments, pianos, accordions, drums, accessories and supplies from the “largest stock in the Northwest,” as their advertising proclaimed. In 1939, a trumpet could be had for $29 ($663 in 2024), a spinet piano for $149 ($3,360 today), or a snare drum for $12 ($281 today).

For unclear reasons, the firm added Gilfillan refrigerators to its inventory in 1939. Electric fridges were becoming more common in household kitchens in the 1930s, so perhaps they were capitalizing on their business association as sellers of Gilfillan radios.

The firm’s subsidiary was an exclusive vendor for Lyle Guitars. It was named after Lyle D. Heater, son of the company founder, throughout the 1960s-1970s. Imported from Japan, they were a lower cost version of more well-known guitar manufacturers.

Heater was likewise admired for community involvement, advertising in the Beaverton Enterprise newspaper, sponsoring bands, orchestras, clubs, and civic events for many years.

After nearly seven decades of meeting customers’ musical needs and undergoing ownership changes, the respected firm closed in 1986. Epiq Legal and Corporate Restructuring Services now occupies the building.


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