Music boxes made by Leipziger Musikwerke (later Paul Ehrlich & Co.) of Leipzig, Germany, circa 1890s-early 1900s.
Cincinnati, OH, 1903-1928; Covington, KY, 1928-present. Made coin slides, accumulators, chutes, wallboxes, tracker bars, music roll mechanisms, and other parts for many American manufacturers of coin pianos and orchestrions, including “kits” that were used by many small piano companies to build coin pianos.
Brooklyn, NY. Imported barrel pianos and organs from Europe, circa 1862-early 1890s. Manufactured portable hand-cranked models, circa 1890s-1939. Absorbed into the B.A.B. Organ Co. in 1939.
Disc music boxes made by Mermod Frères, St. Croix, Switzerland, circa 1890s-early 1900s.
Chicago, IL. 1895-1950s. Made arcade machines, slot machines, and from about 1906-1930, music machines including the Violano-Virtuoso. Later made jukeboxes, ice cream machines, and other products.
Switzerland, Geneva, 1801-1855. Isaac Henri Metert was possibly in business as early as 1836 making musical boxes and produced boxes during the period 1844 to 1852 with David Langdorff as Metert and Langdorff. The partnership won an award at the 1851 Great Exhibition held in London, England. Considered a high quality maker. Year of manufacture usually scratched into left cylinder cap along with the serial number (e.g. 2/48 – February, 1848).
Ste-Croix, Switzerland, 1816-early 1900s. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1816-c. 1890s; Stella, Mira (Empress) disc boxes, 1890s-early 1900s. Widely distributed in America as well as Europe.
Boston, MA. Made one of America’s premium piano brands, established in 1854. Acquired by the American Piano Co. in 1922. The finest brand in which the Ampico reproducing mechanism was installed on a regular production basis. Its acquisition by the American Piano Co. enabled that firm to compete effectively with the top-of-the-line Steinway Duo-Art marketed by the Aeolian Co.
Chicago, IL. Piano manufacturing company set up within the factory of the J.P. Seeburg Piano Co. in 1919 and merged with that company in 1920. Previously, Seeburg had bought pianos from other manufacturers. Named for N. Marshall Seeburg, J.P. Seeburg’s son.
Albany, NY. Made pianos, established in 1836. Acquired by the Foster-Armstrong Co. in 1899. Later, a popular Ampico reproducing piano brand.
Chicago, IL. Made Cremona coin pianos and orchestrions 1905-late ‘teens. The officers officially dissolved the company when they formed the Western Electric Piano Co. (as a secret subsidiary of the J.P. Seeburg Piano Co.) in 1924. However, it is doubtful if any Cremona pianos were actually manufactured after the late ‘teens.
Paris, France. Prominent European maker of fairground organs, circa 1900-1919.
Coney Island, NY. Founded 1886. Repaired and manufactured carousels and other amusement rides. Sold Frati, Bruder, and Wurlitzer (deKleist) band organs. William Mangels operated the American Museum of Public Recreation, 1927-1955, America’s oldest documented museum that included barrel pianos and organs, electric pianos, orchestrions, and band organs. Many of these instruments later went to Horn’s Cars of Yesterday, Sarasota, FL, and Lewis Graham, Scarsdale, NY.
Prague. Maker of cylinder musical movements in typical Austrian format mostly installed in clock bases, 1854 (and possibly later) until 1909?
Chicago, IL, 1864-1980s. Music retailer which claimed to be the “World’s Largest Music House.” Sold Regina music boxes, Otto disc-operated Pianette mechanical pianos, Majestic 44-note coin pianos, all types of pianos, organs and other instruments, rolls, sheet music, and accessories. Its trade names included Empress, Washburn, and others.
Brooklyn, NY; then Riverside, RI; then Long Beach, CA. Made carousels 1876-1919. Imported fairground organs for his carousels, including many by A. Ruth & Sohn.
Disc music boxes and mechanical pianos made by the Original Musikwerke Paul Lochmann, Leipzig, Germany.
Binghamton, NY. Made coin pianos and orchestrions, 1916-late 1920s. Also known as the Link Piano & Organ Co.
Paris, France, 1840-1930s. One of Europe’s most important builders of fairground organs (called “Orchestrophones”), and later, dance organs (called “Jazzbandophones”).
Cardboard book-operated music boxes made by Leipziger Musikwerke Libellion, Schützold & Werner, Leipzig; later by F.A. Richter, Rudolstadt, Germany, 1890s-early 1900s.
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine-quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1812-1885. Various family members and associates produced cylinder boxes under their own names in several locations in Switzerland during this period.
San Francisco, CA. Distributed coin pianos and orchestrions including Wurlitzer (1910s) and Seeburg (1920s).
Leipzig, Germany. Made electric pianos and orchestrions, 1902-c. 1930.
Geneva, Switzerland, 1804-1873. Musical box maker who began production in 1838, was a partner with Isaac-Henry Metert from 1844 to 1852, and after the partnership ended carried on the business until his death when his son took over under the name Langdorff et Cie. The firm was eventually consolidated with Rivenc and Billon in 1902. From 1840 to 1870 Langdorff boxes had the year of manufacture and gamme number scored on the bass cylinder cap.
St. Suzanne, France. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, 1833-1914. One of the few large producers of cylinder boxes outside of Switzerland.
Berlin, Germany. Made electric pianos and orchestrions, circa 1900-1920s.
Leipzig, Germany. Make of disc music boxes (with and without projections) marketed mostly in England and Germany from 1894 to around 1904. Four disc sizes ranging from 13 to 33-1/2 inches are known.
San Francisco, CA. Musical instrument dealer; sold music boxes, player pianos, electric pianos, and orchestrions, including Aeolian and Wurlitzer products during the golden age.
(Kohler Industries; Kohler & Campbell Industries) New York City, 1896-c. 1930. An industrial giant, which controlled Autopiano and other piano companies, the Auto Pneumatic Action Co. (founded circa 1900; incorporated 1909), the Standard Pneumatic Action Co. (c. 1910), and the Republic Player Roll Corporation and DeLuxe Reproducing Roll Corporation (1918). The Auto Pneumatic Action Co. supplied Ampico reproducing piano mechanisms to the American Piano Company, 1912-1917, and to M. Welte & Sons for “Red Welte” (12 7/8″ T-100) reproducing pianos made in the United States, circa 1910-1918. Auto Pneumatic also made mechanisms for the Auto Deluxe Welte-Mignon (using 11¼” 9 per inch rolls) sold in over 100 piano brands. In 1917 the Standard Pneumatic Action Co. employed 600 people and manufactured about 800 player actions per week. Production ceased about 1930. After World War II, Kohler Industries made hand-played pianos, eventually moving to Granite Falls, NC. Piano production ceased circa 1980s.
Baltimore, MD. Made fine quality pianos, established in 1837. Incorporated into the American Piano Co. in 1908. One of the fine pianos in which the Ampico reproducing mechanism was installed.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical movements, 1896-? He died 1952.
Chicago, IL, 1854-1959; Jasper, IN, 1959-1996. One of America’s largest manufacturers of pianos, including player pianos during the golden age. A major manufacturer of theatre pipe organs. Acquired by the Jasper Corporation 1959, which also acquired the Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik in Vienna, Austria, in 1966. Kimball International discontinued making pianos in 1996 but remains in business building a wide variety of furniture and cabinets.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical movements, 1873-1887.
Leipzig, Germany. Made disc music boxes 1895-1919. Predecessor firm 1895-1898 was called Kalliope Fabrik Mechanischer Musikwerke Espenhain, Wacker & Bock.
Kansas City, MO. Full-line music retailer. Distributed automatic instruments by Regina, Aeolian, American Photo Player, Operators Piano Co., J.P. Seeburg Piano Co., and others during its heyday.
New York City. Imported, distributed, and repaired cylinder and disc music boxes, circa 1898-1911. U.S. distributor of Mermod, Stella, Mira, and other brands. C.H. Jacot invented the Jacot Safety Check, a mechanism that prevented cylinder and comb damage by stopping the cylinder if a stripped gear would otherwise allow it to spin suddenly. Jacot also patented a coin mechanism for cylinder music boxes.
Disc music boxes made by B.H. Abrahams, St. Croix, Switzerland.
Disc music boxes made by the Symphonion Manufacturing Co. of New Jersey.
Vöhrenbach, Germany; branch in London. Made barrel organs and orchestrions 1874-c.1930. Early organ-only instruments played from pinned cylinders. After 1900, instruments used a novel “music leaf” system, with a key frame reading holes punched in heavy manila rolls. A few later instruments played paper rolls on an ordinary tracker bar.
Leipzig, Germany. The world’s largest manufacturer of automatic pianos and orchestrions, 1892-1930; made rolls for a few more years. Founded in 1892 when Ludwig Hupfeld took over J.M. Grob & Co. Eventually employed over 2,500 people in several factories, the largest including about one million square feet of floor space. Made Phonola push-up piano players and player pianos, Phonoliszt expression pianos, DEA and Triphonola reproducing pianos; Universal, Clavitist, Helios, Pan, Animatic, and Symphony Jazz orchestrions; Phonoliszt-Violina and Violina Orchestra violin players, among other instruments. Also made rolls for all of these instruments. Discontinued making automatic instruments circa 1930 and music rolls circa 1934. The company has continued to make hand-played pianos to the present.
Grammont, Belgium. Beginning in 1880, made fairground organs, and later, dance organs. The factory closed in 1924 when Louis died, ending production of new organs. Louis had two sons, Edmond and Charles. Edmond restored and tuned organs until his death in 1963. Charles assembled and remodeled organs that had been left unfinished when Louis died, ending this work in the late 1930s. Charles’ son Romain restored organs and arranged music on a part-time basis until his death in 1985. Romain’s son Marc in Lissewege, Belgium, owns a Hooghuys organ, which he is restoring at the time this is being written.
North Tonawanda, NY. Made carousels and other amusement rides and equipment. Major seller of fairground organs, including Frati and other European brands before the early ‘teens, and then North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works and Wurlitzer. Also, Armitage-Herschell, Spillman Engineering, and the Allan Herschell Company.
See Herschell-Spillman Company.
Vöhrenbach, Germany. Made barrel organs and orchestrions during the late 19th century.
Brand name used on coin pianos and manually-played pianos by Jenkins Music Co., a full-line music house in Kansas City, MO.
Leipzig-Eutritzsch, Germany. Art shop which began selling automatic instruments in 1882 and manufacturing them in 1883. Developed an autoharp, the reiterating mandolin mechanism for street pianos, and self-playing mechanisms for pianos and organs. Sales agent for Ariston organettes. Taken over by Ludwig Hupfeld in 1892, to become the world’s largest manufacturer of automatic pianos and orchestrions.
Vienna. Clockmaker, musical movements differ from the typical Austrian format, ca. 1820.
Paris, France, 1845-1912. One of Europe’s most important fairground organ builders. Patented the use of the brass frein for realistic-sounding wooden violin pipes; developed the use of the key frame and folding cardboard music, and the automatic register mechanism.
Paris, France. Took over the fairground organ business of Charles Marenghi & Cie. in 1919, continued building and selling organs into the 1920s.
Paris, France. Maker of fairground organs, 1865-early 1900s.
Noted music arranger, pipe voicer, and street organ builder born in 1884. Served apprenticeship with the Wilhelm Bruder Company in Waldkirch; worked for Gavioli (Paris), Mortier (Antwerp); opened his own factory (Breda, Holland, 1921); returned to Waldkirch (1946) where he and his son continued in business. Carl Sr. died in 1967; his son, in 1997.
Berlin, Germany. Formed by partnership of Anselmo Frati and Giovanni Bacigalupo, circa 1870. Made hand-cranked organs, barrel pianos, fairground organs, and later, electric pianos and orchestrions. Bought by J.D. Philipps & Söhne in 1923.
Paris, France. Made the Pianista, one of the first push-up piano players that worked on pneumatic principles, 1863-1870s. As large as an upright piano, the Pianista had fingers that played the keys of a piano. Music was programmed on a pinned cylinder, but the pins actuated small valves that controlled a pneumatic player action as in most roll-operated player pianos. The mechanism was powered by a hand crank. Also patented an early cardboard-operated key frame; Gavioli et Cie., (Paris) bought the patent and adapted its principles to the fairground organ.
Brand name of theatre photoplayers made by the American Photo Player Co., Berkeley, CA, and Van Nuys, CA, circa 1912-1925.
Rochester, NY. Made pianos, established circa 1894. George C. Foster and W.B. Armstrong incorporated the American Piano Co. in 1908.
Disc music boxes made by J.H. Zimmerman, Leipzig, Germany. Name used interchangeably with Adler.
New York City. Made high quality pianos, established in 1845. Acquired by the American Piano Co. in 1920. A popular Ampico reproducing piano brand.
See Claus & Co.
St. Johnsville, NY. See Peerless Piano Player Co.
Self-playing banjo made by two companies, the American Automatic Banjo Company and the New England Automatic Banjo Company, also listed in this Appendix.
Brand name for Mira disc music boxes sold by Lyon & Healy, Chicago, IL, made by Mermod Frères circa 1890s-1909.
Brand name for coin pianos and orchestrions sold by Lyon & Healy, Chicago, IL, made by Operators Piano Co., circa late 1910s-1920s.
Vienna. Maker of cylinder musical movements in typical Austrian format mostly installed in clock bases, 1849-1878. Worked in cooperation with Johann Sagan from 1854 until 1856 and maybe from 1851 on.
Ghent, Belgium. Made electric pianos and orchestrions, circa early 1900s-1939. DELETE: One of the last makers of these instruments in the world.
Amsterdam, Holland. Distributor of Hupfeld, Welte, and other orchestrions.
Brand name of reproducing piano mechanism made by the Aeolian Co., 1913-1932, installed in its piano brands and the Steinway. Also, brand name of reproducing pipe organs made by the Aeolian Co., 1915-1932.
Buffalo, NY. Made barrel organs and orchestrions, 1868-1898.
Neuchâtel, then Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1820s-1870s.
Reproducing pianos made by J.D. Philipps & Söhne, Frankfurt, Germany, circa 1908-1930.
North Tonawanda, NY, 1897-1909. New name in 1897 for the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory, established by Eugene deKleist in 1893. The name was changed after deKleist agreed to sell its products exclusively to the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., including a new line of coin pianos in addition to its established line of band organs. Purchased by Wurlitzer in 1909, the deKleist factory became the nucleus of Wurlitzer’s automatic musical instrument division in North Tonawanda.
Antwerp, Belgium. Company name originated by the four brothers Livien, Frans, Léon and Camille Decap, sons of Aloïs Decap who founded the firm in 1902. Maker of dance organ orchestrions (early years), piano orchestrions (limited production, early years), street and fairground organs (1920s-1930s), and a leading maker of dance organs (1930s-present). Beginning in the late 1950s, electronic components were used increasingly in place of pipes. In more recent years, traditional and electronic organs have been made. Today, Camille’s daughter Martha, her husband Louis Mostmans and son Roger continue operating the business under the name Decap Brothers of Antwerp.
Herentals, Belgium. One of the original Decap brothers of Antwerp who were sons of Aloïs Decap, the founder. Left the firm circa 1935 and founded his own company in Herentals. Today, his grandsons Tony and Frank continue to run this firm, building traditional and electronic organs.
French spelling of Gebroeders Decap, or Decap Brothers.
Paris, France, circa 1840s-1870s. Made pianos, mechanical pianos, and separate keyboard-playing mechanisms that used “planchettes,” or pinned wooden plates.
Chicago, IL, 1898-1978. Made fine quality xylophones, orchestra bells, chimes, tower chimes, Una-Fon bells, and many other percussion instruments. Its xylophones were particularly popular among American coin piano and orchestrion builders. For a description of the Una-Fon, see the glossary.
Reproducing pianos made by Ludwig Hupfeld, A.G., Leipzig, Germany, circa 1905-mid ‘teens.
Brussels, Belgium. Hupfeld distributor, orchestrion repairer circa early 20th century.
Disc music boxes made by F.G. Otto & Sons, Jersey City, NJ, 1896-early 1900s.
Coin pianos and orchestrions made by the Marquette Piano Company, Chicago, IL, 1905-late ‘teens.
New York City. Made Connorized player piano rolls; owned by the O’Connor family, who also owned part of the American Automusic Co., also listed in this Appendix.
F. Geneva, Switzerland. Made high-quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1874-1898.
Chicago, IL. Subsidiary of the Operators Piano Co. Made Columbia music rolls for coin pianos and orchestrions circa late ‘teens-1924. After 1924, known as the Capitol Music Roll Co.
Coin pianos and orchestrions made by the Operators Piano Company, Chicago IL, circa 1909-late 1920s.
Leipzig, Germany. Made Chordephon mechanical zithers, 1895-1917.
DeKalb, IL. Made pianos, pushup piano players, player pianos, Art-Apollo and Solo Art-Apollo expression pianos, circa 1900-1919. Its founder, Melville Clark, was one of America’s leading pioneers in the player piano industry, and is credited with developing the first 88-note player grand piano in 1903. Shortly before Melville Clark died in November 1918, Tom Pletcher purchased controlling interest in the Melville Clark Piano Co., including the QRS music roll business. He sold the piano company to the Rudolph Wurlitzer Co. in 1919, and moved the roll manufacturing business to Chicago. See also QRS Music Co.
DeKalb, IL. Made coin piano, orchestrion, pipe organ, and mortuary organ rolls, 1920-1941. Owned and operated by Ernest G. Clark, who acquired the coin-operated roll division of QRS after that company was split from the Melville Clark Piano Co. Ernest retained the right to use QRS roll arrangements for his coin-operated rolls. In the last years of business, Clark’s best customers were amusement companies who owned air calliopes, and manufacturers of non-musical roll-operated horse race gambling machines such as Pace’s Races.
See Claus & Company.
Boston, MA. One of America’s first and most important piano makers, established in 1823. Incorporated into the American Piano Co. in 1908. Under American’s ownership, one of the finest brands in which the Ampico reproducing mechanism was installed.
London, England. Maker and repairer of portable hand-cranked organs, fairground organs and music, 1864-present.
Geneva, Switzerland, 1873-c. early 1900s. Successors to Baker-Troll.
Chicago, IL. Subsidiary of the Operators Piano Co. Made Capitol music rolls for coin pianos, orchestrions, and mortuary organs, 1924-1934. Prior to 1924, known as the Columbia Music Roll Co.
New York City. Sales outlet for North Tonawanda Musical Instrument Works, circa 1920s.
“Cuff” music boxes made by F.G. Otto & Sons, 1875-c. 1908.
Name used by Tangley Company for its air calliopes, 1914-c. late 1920s; currently used by Miner Manufacturing Company.
Antwerp, Belgium. Made Arburo and Ideal fairground, street, and dance organs. Founded by Joseph Bursens circa 1890, and carried on by his son Arthur into the 1970s. The Arburo name was derived from the words Arthur, Bursens, and Roels, the latter a business partner.
Waldkirch, Germany. Ignaz Bruder I, 1780-1845, manufactured flute clocks and barrel organs. Of his 15 children, five sons and their descendants continued to build portable and then larger fairground organs under several different company names, including Gebrüder Bruder, the largest of the firms (1860s-1937); Ignaz Bruder Söhne (1860s-1918), and Wilhelm Bruder Söhne (1860s-1939).
Disc music boxes made by B.H. Abrahams, St. Croix, Switzerland.
Geneva, Switzerland. Made fine quality cylinder music boxes, circa 1860s-1916.
Paris, France. Made and leased several models of life-sized accordion-playing automata circa 1920-1935.
Unterkirnach, Germany. Several generations of Blessing family members made musical clocks, hand-cranked barrel organs, mechanical pianos, barrel- and roll-operated orchestrions, circa 1805-1920s. Repair work was continued until the 1950s.