The Ever-Popular Bach Piano

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Piano

Johann Sebastian Bach

Cover of Johann Sebastian Bach

One of the marketing strategies intended to increase piano sales seeks to increase the consumer’s awareness about a brand name. One of the more successful campaigns to increase brand awareness was implemented by Kimball piano. The piano was frequently offered on the popular TV game show The Price is Right. The Kimball brand was made by Jasper Furniture Company. It gained popularity among consumers, but competitors would only credit the piano with being a “nice piece of furniture.”

Another successful marketing strategy is to acquire or create a brand name from an existing word that is already in common usage among the public.  One of those popular words is Bach.  As I scan the pages of my copy of the Pierce Piano Atlas, I can see several pianos that used the name Bach.

BACH, Made by Ropelt & Son 1895-1915, Pritchard & Ropeli 1915-1970 and then Irwin & Son Piano Co., Rochester, NY 1970-1976

BACH, Pianos by National Man. Co., Chicago

BACH & BACH (Stencil piano)

BACH, J.N., Germany

BACH, Julius Hamburg – New York

BACH, OTTO (Deitmann Pianos

And so forth…

Often the BACH name was combined with other words, such as BACH PIANO CO., BACH & SONS, BACHARD, BACHHAUS, BACHMAN, and BACHMAN & SONS.

Combining the Bach name with other famous names was also used.

KRANICH & BACH 1868-1981

Wurlitzer bought the Kranich & Bach name. Baldwin Pianos acquired Wurlitzer and the Kranich & Bach name. Baldwin went bankrupt. The assets were acquired by Gibson Guitar and they made some Kranich & Bachs in China. Basically, the Kranich & Bach is a piano made in China by an American guitar company.

STEINBACH is another example of a brand name made from two famous names. The STEINBACH was made in Toronto, Canada 1904-1909, Torino Italy (STEINBACH PIANO MAN. CO.), STEINBACH-DREHER (Rockford, IL.).

The STEINBACH piano is not to be confused with other pianos of similar name such as STEINWEG, STEINWEBB, STEINWICK, STEINHARD, STEINHARDT, STEINHART, STEINHAUR, STEINHAUS, STEINICKE, STEINMANN & CO., STEINMAYER, STEINMETZ, STEINMEYER, STEINRICH PIANO MFG. CO., STEINS, ANDRE, OR STEINVEY, and many others.

To complicate matters further, Johann Sebastian Bach (21 March 1685,– 28 July 1750,) was an  organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist. Pianos were not popular in his day.

J.S. Bach saw some of the earliest pianos but did not earn historic credentials as a pianist. He did however sell pianos. “Bach did approve of a later instrument he saw in 1747, and even served as an agent in selling Silbermann’s pianos,” three years before his death.  That piano was more likened to a harpsichord.  Silbermann was a organ builder.

American consumers, not to be dissuaded by facts contrary to the myths created by the marketing departments, have remained willing to assign credibility to certain products bearing the BACH name, although J.S. Bach did not play piano, make them, or even like the early ones he saw.

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