James Lick was born in Stumpstown (now Fredericksburg) Pennsylvania on August 25, 1796. The son of a carpenter, Lick began learning the craft at an early age. When he was twenty one, after a failed romance with Barbara Snavely, Lick left Stumpstown for Baltimore, Maryland, where he learned the art of piano making. He quickly mastered the skill, and moved to New York and set up his own shop. In 1821 Lick moved to Argentina, after learning that his pianos were being exported to South America.
Read more about James Lick and the Lick Observatory, free from the University of California.