baldwin piano company


Dwight Hamilton Baldwin was born in North East September 15, 1821. He is listed as a member of The First Presbyterian Church of North East as of 1837 along with Mark and M. Elizabeth Baldwin, whom I presume were his parents. Mark is found as head of a household with two boys under ten years old and 2 boys between the ages of 10 and 16 along with his wife in North East Township in the 1820 Federal Census.

Dwight wanted to serve as a circuit rider preacher; however because he was a frail young man he was discouraged from trying such a rugged profession and he redirected his life by attending Oberlin College where he pursued his interest in music. He began teaching music in several small towns in Ohio and Kentucky, eventually settling in Cincinnati with wife Emerine Summers. It was said that in a seven year period in the late 1850s, he taught over 100,000 public school music students.

Through frugal living he had saved $2,000 and by 1862 he was able to open a music store in Cincinnati. In 1865 Baldwin hired a Civil War veteran by the name of Lucien Wulsin to be his bookkeeper. In 1873 Wulsin became a partner, and they opened retail stores in Louisville, Indianapolis, and several small cities in the tri-state area of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.

In 1887 the business lost their Steinway franchise, and they began designing and building their own keyboard instruments. They started by manufacturing organs in Chicago, incorporating as The Hamilton Organ Company in 1889, and then established the Baldwin Piano Company in Cincinnati the following year. Two years later they established the Ellington Piano Company which made mid-range model pianos that the public were unaware they were made by Baldwin.

When D. H. Baldwin and his wife died within a few weeks of each other in 1899, his 80 percent stake in the various companies and entire estate, valued at $400,000 passed to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church. Wulsin and three other minority shareholders purchased the businesses and merged them to form the Baldwin Corporation.

So when you see a Baldwin piano, remember, Dwight Baldwin started here in our little town.



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