The “Hispanic-American” Society, Inurrieta and Company, was officially established as a mercantile association on January 30th, 1917. The partnership consisted of two members: Juan Inurrieta, an industrialist, and Eugenio Insausti, a dealer (1). The primary purpose of this association was the “sales operation of pianos, player pianos, harmoniums, organs, rolls, typewriters, and related accessories, both through installment and cash transactions.”

On September 1st, 1917, the trademark No. 31105, which included the name “Hispanic American Society,” was officially requested, and a month later, they were granted the trade name No. 3712, “the Hispanic American.” The initial capital was equally invested by both partners, although Eugenio Insausti assumed responsibilities in the administrative and accounting aspects, as well as other procedural matters. In contrast, Juan Inurrieta handled matters related to goods and technology. Both partners shared the responsibility of administrative management.

The written authorization for Juan Inurrieta to continue their business activities was outlined in the statutes (2), with certain limitations that excluded “trading in pianos, harmoniums, organs, and rolls of W.W. Kimball and Company in Chicago, USA,” among other restrictions. Notably, the Hispanic-American Society held the rights to this prestigious American brand in Spain.

The company, headquartered at 27 Libertad Avenue, specialized in selling “Ideal” piano rolls designed for automatic pianos with 65 and 88 notes. By 1918, they had established agencies in both Madrid and Barcelona, situated in Fuencarral and José A. Clave Street, respectively. In their advertisements featured in newspapers and magazines of that era, they promoted their products, highlighting the availability of installment sales spread over 20 months, as well as a 15% cash discount.

Their extensive repertoire included over a thousand rolls encompassing a wide range of music, including Basque compositions alongside universal classics and Spanish music. Notable Basque pieces included Ezpata dantzaAurresku, and San Ignacio March by Marcos de Alcorta. Additionally, fragments from the opera Marina by Emilio Arrieta, Anhelos by Bartolomé de Ercilla, Mamita by Juan Guelbenzu, Guernikako Arbola by José Mª Iparraguirre, La Paloma by Sebastián Iradier, various mazurkas, fantasias, and jotas by Joaquín Larregla, Basconia by Antonio Peña y Goñi, Capricho vascongado, and other works by Pablo Sarasate were available. They also offered the famous zortziko La del pañuelo rojo by Ignacio Tabuyo, the Pantomima from Las Golondrinas by José Mª Usandizaga, and the zortziko Aritzari by Dámaso Zabalza.

In 1920, both partners convened to amend the company’s statutes, extending the partnership’s term until December 31st, 1925, with a provision that explicitly stated it could not be dissolved or canceled for any reason. This modification was necessitated by an agreement they had entered into with Don Filomeno Acía y Urra, who had made a significant financial investment in the company in the form of a limited partnership.

In 1922, another significant change occurred. The two managing partners granted broad general power of attorney to Don Baltasar Reparaz Arizpe, who assumed responsibility for overseeing all financial transactions. During this year, they registered an additional version of the trademark “Sociedad Hispano Americana” under No. 6005. This version listed the company’s agencies throughout Spain, including locations in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Valencia, Sevilla, Cordoba, Cadiz, Malaga, Leon, Palencia, Oviedo, Gijon, Almeria, Granada, Murcia, La Coruña, Vigo, and Santander. In 1923, the company registered yet another trademark, No. 51619, featuring a rectangular label with an image of a young boy dressed as a callboy holding billboards displaying various products offered by the Hispano-American Society (3).

In the same year, on June 16th, 1923, Eugenio Insausti passed away. The following month, Juan Inurrieta and his widow, Ramona Arriola, signed an agreement to dissolve the partnership. As of July 3rd, 1923, the society ceased its activities. The reasons for liquidation included the complete loss of capital, as confirmed by the last balance sheet prepared on June 10th. Ramona Arriola (4) expressed her desire to no longer be a part of the partnership. Both parties agreed that Juan Inurrieta would be responsible for the company’s liquidation, assuming its assets and liabilities. He would also be accountable for any outstanding obligations, even if they exceeded the assets, thereby absolving the heirs and rightful claimants of Mr. Insausti from any responsibility. This included settling the investment made by Mr. Filomeno Acía, along with any profits earned from the company.

The deed of dissolution was officially registered on September 27th, 1923. Interestingly, there was no mention of an agreement signed on January 17th, 1923, with the Columbia Graphophone Company Ltd. in London. Furthermore, the company continued using the name of the dissolved business for some time. In 1924, Juan Inurrieta, acting as the manager of the Hispanic-American Society, applied for a Bristol trademark (No. 54022) to distinguish firearms. He also, under the banner of the Columbia Graphophone Company SA, registered a “Regal” trademark (No. 54921) for talking machines, records, needles, and accessories.

On February 10th, 1925, on behalf of the company Columbia GC, Eduardo Vega de Seoane submitted a document to the City Council of San Sebastian. This document addressed the ownership of two-thirds of a piece of land measuring 4,050 square meters and 89 square decimeters, located in the Balda area of the Antiguo district. This area was part of an expansion project, with the remaining third of the land belonging to Andrés Peña Elósegui, to whom Salustiano Loinaz had sold his portion on July 22nd, 1921. The land in question was encumbered by a mortgage with the “Banco Español de Río de la Plata” and “Banco Urquijo” as collateral for debts owed to these banks. This land was affected by the expansion project of the Antiguo district in San Sebastián (5). It would be partly occupied by the Eustasio Amilibia Avenue project and partly by the Circular Square project, along with the layout of other streets.

There was only a small piece of land that would remain outside the scope of the project, which Eduardo Vega de Seoane requested to be expropriated as well, as it would serve no other purpose.

(1) Eugenio Insausti, in partnership with Leclercq, was one of the owners of the biscuit company “La Cantábrica.”
(2) In January 1919, Inurrieta and Co., located at 27 Liberty Avenue, was advertised as a sales agent for the “Chevrolet” automobile.
(3) A variation of this brand was attempted to be registered in 1924 under number 53307 by that company headquartered in Madrid, but it was denied in 1927.
(4) Ramona Arriola, the widow of Inchausti, was a sponsor and administrator of the Passaman Foundation. She left after the coup in 1936 and never returned. In: Zapirain, David; Irixoa, Iago. Pasaia: desarrollo urbano. Pasaia: Udala, 2011. p. 88-89.
(5) Below this area, which would later become property of the City Council, there was a well and a pipeline that irregularly supplied both the ice factory and the record company. This led to a significant conflict that was reported in the newspaper El Día in 1935 with the title “El Expediente Inurrieta.”