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A Brief History of HAINSWORTH.COM

By family historian R. L. Burdett

12 year old child prodigy Olivia Hainsworth plays an original 1904 upright that bares her family name

Prior to becoming the Internet powerhouse it is today, HAINSWORTH.COM had humble roots.

Atthe turn of the last century, John Henry Hainsworth, fresh off a boat from Manchester, began a small but profitable piano company. Using skills first taught to him in the old country, he and his three sons began creating pianos of astounding quality, taking the country by storm, and playing a nascent role in the coming Jazz age.

Many claim Al Jolson’s earliest recording were all accompanied by the strident keys of an original Hainsworth.

30sWhat happened next is a point of significant speculation in the business world. Although official business documents from the 30s are now a rare find, there are still some clues that tell us about the subsequent years. Norman Mailer’s well researched, but critically drubbed biography, “Hainsworth Its Weight In Gold”, recounts the company’s shift to the Internet. However, those looking for clues were given a gift in the fall of 2003. It occurred at a building demolition site at Queen St. and Carlaw Ave. The remains of an early ad from HAINSWORTH.COM showed how serious the venture had become. Using state of the art fibre and paint dating technology, historians place the date of the ad in or around 1934. They also point to the fact that the ad itself had the date 1934 in it. (it has since been removed due to high lead levels)

50sThe Fifties brought “The HAINSWORTH.COM Variety Hour”. Originally hosted by Steve Allen, its glory days hit in the late 50s when permanent host James “Jimmy Boy” Lerner brought his own brand of wit and personality to the broadcast. Eclectic guests included Groucho Marx, The North Korean Military Acrobatic Squad, and occasional cameo appearances by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose 1956 appearance became the stuff of pop culture legend when he uttered the now famous catch phrase, “Just nuke me, Jimmy Boy!” The show finished its successful run in 1959, when it was replaced on Saturday evenings by “Gunsmoke.”

1951 The HAINSWORTH.COM Television Hour

’57Recently declassified files reveal HAINSWORTH.COM was extensively involved in espionage for the allies during the Cold War. In 1957, president Edwin Hainsworth was approached by REDACTED to look into REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. Not long after, REDACTED REDACTED became involved. Clearly, the government of REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. Although not present at the REDACTED REDACTED they were very aware of the use of REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED.
He never recovered.

’61Andy Warhol was so enthralled with HAINSWORTH.COM that he insisted on doing a series of paintings that became the template for his now classic pop art style. In 1961, Campbell’s Soup president Michael Jenkins went to a party/showing at Warhol’s Chelsea loft, which featured a 20 foot, three canvas work, “ #12″ Jenkins was reportedly so taken by the piece, he immediately commissioned Warhol to work on a re-branding campaign for Campbell’s. Unfortunately he also got so drunk, he tripped over Warhol’s feet and landed face-first in the artist’s lap. “I said I’d do it, Mike, but I appreciate the extra effort to convince me.”

The panels that started it all

80sThe 1980s saw films with a HAINSWORTH.COM theme were becoming a genre unto themselves. In 1980 alone, “Ordinary Hainsworth”, and “The Hainsworth Syndrome” were released to critical acclaim and a raft of Oscar nominations. The high water mark however, was the eponymous blockbuster, “HAINSWORTH.COM”, released in November of 1984. It dominated the Christmas movie season, besting the other hit of the season, Beverly Hills Cop by raking in a then unheard of 12 million dollars in its opening weekend.

’85President Ronald Reagan called on HAINSWORTH.COM’s cold war espionage experienceto help undermine the communists in East Germany. East German Chancellor E. Honecker wrote in 1986:

Insidious and constant attacks of a non military nature by such questionable and easily duped entities such as, and this new company, Haliburton, will not go unanswered.

90s The last decade of the millennium was not good to HAINSWORTH.COM. Years of excess came to an abrupt end, and the company entered a period of steep decline and extensive soul searching. The reasons for the fall were numerous, but largely involved interim president Steve Hainsworth Jr. making unwise and heavy investments in an enterprise known as “phone ouija.” This proved costly.

At the height of the Dot Com Boom, the site became synonymous with The World-Wide Web

’99The height of the dot com boom however brought HAINSWORTH.COM to a new wave of popularity.

With high profile internet site sprouting from all corners of the world, people finally began to understand what this whole “interweb” thing was about.

When the bubble burst a year later, the company, having a long history of riding out tough times, hunkered down and waited.

HAINSWORTH.COM photographer and staff historian R. L. Burdett has been a family friend for more than 60 years.

His work secretly photographing J. Edgar Hoover in silk underwear rocked the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1966 and almost cost him his life.

’06They were not idle, however. In 2006, they launched a less than successful foray into the music industry. Most of their attention was focused on creating a pop star out of family socialite Michelle Hainsworth (seen left).

Immeasurable amounts of money were poured into her career. However her moderate vocal skills, combined with a history of rehab, and poor reviews for her debut album, “Two Lungs, One Me” led to a quick retreat from the business, and a name change to protect the family.

’12Today’s HAINSWORTH.COM is engaged in a “back to basics” business model, as this recently opened plant (seen here) in Hamilton illustrates.

Security is tight at this Hamilton, Ontario plant

No one at the company has said publicly what is being produced at the plant, however there is a building sense of anticipation for the upcoming Hainsworld Expo in San Francisco, where C.E.O. Michael Hainsworth will deliver his annual keynote address.

View the gallery of more than a decade of HAINSWORTH.COM websites. Really.

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