Baldwin Piano Company


Baldwin Is A Name We All Know...

But is Baldwin a name that we trust?

Baldwin Piano CompanyDuring the 1960s many young piano students began their piano lessons on a Baldwin piano or a cousin of the Baldwin Company, like a Howard Ellington, an Acrosonic or a Schroeder.* With baby boom kids just hitting the schools, grade school, middle school and high school music and humanities budgets sought new pianos like never before, or at least not since the growth and prosperty of this country before the two great wars. American piano companies benefited greatly, including Baldwin. Good grades and happy students gave teachers and parents confidence in pianos and other music instruments as worthy cultural pursuits and good invesments for their children.

Baldwin's name grew and over the years has become known for both its sustained level of above average craftsmanship and for the affordability of several of its brands and models. The pianos and organs have always been generally well built, especially the high end keyboard instruments. And it's been true, too, that the pianos built by Baldwin for middle class budgets are also generally reliable and worthy of the company's good standing reputation.

The Baldwin Piano Company has been able to stand up against its fiercest competers in the industry, and has survied the dramatic turn toward digital electronics in the keyboard industry. The company stands on a good solid reputation for beautiful and reliable pianos and organs. Their name is hard coded into the American psyche in a positive way. Of course, some will say, "A Baldwin isn't a Steinway," but if you were to weigh Baldwin with any number of competing names, including Steinway, Baldwin would be tipping the scale toward love, pride and overall customer satisfaction, just as a Steinway would.

Baldwin Piano Company Aquires Chickering

The Chickering name has always been associated with goodness in piano manufacturing circles. The products have integrity and the company history is relatively long. The original company, of course, evolved through many changes both within the company and within the open market. In 1985, the company was sold to the Wurlitzer company, then three years later, sold again to The Baldwin Piano Company. Edwin Good raises the question as to whether the selling and transference of the Chickering name from one company to another has any necessary effect upon the instruments produced. Good's response is to say that a Chickering piano made by Wurlitzer or Baldwin "is not quite the smake thing, at least to the sentimentalist who has played Chickerings made by or under the supervision of people named Chickering." (Good; Giraffes, Black Dragons and Other Pianos, 227. ) There are details that should be reviewed when a good piano brand name changes hands. People invested in the name want to insure that the products to be produced uphold the standards the name has come to represent. For the Chickering name, it could well be true that the exhange was purely financial in nature, but Wurlitzer and Baldwin piano companies themselves are known for having produced quality pianos. They may not be the top names in the industry, but they are certainly within the competitive playing field. An invested interest in the field would be confident that the name had found owners that are fully and respectifully embedded within the industry and would also expect that the name would demand high end production values.

In a different respect, investors would expect that Baldwin's name would be positively enhanced by the acquisition of the Chickering name. The dynamic would dictate a positive outcome if the company upholds or even improves the standards against which the name earned its reputation.

Baldwin company began with controlling relationships with subsidiary companies and has traded other names besides Chickering, including the famous Bechstein piano name between 1963 and 1986.

The Influence of the Baldwin Piano Company Name

Inside and outside the industry, the Baldwin name carries weight. Arthur Loesser includes Baldwin in the top list of names we must thank for making fine pianos that made their appearances on the stages of the best musicians of the day. Steinway, Chickering, Weber, Knabe, Mason and Hamlin, and Baldwin -- these are the names of the companies producing instruments worthy of the concert stage, and the inadvertent result of the industry's astute advertising campaigns was that such fine pianos were being offered to the great players for their public performances, and by that, becoming an integral part of musical history in the making.

From a piano restoration point of view, the Baldwin grand piano and most of their subsidiary company names are worthy of rebuilding. The cabinets are often very nice, having used good wood, veneers and other materials in production. If you own a Baldwin grand piano and have questions about our commitment to customer satisfaction in our piano restoration services. Call Michael Sweeney with your questions concerning the refurbishing of your Baldwin piano.

Notes and Sources

* Baldwin Piano Company has also made or continues to make other names besides Howard Ellington, Acrosonic and Schroeder. Other piano names include Hamilton, Valley Gem, Saint Regis, Franke, Kremlin, Modello, Monarch, Sargent, and Winton pianos.

1954. Arthur Loesser, Men, Women and Pianos; A Social History. Dover Publications, Inc. New York.

1972. Alfred Dolge, Pianos and their Makers: A Comprehensive History of the Development of the Piano. Dover Publications, Inc., New York.

2001. Edwin M Good, Giraffes, Black Dragons and Other Pianos; A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

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