Thomas, Charles Lewis - Hamilton, was born in Thornbury, Glouscestershire, England, on the 4th of May, 1828. He is a son of John Morgan and Mary (Lewis) Thomas, there being thirteen children, Charles Lewis being the oldest. Of these five were sons and eight daughters, and three of the sons are still living and all engaged in the music business, viz J. J. Thomas, who is connected with subject in the piano trade, and E.G. Thomas, organ manufacturer of Woodstock, Ontario. Four of the daughters are still living.
John Morgan Thomas emigrated to Canada, from Bristol, England in 1832, settling in Montréal. He was afterwards one of the pioneer piano manufacturers of Canada, and to him is due the honour of being the inventor of the full metallic frame, now so universally used by all the piano manufacturers, he having taken out the patent, now in Charles Lewis Thomas's possession, forty-five years ago. Mr. Thomas removed to Toronto in 1839, and carried on piano manufacturing there until his death in 1875.
Charles Lewis Thomas was educated in Toronto, receiving an ordinary English education. He is a man of much public spirit, and has been an alderman for the City of Hamilton for the last two years. He is a member of the Odd Fellow, Manchester Unity, joining the same in Toronto in 1848, and filling all the offices in succession, up to the past grand. He has also been a member of the Masonic Fraternity for the past twenty-two years, and belongs to the Hamilton Lodge of Perfection, and Hamilton sovereign Chapter of Rose Croix. In politics he is a conservative.
With respect to his religious convictions, his parents, we may state, belonged to the Church of England, but the subject of this memoir joined the Methodist church thirty years ago, and for the last fifteen years held the position of treasurer and recording steward for Zion Tabernacle, Hamilton
He, in 1855, married Mary Ann, daughter of J. B. Bagwall of Mimico, near Toronto, and in the same year removed to Hamilton and commenced piano manufacturing at the same stand that he occupies at the present time. The piano business was an occupation according to Mr. Thomas' heart, for since his infancy he had been connected with it. [For a sketch of his brother, see page 261 of this volume] Referring in a lengthy article to the Thomas establishment at Hamilton, a local paper said "The Thomas piano, from the outset was destined as a piano to be not merely of fine glossy exterior or made for cheap use, but an instrument in which the purchaser might invest and feel satisfied that with fair treatment, it would last a family for a lifetime, and always be prized as a valuable possession. From the first day of public exhibitions these instruments have been subjected to the test of impartial comparisons with pianos of all other makers, and it seems to have been the policy of the house to invite criticism and impartial comment from all sources, so that their in instruments might be improved and perfected by this method, and the retention of as nearly as possible the same staff of workmen."
Page 786-787, A Cyclopedia of Canadian Biography, Rose Publishing Company, 1886, George Maclean Rose