Sohmer and Company was a piano manufacturing company established in New York in 1872. Sohmer & Co. sold the first modern baby grand piano, as well as manufactured pianos with aliquot stringing and bridge agraffes.
The company also manufactured Cecilian "all-inside" player pianos and Welte-Mignon Licensee reproducing pianos.
Among the most famous personalities who owned Sohmer & Co. pianos include U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, and composers Victor Herbert and Irving Berlin. Today, Korea-based Samick Music Corp. owns the Sohmer name and lines of pianos.
Despite the change of ownership, Sohmer and Co., is still one of the leading piano brands in the world. The brand maintains the legacy set by the founder as well as those who painstakingly manufactured the piano lines since the day it was founded.
All the hard work and creative thinking of the Sohmer family is still being carried on by the new stick holders and manufacturers.
Sohmer & Co. was founded by Hugo Sohmer with his partnership with Joseph Kuder in 1872. They first manufactured and sold their pianos Marschall & Mittauer's former address, after seven years, in 1879 they expanded their factory and in 1883, they moved to an all new warehouse which used to be the factory formerly the factory of reed organ manufacturers Carhart & Needham.
In 1876, they advertised their grand and upright pianos and won the First Medal of Merit, as well as the Diploma of Honor at the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia. In 1881 and 1882 they also advertised their pianos that won first prizes in Montreal.
Successions of the Sohmer Legacy
In 1913, Harry J. Sohmer took over the company and turned it into incorporation in the year 1940. He was succeeded by his sons, Harry J. Sohmer, Jr., President, and Robert H. Sohmer, Secretary and treasurer in 1971. In 1982, the Sohmer brothers sold the rights and assets of the company to Pratt, Read & Co., then, the largest American manufacturer of piano actions and keyboards, and moved to their facilities in Ivoryton, Connecticut.
Trademark Models and Patented Designs
In 1884, Sohmer created the first baby grand piano, the first smallest grand pianos ever manufactured at only five feet long. The company also patented the agraffe bars and actions in 1882, in 1887 an agraffe for a quadruple strung "reverbation scale" and a pianissimo pedal in uprights, and bridge agraffes in 1890.
American Piano Sound
When it comes to their architecture, Sohmer pianos are still, at heart, highly regarded and considered to be uniquely American pianos. Many customers, pianists and technicians have commented that the new generation Sohmer pianos have a sound that brings back memories of what the great old American brands were: “round, hollow, woody, and dark” sound.
Using the serial numbers in the chart below, find the approximate piano age to your Sohmer and Company piano.
1900 - 27800 . . 1966 - 159600
1905 - 32300 . . 1967 - 164700
1915 - 42900 . . 1969 - 175000
1920 - 48100 . . 1970 - 180000
1925 - 60750 . . 1971 - 183600
1930 - 76500 . . 1972 - 187800
1935 - 86400 . . 1973 - 191074
1940 - 92100 . . 1974 - 198900
1945 - 97260 . . 1975 - 203500
1950 - 103240 . . 1976 - 209100
1960 - 132500 . . 1978 - 220430
1961 - 136700 . . 1979 - 226250
1962 - 140840 . . 1980 - 231700
1963 - 145260 . . 1981 - 236570
1964 - 150200 . . 1982 - 241180
1965 - 154500