American Piano Company

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Ampico reproducing piano in the Bayernhof Music Museum

American Piano Company (abbr. Ampico) was an American piano manufacturer located in East Rochester, New York, which was known from the beginning for the production of high quality player pianos. The company was established in 1908 under the aegis of Wm. Knabe & Co. of Baltimore as a merger between Chickering & Sons of Boston, Haines Brothers, Marshall & Wendell, and Foster, Armstrong & Company, all of Rochester, New York.

From 1913 Ampico was one of the leading producers of reproducing pianos, the others being Duo-Art (1913) and Welte-Mignon (1905). The player piano and reproducing mechanism was designed by Charles Fuller Stoddard (1876–1958).[1][2] A great number of distinguished classical and popular pianists, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leo Ornstein, Winifred MacBride, and Marguerite Volavy (1886–19??),[3] recorded for Ampico, and their rolls are a legacy of 19th and early 20th century aesthetic and musical practice. By 1929 Ampico was in essential economic difficulties and was finally taken over by the Aeolian Company.

Despite the Ampico's decline, the company did not officially close until 1941. The last model introduced was the Ampico Spinet Reproducing Piano, which had all the functionality of a reproducing piano, and although having a low cost of $495, still failed in sales.[4]

Rythmodik Music Corporation[edit]

In May 1918, The Music Roll Division of the American Piano Company became a separate company and henceforth was named Rythmodik Music Corporation, based in Belleville, New Jersey.[5]


General references

Inline citations

  1. ^ Biography Index, A Cumulative Index to Biographical Material in Books and Magazines, Volume 4: September 1955–August 1958, New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1960
  2. ^ Obituaries on File, two volumes, compiled by Felice D. Levy (1917–1990), New York: Facts on File, 1979
  3. ^ Who Was Who in America, Volume 7, 1977–1981, Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1981
  4. ^ Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau, Bd.: 50, Leipzig, 1929-30, p 240 and 274
  5. ^ Music Trade Review, March 11, 1918