THE AMERICAN PIANO INDUSTRY
EPISODES IN THE HISTORY OF A GREAT ENTERPRISE
by William E. Hettrick
The manufacture of pianos was an important American industry during its heyday, from the mid-nineteenth century up to the Great Depression. This book presents definitive studies of aspects of this chronicle, including widespread manufacturing methods not revealed to the public, advertising and other related business activity, a fascinating example of piano gimmickry in upright pianos, and the rise of piano trade journalism, with emphasis on the work of two editors (John C. Freund and Marc A. Blumenberg) known for their unmerciful attacks on certain piano manufacturers, as well as another editor (Harry Ed. ward Freund, younger brother of John) who took credit for the demise of the square piano in 1904. Included also are accounts of the lives and careers of two manufacturers in New York City who played their roles in the drama: the legendary Joseph P. Hale, acclaimed as the father of the commercial piano,” and John J. Swick, a minor but colorful figure to whom fate dealt a tragic end. Here and there, actions of two leading piano makers (Wil liam Steinway in New York and George P. Bent in Chicago) are revealed for the first time.