Kranich & Bach pianos was founded in 1864 in New York, by Helmuth Kranich and Jacques Bach. Kranich came from a musical family, and at an early age, was placed as an apprentice to a piano maker by his father. In 1951, at age 18, Helmuth came to New York and worked with the piano making firms of Bacon and Raven (New York), Schomacker (Philadelphia), and lastly, Steinway & Sons (New York). He worked in the department of tone regulating for approximately five years.
Jacques Bach came to the United States, as a cabinet maker by trade, at
the age of twenty. He found work at the piano factory of Stodart and
Morris in 1853, in New York.
In April 1864, the two immigrants joined other aspiring piano makers,
making up seventeen total, and formed the New York Pianoforte Company.
In 1866 six of the members withdrew under the leadership of Helmuth
Kranich and Jacques Bach, to form Kranich, Bach & Company.
In 1873, the firm set up a factory located at 237 E. 23rd St. (New York).
In 1890 the firm was incorporated. Frederick and Alvin Kranich, Helmuth's sons, and Louis P.Bach, Jacques' son, served as directors and officers of the company.
By 1891 - some 27 years after the company was founded - Kranich & Bach claimed to have built as many as 25,000 pianos, selling them nationwide.
The company was known for their well made, expensive pianos,
along with their lavish use of exotic woods and unique cabinet styles.
The pianos' superior tone and construction, was a hallmark of the company.
Kranich & Bach was awarded many patents, many of which are considered, by today's technological standards, ahead of their time.
In 1926 the company had factories and warerooms in New York City, and at Michigan and Jackson Blvds., in Chicago.
1934, Kranich & Bach produced a line of very baby grand pianos
called the 'Grandette'. At 4' 9", the design was configured in such a
way, so that you could get the most tone and volume possible from a very
small instrument. This capitalized on the consumer demand for a smaller
piano to be placed in a smaller space. The Grandette became quite
popular and sold very well. By the year 1916, the company’s capital
stock was valued at $400,000.
During the era of the
newly-introduced mechanical player piano, Kranich & Bach also
designed and built player actions for use specifically in their pianos,
utilizing the Welte Mignon Licensee mechanism.
In 1946, Kranich & Bach was acquired by Winter & Co. of New York, which eventually became part of the Aeolian-American Corporation conglomerate, in 1959. This company continued to build Kranich & Bach pianos until 1981.
1868 - 600
1875 - 7500
1880 - 11400
1890 - 24000
1895 - 29400
1900 - 35000
1910 - 50000
1920 - 60900
1930 - 70400
1940 - 74600
1950 - 77200
1960 - 86200
1968 - 93300
1975 - 97100
1981 - 98000