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Manufacturing Records

Names:
Management Service Company  Search this
Wecker, Karl  Search this
Collection Author:
Falcone Custom Grand Pianos  Search this
Collection Collector:
Musical Instruments, Division of (NMAH, SI)  Search this
Collection Donor:
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Collection Creator:
Sohmer & Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Drawings
Manufacturing Records
Sketches
Diagrams
Piano registers
Lectures
Design drawings
Date:
1872 -1967
Scope and Contents:
The Manufacturing Records date between ca. 1910 and 1967. Included in this series are piano templates, design drawings, and sketches for the construction of a variety of piano styles, as well as several diagrams, such as the patented Capo D'Astro Bar. The 1957 manuscript on the "Construction of the Sohmer Piano" was originally written by Harry J. Sohmer to assist Dr. Karl Wecker in the preparation of a series of lectures. It details the history, methodology, and philosophy behind the construction of the Sohmer piano. Consultant reports, prepared by management engineers of the Management Service Company, make recommendations to increase the effectiveness or efficiency of the construction process. For example, in the machine department, a report recommends "you should use a flat joint instead of a Linderman joint on core stock, in order to improve the quality of the joint and to save lumber."
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Piano templates  Search this
Piano design  Search this
Design sketches  Search this
Capo d ̓Astro bar  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings
Manufacturing Records
Sketches
Diagrams
Piano registers
Lectures
Design drawings
Collection Citation:
Sohmer & Co. Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0349, Series 4
See more items in:
Sohmer & Co. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0349-ref100

Manufacturing Records

Collection Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Collection Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0320, Subseries 2.10
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0320-ref66

Manufacturing Records

Collection Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Collection Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1944 - 1945
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0320, Subseries 4.3
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0320-ref275

Engineering/Manufacturing Records

Collection Creator:
Bucheimer, John  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1956 - 1977
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
John Bucheimer Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0889, Series 5
See more items in:
John Bucheimer Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0889-ref18

Manufacturing Records: Patents

Collection Creator:
Automatic Button Company.  Search this
American Pearl Button Company.  Search this
Claus Schmarje Button Company.  Search this
Barry Manufacturing Company.  Search this
Schmarje, Claus  Search this
Sessler, Mary Alice  Search this
U.S. Button Company.  Search this
Weber and Sons Button Company.  Search this
Perkins Freshwater Pearl Products, Inc.  Search this
McKee Button Company.  Search this
Schmarje, Clarence  Search this
Ronda Button Company.  Search this
Hawkeye Pearl Button Company.  Search this
Hahn, Bernard  Search this
J & K Button Company  Search this
Iowa Button Company.  Search this
Container:
Box 16, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1900 - 1909
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Iowa Button Industry Collection, ca. 1920s-1993, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Iowa Button Industry Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0504-ref106

Manufacturing Records, Iron Coal Coke

Collection Creator:
Howe Scale Co.  Search this
Container:
Box 27
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1913 - 1920
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Howe Scale Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Howe Scale Company Records.
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0004-ref125

Manufacturers Record, 1942 June

Collection Creator:
Claussen, Pete  Search this
Container:
Box 7, Folder 25
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.

Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Collection Rights:
Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use.
Collection Citation:
Pete Claussen Collection of American Flag Magazine Covers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Pete Claussen Collection of American Flag Magazine Covers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0860-ref336

M54 Manufacturer's Record 1 1908

Collection Creator::
United States National Museum. Superintendent of Construction for the United States National Museum Building  Search this
Container:
Box 13 of 27
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 81, United States National Museum. Superintendent of Construction for the United States National Museum Building, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru0081-refidd1e11699

Folder 34 "Inventing Postwar Jobs," National Association of Manufacturers recording, May 23, 1945

Collection Creator::
Science Service  Search this
Container:
Box 445 of 459
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7091, Science Service, Records
See more items in:
Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru7091-refidd1e97412

Daily log

Collection Creator:
Bucheimer, John  Search this
Container:
Box 8, Folder 6
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1956
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
John Bucheimer Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
John Bucheimer Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0889-ref117

Manufacturing and productions notes

Collection Creator:
Bucheimer, John  Search this
Container:
Box 8, Folder 4
Type:
Archival materials
Date:
1967 - 1971
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
John Bucheimer Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
John Bucheimer Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0889-ref122

Piano Action Drawings, ca. 1906 (2 items)

Collection Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Collection Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Container:
Box 11, Folder 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0320-ref121

Product Development and Licensing Records, c. 1974-1999

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Office of Product Development and Licensing  Search this
Subject:
American Pacific Enterprises  Search this
Smithsonian Institution 150th Anniversary Program  Search this
Smithsonian's America/Japan Project  Search this
Physical description:
39 cu. ft. (39 record storage boxes)
Type:
Manuscripts
Collection descriptions
Clippings
Brochures
Drawings
Color photographs
Video recordings
Color transparencies
Date:
1974
1974-1999
c 1974-1999
Topic:
Contracts  Search this
Marketing  Search this
Product management  Search this
Quilts  Search this
Local number:
SIA Acc. 00-112
Restrictions & Rights:
Restricted for 15 years. Any requests to access these records during the restriction period, including requests from the staff of Smithsonian Business Ventures, must first receive permission, in writing, from the Director of Product Development and Licensing, until Jan-01-2015; Transferring office; 8/16/1994 memorandum, Johnstone to Watson; Contact reference staff for details
See more items in:
Product and Contract Records 1971-2013 [Smithsonian Enterprises Product Development and Licensing]
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_228884

3M Megaphone Collection

Topic:
Megaphone
Publisher:
3M Company (St. Paul, Minn.)  Search this
Extent:
3 Cubic feet (7 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Newsletters
Place:
Minnesota
St. Paul (Minn.)
Date:
1941-1984
Summary:
Collection consists of the company's monthly employee newsletter, 3M Megaphone.
Scope and Contents:
A collection of the company's monthly employee newsletter, 3M Megaphone. The newsletter was published monthly by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company for and in the interests of employees. Title name changes include: Megaphone (1966 : St. Paul ed.) St. Paul Megaphone, and 3M Company Megaphone.
Arrangement:
1 series.
Biographical / Historical:
3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) Company was founded in 1902. Its early aim was to mine minerals for the abrasive industry. The company was relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1910, and expanded its products, developing pressure sensitive adhesive tapes in the 1920s, and later manufactured recording tape, reflective materials, offset printing plates, videotape, microfilm, and numerous other products.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center by 3M in 2014.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Factories -- Minnesota  Search this
Manufacturing  Search this
Abrasives industry  Search this
Adhesives industry -- United States  Search this
Genre/Form:
Newsletters
Citation:
3M Megaphone Collection, 1941-1984, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1322
See more items in:
3M Megaphone Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1322

Product Development and Licensing Records

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution, Office of Product Development and Licensing  Search this
Extent:
39 cu. ft. (39 record storage boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Manuscripts
Clippings
Brochures
Drawings
Color photographs
Video recordings
Color transparencies
Date:
circa 1974-1999
Descriptive Entry:
This accession consists of Smithsonian Institution Engagement Calendar correspondence, design concepts, solicited bids, and production information; product development and marketing information, licensing contracts, and royalty agreements with private manufacturers; records documenting the American Pacific Enterprises quilt controversy; product proposals for the Smithsonian 150th Anniversary observance; correspondence, contract product sheets, and meeting notes for the American Festival in Japan; Soundprints reviews, manuscripts, and images; and budgetary information.
Rights:
Restricted for 15 years, until Jan-01-2015; Transferring office; 8/16/1994 memorandum, Johnstone to Watson; Contact reference staff for details.
Topic:
Contracts  Search this
Marketing  Search this
Product management  Search this
Quilts  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Clippings
Brochures
Drawings
Color photographs
Video recordings
Color transparencies
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 00-112, Smithsonian Institution, Office of Product Development and Licensing, Product Development and Licensing Records
Identifier:
Accession 00-112
See more items in:
Product Development and Licensing Records
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-fa00-112

Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Records

Creator:
Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Search this
Orr, Craig  Search this
Extent:
18 Cubic feet (37 boxes)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Business records
Date:
1900-1985
bulk 1920-1950
Summary:
The Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc., Collection includes advertisements, company histories, equipment purchasing proposals, batch orders, finishing production orders, packaging orders and records documenting the creation and advertising of several products, including Furacin, Asogen, Paracin, Unguentine, Necta Sweet, and Chloraseptic Pepto Bismo, a popular liquid still used to relieve various digestive ailments. Founded in 1885, Norwich Eaton was acquired in 1982 by Proctor and Gamble.
Scope and Contents:
The Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc., Collection includes advertisements, company histories, equipment purchasing proposals, batch orders, finishing production orders, packaging orders and records documenting the creation and advertising of several products. The bulk of the material consists of company advertising records such as Unguentine and Pepto Bismol; but there are also several posters and advertisements devoted to other products such as Norforms and Zemacol. The advertisement records range in period from the mid 1920s to 1966, with the majority from the 1940s. Thus, it is possible to examine the marketing of these products over a 40 year period and view the changes in style, format, and content of the advertisements. There are several advertising campaign items (brochures and packets) referring to strategies or motifs for which examples exist within this collection. Some of the posters in the collection, such as the early ones with a surface textured to simulate paint, or several of the later silk screens, can be regarded as works of art. Some were signed by the artist. Batch orders, finishing orders, and package orders relate to quality control.

The Division of Medical Sciences still retains manufacturing records (1921 1950), photographs (1920 1970s), and twelve catalogues and price lists (1906 1932).
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into seven series.

Series 1, Company History, 1940; 1980

Series 2, Company Publications, 1939-1982

Series 3, Advertising Records, 1923-1982

Series 4, Trade Literature, 1900-1980, undated

Series 5, Batch Records, 1920s-1940s

Series 6, Finishing Production Orders, 1920s-1940s

Series 7, Package Orders, 1920s to 1940s
Biographical / Historical:
Norwich Eaton was founded in 1885 by a Baptist minister, the Reverend Lafayette F. Moore, who, with some rudimentary pill making machinery and a few proprietary formulas, set up shop as "L.F. Moore, Pill Manufacturer." Financial problems from the start forced Reverend Moore into a partnership with Oscar G. Bell, an employee of T.D. Miller's drugstore, to which Moore was heavily indebted. The company adopted a new name, "Moore and Bell."

In 1887, without warning or explanation, Moore left Norwich and eventually returned to the ministry. Bell quickly found two new associates and continued to manufacture medicines under the name of the Norwich Pharmacal Company. They became the world's largest producers of aloin from aloes, and resin of podophyllum from mandrake root, as well as a leader in the development of vitamin products. They brought to the market such well known products as Unguentine and Pepto Bismol. By the 1920's, Norwich listed approximately 4,000 elixirs, tinctures, syrups, pills, tablets, extracts, suppositories, dressings, and even surgical instruments in its sales catalog.

In 1982 the company was acquired by Proctor and Gamble and continues to be a research-based manufacturer and marketer of prescription drugs and special dietary foods.
Provenance:
In February, 1986 Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. donated pharmaceutical products, manufacturing records, and advertising materials to the Division Medical Sciences, now known as the Division of Science and Medicine. On April 7, 1989 publications and advertising material were transferred to Archives Center.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Pharmaceutical industry -- 1920-1990  Search this
Genre/Form:
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
Norwich Eaton Pharmaceutical, Inc. Collection, 1920-1985, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0329
See more items in:
Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0329
Additional Online Media:

Pratt, Read Corporation Records

Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Extent:
84 Cubic feet (104 boxes, 28 oversize folders)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing Records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs
Correspondence
Labels
Stock records
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
Date:
1839-1990
Summary:
Records documenting Pratt, Read and Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney and Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary and related companies. Other topics include the late 19th century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop-carrying gliders during World War II.
Scope and Contents:
Pratt, Read & Company, located in the Essex area of Connecticut, was once the world's largest producer of ivory products. Beginning with the manufacture of combs, collar buttons, and toothpicks, the company moved on to the production of piano and organ key veneers, and soon dominated the field. Eventually, it began to produce complete piano and organ keyboards and actions, becoming the major supplier to the American piano industry. The records in this collection document Pratt, Read & Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney & Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary, and related companies. Other topics of interest dealt with in this collection include the late nineteenth century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop carrying gliders during World War II.
Arrangement:
The Collection is divided into six series.

Series 1: Predecessor and Miscellaneous Companies, 1839-1870s

Series 2: Comstock, Cheney and Company, 1863-1936

Series 3: Pratt, Read and Company, 1863-1988

Series 4: Gould Aeronautical Division, 1941-1977

Series 5: Subsidiary and Related Companies, 1859-1980

Series 6: Information on Related Companies, 1977-1992
Historical:
PRATT, READ & COMPANY. Pratt, Read & Company is one of the oldest companies in the state of Connecticut. The firm traces its origins to 1798, when an Essex goldsmith and clockmaker named Phineas Pratt invented a circular saw to cut the teeth on ivory combs. In 1809, George Read and his brother in law, Phineas Pratt II, dammed the Deep River in the nearby town of Deep River and constructed a waterwheel to power ivory cutting machinery. Read left the partnership in 1816, and Phineas Pratt II joined with Alfred Worthington to manufacture ivory combs under the name of Pratt Worthington & Company. When Worthington died in 1830, two of Phineas Pratt II's sons, Ulysses and Alexis, took over the business, operating as U & A Pratt. The name was changed in 1844 to Pratt Spencer & Company, when a new partner was added, and changed again in 1850, to Pratt Brothers & Company. In 1856 the company erected a much larger factory in Deep River.

In the meantime, Julius Pratt, another of Phineas Pratt I's sons, had joined with Thomas Howard to set up an ivory comb factory in the town of Meriden. This firm was known as Howard, Pratt & Company. After Howard's death in 1822, it became Julius Pratt & Company. In 1854, the firm began to produce wooden piano keyboards, which then were fitted with keys of ivory. One half interest in this firm was owned by George Read.

When Read left his original partnership with Phineas Pratt II in 1816, he joined with Essex comb maker Ezra Williams to set up a new ivory working factory in Deep River. This new firm was known as Ezra Williams & Company. In 1829, Read became the senior partner and the company's name was changed to George Read & Company. This company later secured a very important contract to supply ivory keys for the first American manufacturer of pianos, Chickering & Sons of Boston.

In 1863, the firms of George Read & Company, Julius Pratt & Company, and Pratt Brothers & Company, were merged to form Pratt, Read & Company. The new company further enlarged its factory in Deep River in 1866. In 1871, the old Julius Pratt & Company factory in Meriden was closed and its operations moved to Deep River. Though this factory was destroyed by fire in 1881, a larger factory was quickly rebuilt and the company was back in business early in 1882.

With the election of George L. Cheney as president in 1892, Pratt, Read & Company began a period of continued expansion. In December of that year the company joined with another Connecticut piano component manufacturer, Comstock, Cheney & Company, to organize a midwestern manufacturing branch, under the name of the Piano & Organ Supply Company. This firm was to serve the territory west of Toledo, Ohio, operating in competition with its parent companies. In 1929 Pratt, Read and Comstock, Cheney combined to buy out the Piano & Organ Supply Company and it was dissolved.

In 1910 Pratt, Read & Company decided to begin the manufacture of piano actions. An independent manufacturer of piano actions, New York based Wasle & Company, and its subsidiary, the Wasle Unique Player Action Company, were acquired that same year. In 1914, Pratt, Read built a second factory solely for the production of player piano actions in Deep River. Wasle & Company was dissolved in 1919 and its production was continued under the Pratt, Read name. The company soon acquired two additional keyboard and action manufacturers: the Sylvester Tower Company of Cambridge, Mass., was purchased, dissolved, and all its equipment was moved to Deep River in 1924; and Strauch Bros. Company of New York was purchased in 1926. The Deep River player action plant operated until 1928, when business declined and production of player piano actions was discontinued in favor of manufacturing small motorboats. This line of business also soon declined and the project was abandoned by 1932.

COMSTOCK, CHENEY & COMPANY. Meanwhile, other manufacturers of ivory products had been at work in the Essex area. Chief among these was the firm of Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The dominant figure in this company was Samuel M. Comstock. He had learned the ivory cutting trade while working in his older brother's Saybrook area ivory cutting shop, known as Joseph A. Comstock & Company. By 1838, Samuel had left his brother's shop and joined with Edwin Griswold to set up Comstock & Griswold Company further west up the Falls River in Centerbrook. In 1848, the company moved its operations to a new factory in the Ivoryton area, where combs, toothpicks, and other ivory products were made. At the same time, the firm's name was changed to S. M. Comstock & Company, reflecting Samuel's sole ownership.

In 1860, Samuel Comstock allied his firm with George A. Cheney to form Comstock, Cheney & Company. Cheney had invested in Comstock's firm and was one of the principals in the important New York based ivory importing firm of Arnold, Cheney & Company. The new firm began production of thin slices of ivory for mounting on wooden piano keys. It also had its own agents buying ivory in Africa, most of which went toward production of piano keys. The company was formally incorporated in 1872 and in 1873 it opened an even larger factory in Ivoryton.

1936 MERGER. On December 31, l936, Pratt, Read & Company of Deep River was consolidated and merged with Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The resulting corporation was titled Pratt, Read & Company, Inc. By l938, all manufacturing operations had been consolidated in Ivoryton and the Deep River factory closed. During World War II, both the Deep River factory and the Ivoryton factory were used to produce CG 4A "Waco" troop carrying gliders for the U.S. Army Air Forces, along with LNE 1 training gliders and the GLOMB experimental plane for the U.S. Navy. Production of piano keyboards and actions was sharply curtailed for the duration of the war, and was slow to resume afterward. In l946 the Deep River factory was sold.

From 1948 to l957, the Ivoryton factory was enlarged and modernized on a large scale. During the Korean War, the company contracted to make helicopter blades for the Kaman Corporation of Bloomfield, Conn., and this partnership lasted for fourteen years. In l958, Pratt, Read transferred all of its piano action manufacturing operations to a newly built plant in Central, S.C. This move was made primarily in order to modernize production facilities at a lower cost than would have been possible through continued renovation of the Ivoryton plant.

With the election of Peter H. Comstock (a great grandson of one of the founders of Comstock, Cheney & Company) as President in 1954, the firm began an ambitious plan of diversification. The Cornwall & Patterson Company of Bridgeport, Conn., manufacturer of piano hardware, was purchased in l957. In 1959, Pratt, Read joined with six British Commonwealth firms to acquire British Piano Actions, Ltd., of Wales. Keyboards, Inc., a Chicago based producer of keyboards for electronic organs, was acquired in 1960. The Tech Art Plastics Company of Morristown, N.J., a custom molder of plastics materials especially for the piano industry, was acquired in 1961. The F. Kelly Company of Derby, Conn., which specialized in the production of small metal parts, was acquired in l964, and operated as a division of Cornwall & Patterson. In l966, Pratt, Read purchased the Allen Rogers Corporation of Laconia, N.H., which produced wooden furniture and piano components.

MERGER WITH VOCALINE COMPANY. In February l968, Pratt, Read & Company, Inc., was merged into the Vocaline Company of America, Inc., of Old Saybrook, Conn. Peter H. Comstock became chairman and chief executive officer of Vocaline Corporation, while remaining president of Pratt, Read. Vocaline was then organized into two major divisions the Vocaline Division and the Pratt, Read Division. The Pratt, Read Division concentrated on the production of piano keys and actions. It operated three subdivisions: the Ivoryton Division (keyboards, wooden and plastic moldings, and unfinished furniture); the Action Division (piano actions); and the Lund Division, formerly Keyboards, Inc., (electronic organ components). Both of the latter divisions operated out of the Central, S.C., plant. The Lund Division was known as the Electronics Division by 1970.

The Vocaline Division produced and sold electric motors, timing devices, and other small electromechanical mechanisms through its Electronics Section and its Bristol Motor and Timer Section. Another subsidiary of the Vocaline Division Altron, Inc., based in Westerly, R.I. produced wire coils. Through its Research and Development Center in Waldboro, Maine, Vocaline conducted antisubmarine warfare research for the U.S. Navy. By 1970, the Vocaline Division had been streamlined into four divisions: the Allen Rogers Corporation (small shaped wood products); Altron, Inc. (wire coils); the Bristol Division, later known as the Bristol Saybrook Company (electric motors and timers); and the Cornwall & Patterson Company (piano hardware and small tools). In addition, research for the Navy had been expanded and combined with other oceanographic research under the control of a subsidiary company, VAST, Inc., with operations in both Maine and the Caribbean.

PRATT READ CORPORATION. In October 1970, the Vocaline Corporation changed its name to the Pratt Read Corporation. This was done partly to increase identity with its oldest traditions and partly to reflect a shift away from the early emphasis on the Vocaline side of the corporation. The new corporation continued to refine its interests under the direction of Peter H. Comstock, who became company president in February 1970. The Tech Arts Plastic Company was sold off in May 1972, although it remained a source of supply for custom molded parts. In 1974 Pratt Read purchased the Atlas Plywood Company of Morrisville, Vt., in order to use its mill and kilns in the preparation of lumber for the Ivoryton factory, whose own facilities were overburdened. This company was operated as a subsidiary of Pratt Read.

By 1976, the Pratt Read Corporation was organized into five operating divisions. The Allen Rogers Corporation produced toys, golf tees, spools, knobs, and other turned and shaped wood products. Altron, Inc., produced bobbins and coils of copper wire. The Bristol Saybrook Company produced small electric motors and timers. The Cornwall & Patterson Company produced piano hardware parts, screwdriver blades, and other small hand tools. Pratt, Read & Company produced wooden components for pianos and other musical instruments. The company's ownership of VAST, Inc., was sold off in March 1976. Later that year, the company acquired Sight Line Corporation, a Freehold, N.J., manufacturer of golf clubs. This subsidiary, operated as the Sounder Sports Division, was sold in May 1979.

In October of 1979, James H. Tucker replaced Peter H. Comstock as president of Pratt Read; Comstock remained chairman of the board and chief executive officer. His nephew, Harwood B. Comstock, became the next president in October 1982. In June 1982, the Ivoryton factory was severely damaged by flooding after two dams burst upstream during a torrential rainstorm. Although the administrative offices were destroyed and the plant filled with several feet of mud and debris, the facility was back in production within two weeks. In August 1982, Pratt Read acquired the Sohmer Piano Company, a 111 year old Long Island based manufacturer of pianos, and in December 1982 Sohmer's production facilities were moved into the Ivoryton factory. By July 1983 Sohmer was producing about six upright pianos a day in its new location.

By the early 1980s, the American piano industry had entered a period of decline and even Peter Comstock's diversification efforts could not keep it out of trouble. A major blow came in 1984 with the loss of a large contract to manufacture keyboards for Mattel Electronics's Intellivision home video system. This was exacerbated by a slump in the piano industry in mid year. The increased import of Japanese and Korean pianos further undercut the American industry, resulting in slowdowns and profit losses for Pratt Read. Attempting to compete on the same basis with this foreign competition, Pratt Read joined with the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company in May 1985 to establish the Pratt Win Corporation. This joint venture resulted in the closing of Pratt Read's Central, S.C., piano action manufacturing plant and the transfer of its operations to a new Baldwin plant in Juarez, Mexico. Pratt Read sold its interest in Pratt Win to Baldwin in October 1986.

Piano sales continued to decline, however, and Pratt Read continued to suffer losses. In March 1986, the company was acquired by Crescent & Company, a corporation controlled by Harwood B. Comstock, president of Pratt, Read & Company. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Crescent & Company, but retained the name Pratt Read Corporation. In April 1986, the company sold its Sohmer piano subsidiary together with the Ivoryton factory where it was housed; Sohmer & Company continued to produce upright pianos under independent ownership in Ivoryton until December 1988. In December 1986 the Bristol Saybrook Company was sold off. By 1990, the company had sold off all remaining assets except for a sawmill in Vermont and the Cornwall & Patterson Company in Bridgeport, Conn., where the remaining corporate staff relocated.

Sources

Deep River Historical Society, Inc. A History of Pratt Read & Co. 1973.

1899 Souvenir of Essex, Connecticut. Rpt., The Ivoryton Public Library, 1979.

Johnson, Curtiss S. "From Ivory Combs to Carnegie Hall and Today:The History of the Pratt Read Corporation." [Unpublished history in the collection.]

Moore, Ernst D. "History of Pratt, Read & Company." [Unpublished history in the Ernst D. Moore Collection, Archives Center Collection #321.]

Newspaper Clippings in the collection.

Pratt Read Corporation. Annual Reports.

Vocaline Corporation. Annual Report, 1970.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Records relating to Pratt, Read and to Comstock, Cheney can be found in a number of other collections, both within the Archives Center and in other repositories. The Wood & Brooks Company Records (Archives Center coll. #457) contain significant information on Pratt, Read's operations and an important record of production statistics gathered by George Wood while he was factory superintendent and taken with him when he set up a rival firm in Buffalo. While the Ernst Moore Collection (Archives Center coll. #321) primarily documents the purchase of ivory in Africa (much of which was ultimately used by Pratt, Read), it also includes a history of Pratt, Read written by Moore while he was employed by them. The Sohmer & Company Records (Archives Center coll. #349) document the piano manufacturing firm that Pratt Read acquired in 1982.
Separated Materials:
The Pratt Read Corporation also donated a number of objects to the National Museum of American History at the same time as their 1988 donation of archival records. Included were combs and letter openers and other examples of products made from ivory; piano components, such as gauge boards, key actions, and keys; and such diverse items as tools used in the factory, World War II employee I.D. badges, and a uniform from the company sponsored basketball team.
Provenance:
Donated by Pratt, Read Corporation in 1989. In addition to the papers donated by the company, several individuals donated Pratt, Read materials in their possession.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Piano  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Ivory  Search this
Gliders (Aeronautics)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements -- 20th century
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing Records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Labels
Stock records
Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0320
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0320
Additional Online Media:

John Bucheimer Papers

Creator:
Bucheimer, John  Search this
Names:
Head Ski Company.  Search this
Head, Howard, 1914-1991  Search this
Extent:
4 Cubic feet (11 boxes, 4 oversize folders)
21 film reels
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Film reels
Drawings
Correspondence
Photographs
Business records
Audiovisual materials
Financial records
Blueprints
Date:
1954 - 1977
Summary:
Papers relate to John Bucheimer's work as manager of new product manufacturing in the Engineering Department at Head Ski Company.
Scope and Contents:
These records were assembled and saved by John Bucheimer in conjunction with his work at Head Ski Company. The bulk of the records relates to engineering matters and detail how the skis were manufactured. The records also provide insight into the daily operations and activities of the Head Ski Company factory.

Series 1, Operational Records, 1967-1973, include an organizational chart, company and management profile, annual reports, inter office correspondence, memoranda, management notes, the Management News Bulletin, and plant information. The organizational chart of 1969 provides the job title and name of the employee for specific positions within Head Ski Company, Head Ski and Sportswear, American Athletic Equipment, Wayne Plastics, Wing Archery, and Head International AG.

This series contains the Management News Bulletin, 1967-1970. An internal communication from the president, the news bulletin provided a forum for announcements, resignations, work plans, reorganizations, organizational charts, employee changes, and general work flow issues. While small in size, the content is rich for getting a sense of the management style at Head Ski Company.

The management notes, 1968-1971, are handwritten by Bucheimer and contain information on training, responsibilities, manufacturing expenses, production schedules, regional sales meetings, and job postings. There are a few management pamphlets published by the Economic Press, Inc. These pamphlets provided "tips" to managers. Also, the management notes contain two union fliers addressing the issue of union dues. Both fliers urge employees to "keep your take home pay free from Union dues. Vote no union." Other materials include inventories of office surplus and plant information. There are instructions of how to conduct a tour of the plant and ADT protective service documentation. Bucheimer was the designated ADT card holder for the company.

Series 2, Employee Records, 1957-1973, consist of employee handbooks and insurance materials, a job description for manager of manufacturing projects, and vacation schedules for several employees. Some salary information is here.

Series 3, Marketing/Sales Records, 1969-1972, includes one catalog from 1972, three news releases, sales information, and ski show and shipment information. The ski show materials document specific shows—Canada, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York—and the ski models displayed and, in some instances, orders placed. The special shipments, 1969-1971, include invoices, correspondence, notes, and material move tickets for companies such as Cell Pack, Ltd., Standard Metalwerke, Dura Fiber Corp., and United Shoe Machinery Corp.

Series 4, Financial/Accounting Records, 1967-1971, contains reports, inventories, expenses, and some payroll information. The majority of these records date from September 1969 to October of 1969. The expense statements reveal how much was budgeted and spent for materials, direct labor, payroll taxes, Christmas bonuses, travel, postage, maintenance, and ski parts, to name a few categories. There is some payroll information with the payroll control sheets.

Series 5, Engineering/Manufacturing Records, 1956-1977, comprise the largest and richest series within the collection. The records are subdivided into seven subseries: inventories, instructions, repair information, reports, drawings and specifications, testing information, and miscellaneous.

The inventories provide valuable information on the types of materials used, the quantities, and in some instances the cost. The raw material inventory of 1967 details material types (e.g. glue, plywood, aluminum, poles, saw blades), account numbers, date, quantity, price and actual cost. Like the raw material inventory, the perpetual inventory of 1966 is divided according to material type (e.g. aluminum, plastic, cloth tape, wood, rubber, steel) unit measure (typically in pounds), conversion factor, dates, and a balance amount.

The instructions include detailed information on "how to" for a variety of operations such as aluminum sandblasting bottom ski skin assembly, degreasing nosepieces, and sanding, gluing, and cutting "L" steel edges. The instructions consist of a workplace layout diagram, tools needed, and step by-step instruction elements. Of note is the material flow processes for the company. There are flow charts for each operational sequence performed. There are photographs of equipment with the flow charts, but they are not keyed to specific operational tasks.

The repair information contains procedures and lists of parts for skis. The repair procedures describe the repair needed and what model ski is affected. A detailed description of the repair is documented along with the materials required, tools, and how effective the repair was. The repairs documented here include finishing, grinding, bottom waxing, replacing edges, inlays, and remolding. The company had a program titled "rework" that handled returned skis. Many of the skis documented appear to have had cavity problems and were sent back to be remolded. There is some ski rejection analysis documentation citing why skis are being sent to the rework program. Additional information on cavity problems and production is also here. The parts list, 1969-1970, details various parts used on ski models JR-90, JR-60, 720-TA, 320-W, 240-B, K-short ski, deep powder-DP, Giant Slalom, slalom, 360-AR, 320-E and the downhill models. The part number and name, quantity, and any remarks are provided.

The reports, logs, and notes subseries contain manufacturing and production notes, and a variety of reports documenting engineering department activities. The inter-shift reports, 1963-1967, were maintained in spiral bound shorthand notebooks. They detail daily activities, operational suggestions, reminders to staff, materials available, and what work needs to be completed. Other reports include accidents, 1958-1961, and quality control reports, 1970-1971, which were created daily to provide detailed information on all aspects of the skis at final inspection time. The number of skis inspected with percentage information is summarized. The non-conforming material recovery reports, 1970, give the reasons why skis were rejected and indicate if skis were returned to vendors or used "as is."

The drawings and specifications, 1964-1970, are comprised of oversize drawings ranging from 8" x 10" to 34" x 43 _". The drawings are copies and include information on the short, slalom, giant slalom, downhill, and deep powder skis. The finished ski specifications, 1964-1967, document material types, assembly and subassembly procedures, ski data, ski poles, packaging material, and miscellaneous material. For each specification there is a corresponding instruction/narrative and, in some instances, a drawing.

The testing documentation is material specific (rubber, steel, plastic, adhesives) or ski model specific. It provides some insight into what materials the company worked with and under what conditions, such as, pulling, heating, or actual pilot ski runs. The suppliers, 1971-1973, include forms, receipts, bills, invoices, correspondence, receiving tickets, and descriptive inventories from companies that Head Ski Co. purchased supplies from.

Series 6, The General Files, 1954-1977, cover a variety of miscellaneous topics, such as the National Ski Patrol and postage, and are arranged alphabetically.

Series 7, Moving Image, no date, consists of twenty-one reels of 16 mm film which are unprocessed.

Series 8, Personal Materials, circa 1960s, contain greeting cards and notes and a photograph of Bucheimer with Howard Head.
Arrangement:
Collection organized into eight series.

Series 1: Operational Records, 1967-1973

Series 2: Employee Records, 1957-1973

Series 3: Marketing/Sales Records, 1969-1972

Series 4: Financial/Accounting Records, 1967-1971

Series 5: Engineering/Manufacturing Records, 1956-1977

Subseries 1, Inventories, 1966-1971

Subseries 2, Instructions, 1967-1970

Subseries 3, Repair Information, 1969-1971

Subseries 4, Reports, logs, and notes, 1956-1971

Subseries 5, Drawings and Specifications, 1964-1970

Subseries 6, Testing Information, 1963-1970

Subseries 7, Miscellaneous, 1967-1973

Series 6: General Files, 1954-1977

Series 7: Moving Image, no date

Series 8: Personal Materials, circa 1960s
Biographical / Historical:
John Bucheimer was born on December 7, 1919. During the 1940s, he worked with Howard Head at Glenn L. Martin Company, an aircraft company founded by aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin (1886-1955) in Middle River, Maryland. At Martin, Bucheimer supervised work on planes and oversaw structural testing. Primarily self taught, he learned electronics and drafting skills on the job. Head left the Glenn L. Martin Company to start his own company, Head Ski Company in 1948, and Bucheimer joined him.

Head, a former aircraft engineer, developed, designed, manufactured, and marketed the first metal laminate skis in 1950 called the "Head Standard. These skis revolutionized the industry. They were made of two layers of aluminum bonded around a core of plywood at very high pressure; the outer layer was made of plastic. By 1952, Head introduced skis with edges made of tempered steel. His skis were lighter and faster than wood and earned the nickname "cheaters" by the industry. In 1969, Head introduced a fiberglass/metal ski, but this ski combined with a diversified product line of javelin and aluminum tennis rackets could not strengthen his company nor stop a takeover by AMF in 1970.

At Head Ski Company, Bucheimer held the position of manager of new products manufacturing. He trained employees on every aspect of work flow.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Howard Head Papers, 1926-1991, AC0589

Materials in the National Museum of American History

The Division of Culture and the Arts, formerly the Division of Music, Sports, and Entertainment, holds artifacts related to the Howard Head Papers. These artifacts include downhill skis, ski poles, ski boots, ski bindings, and cross sections of downhill skis.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by John Bucheimer on April 26, 2005.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Sporting goods industry  Search this
Skis and skiing  Search this
Genre/Form:
Drawings -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 1950-2000
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000
Business records -- 1950-2000
Audiovisual materials
Financial records -- 20th century
Blueprints -- 1950-2000
Citation:
John Bucheimer Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0889
See more items in:
John Bucheimer Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0889
Additional Online Media:

[Trade catalogs on steel structures : stadiums, taintor gates, railway steelwork, bridges, buildings ... ]

Author:
Virginia Bridge Company  Search this
Virginia Bridge and Iron Company (Roanoke, Va.)  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries American History Trade Literature Collection DSI  Search this
Physical description:
<22> v. : ill
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Date:
1926
[1926?]-
Topic:
Building, Iron and steel  Search this
Steelwork  Search this
Bridges, Iron and steel  Search this
Call number:
050992
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_627047

Wurlitzer Company Records

Creator:
Wurlitzer (Rudolph) Company  Search this
Names:
All-American Mohawk Company  Search this
Apollo Piano Company  Search this
Beach-Carlisle Violin Company  Search this
Caldwell Piano Company  Search this
Central Discount Company  Search this
Dayton Photo Products Company  Search this
DeKalb Piano Company  Search this
Dekleist Musical Instruments Company  Search this
Deutsch Wurlitzer  Search this
Eagle Radio Company  Search this
Everett Piano Company  Search this
Fox Theatres Corporation  Search this
Lyric Piano Company  Search this
Milner Music Company  Search this
Morsatti, Inc.  Search this
North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Company  Search this
Robert L. Loud Music Company  Search this
Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company  Search this
Southern Ohio Radio Corporation  Search this
Western Industries Corporation  Search this
Wunderlich Piano Company  Search this
Wurlbild Corporation  Search this
Wurlitzer Acceptance Corporation  Search this
Wurlitzer Company  Search this
Wurlitzer Company of California  Search this
Wurlitzer Grand Piano Company  Search this
Youngstown Music Company  Search this
Rolfing, R.C.  Search this
Wurlitzer, Farny  Search this
Wurlitzer, Rembert  Search this
Wurlitzer, Rudolph  Search this
Extent:
56 Cubic feet
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Minute books
Account books
Financial records
Stock records
Reports
Advertisements
Sales records
Audits
Cashbooks
Ledgers (account books)
Annual reports
Photographs
Journals (accounts)
Price lists
Trade catalogs
Publications
Employee records
Marketing records
Commercial catalogs
Place:
DeKalb (Ill.)
North Tonawanda (N.Y.)
Corinth (Miss.)
Cincinnati (Ohio)
Date:
1860-1984
Summary:
The collection documents the history and development of the Wurlitzer Company and consists of company publications, business records, employee files, manufacturing records, sales and marketing records, product information, publicity, advertising, photographs, audiovisual materials, and organ installation drawings.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the history and the development of the Wurlitzer Company. Materials include company publications, business records, employee files, manufacturing records, sales and marketing records, product information, publicity, advertising, photographs, audiovisual materials, and organ installation drawings. The material in the collection spans from 1856-1986, although information prior to 1899 is sparse.
Arrangement:
The Collection is arranged into fourteen series.

Series 1: Wurlitzer Company Histories, Company Events, and General Business Materials, circa 1880-1987; undated

Series 2: Publications, 1910-1989; undated

Series 3: Advertising and Promotional Materials, 1911-1978

Series 4: Product Information, 1860-1984; undated

Series 5: Photographs of Wurlitzer Manufacturing Plants, Employees, Stores, and Dealerships, 1869-1970; undated Series 6: Photographs of Wurlitzer Products and Product Sales Promotions, 1900-1978; undated

Series 7, Photographs Used in Wurlitzer Advertising and Public Relations, 1904-1970; undated

Series 8: Wurlitzer Employee Records and Related Materials, 1909-1961; undated

Series 9: Production and Shipping Records, 1905-1987

Series 10: Shipping and Sales Records for Wurlitzer Dealerships, Wurlitzer Retail Stores, and Rembert Wurlitzer, Incorporated, 1917-1952

Series 11, Records of Stock Certificates, Meeting Minutes, and Related Financial and Legal Documents, 1907-1972

Series 12, Rudolph Wurlitzer Company Financial Records, 1893-1986

Series 13, Maps and Charts, 1931-1976

Series 14, Organ Installation Drawings, 1920-1931; undated
Historical Note:
The Wurlitzer Company began in 1856 when Rudolph Wurlitzer, a Cincinnati bank clerk, sold seven hundred dollars worth of musical instruments he had bought from family and friends in Germany. The busi¬ness was incorporated in Ohio in 1890 under the name the Ru¬dolph Wurlitzer Company." For the first fifty years, Wurlitzer was primarily a retail instrument business operating out of its Cincinnati Store headquarters. Although fire destroyed the com¬pany's headquarters in 1904, a new building was completed in time to celebrate Wurlitzer's fiftieth anniversary in 1906.

In 1908, the Wurlitzer Company bought the DeKleist Musical In¬strument Manufacturing Company in North Tonawanda, New York. The Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company continued produc¬tion of automatic musical instruments including player pianos, military bands and pianorchestras. In 1910, the Wurlitzer Company bought the Hope-Jones Organ Company and began to manufacture unit-or¬chestra pipe organs at their North Tonawanda plant. These were pipe organs equipped with bells, gongs, horns and sirens. They became known as Mighty Wurlitzers and provided the musical back¬ground in silent movie houses all over the world and were also built for churches and private homes. In 1919, Wurlitzer bought the Melville-Clark Piano Company of DeKalb, Illinois. Wurlitzer pianos were then manufactured at the DeKalb facilities under a variety of names: the Apollo Piano Company, the DeKalb Piano Company and the Wurlitzer Grand Piano Company. Each name des¬ignated a different quality, price range and style.

With the decline of sales during the 1920s and 1930s, pro¬duction of automatic musical instruments ceased until the manu¬facture of the first jukebox in 1934. In 1930, the Julius Bauer Piano Company was purchased and continued to build pianos in that name until shortly before World War II. For a brief time, radios and refrigerators were made by the Wurlitzer controlled Air-Amer¬ican Mohawk Corporation. It was not a successful venture and ended in the mid-1930s. Many of the Wurlitzer retail stores were, at that time, in bad locations and needed repairs. The solutions to these problems came about with a reorganization of the company in 1935. With the reorganization, many retail stores were sold, piano manufacturing was consolidated in DeKalb and many subsidiaries were dissolved or absorbed completely into the Wurlitzer Company.

During World War II, Wurlitzer halted production of musical in¬struments. The company's defense production efforts were rec¬ognized in 1943 and 1944 when it is North Tonawanda and DeKalb plants received the Army-Navy "E" Award. In 1946, peacetime production resumed and the Wurlitzer Company introduced two new instruments: the electric organ in 1947 and the electric piano in 1954. In 1956, the Wurlitzer Company celebrated its centennial. That same year a new plant at Corinth, Mississippi, was completed. Later, plants were opened in Holly Springs, Mississippi (1961), Logan, Utah (1970) and Hullhorst, West Germany, (1960). The new facilities replaced those at North Tonawanda and DeKalb. The North Tonawanda plant ceased production of jukeboxes in 1974, becoming the company's engineering and research center. In 1973, the DeKalb plant ended production of pianos maintaining only mar¬keting and administrative offices. In 1977, the Wurlitzer Com¬pany's corporate headquarters moved to DeKalb, including the en¬gineering and research center from North Tonawanda.

Wurlitzer's three sons had assumed leadership of the company after his death in 1914. Each son acted as president then, chair of the board, successively. The company hired R.C. Rolfing in 1934 as vice-president and general manager. His re¬organization helped the company through the Depression years. Rolfing succeeded the last of the founder's sons in 1941 as pres¬ident of the company and in 1966 as chair of the board. Farny Wurlitzer, Rudolph's youngest son, died in 1972. A.D. Arsem succeeded Rolfing in 1974 as chair of the board. George B. Howell succeeded W. N. Herleman as president of the company.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Steinway & Sons Records and Family Papers, 1857-1919 (AC0178)

Chickering & Sons Piano Company Collection, 1864-1985 (AC0264)

Sohmer & Company Records, 1872-1989 (AC0349)

William J. Lenz Piano Tuning Collection, circa 1903-1955 (AC0511)

Janssen Piano Company Records, 1901-1929 (AC0512)

John R. Anderson Piano Trade Literature and Ephemera Collection, circa 1850-1990 (AC1257)

Warshaw Collection of Business America's Piano and Organ related materials (AC0060)
Provenance:
Collection donated by Northern Illinois University, and Regional History Center, 1994, November 11.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Violin -- Manufacture  Search this
Radio -- Receivers and reception  Search this
Coin-operated machines  Search this
Accordion  Search this
Jukeboxes -- Manufacture  Search this
Harp -- Manufacture  Search this
Piano -- History  Search this
Player organ  Search this
Accordion -- Manufacture  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Organ -- Manufacture  Search this
Organ -- History  Search this
Wurlitzer organ  Search this
Musical instrument makers  Search this
Mechanical organs  Search this
Mechanical musical instruments  Search this
Musical instruments  Search this
Genre/Form:
Minute books
Account books
Financial records
Stock records
Reports
Advertisements
Sales records
Audits
Cashbooks
Ledgers (account books)
Annual reports
Photographs -- 19th century
Journals (accounts)
Price lists
Trade catalogs
Publications
Employee records
Marketing records
Commercial catalogs
Citation:
Wurlitzer Company Records, 1860-1984, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0469
See more items in:
Wurlitzer Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0469
Additional Online Media:

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