The history of any skilled urban trade is ultimately tied to the growth and development of the city in which it is located. From its humble eighteenth-century beginnings, instrument making grew to be one of New York City's most sizable and important trades. By the 1840s, the city was the largest producer of instruments in the Western Hemisphere, and, in the decades that followed, designs and innovations pioneered by New York artisans influenced and inspired instrument makers throughout the world. Although many of the these instruments survive in American museums, there existed no comprehensive guide to their makers. Nancy Groce's biographical dictionary chronicles all of these master craftsmen in colorful detail, from the obscure work of Geoffry Stafford in 1691, to the zenith of the 1890s, and on to the Great Depression of the 1930s.