May 24, 2015 The History of Wurlitzer The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, usually referred to as simply Wurlitzer, was an American company started in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853 by German immigrant Rudolf Wurlitzer. The company originally imported stringed, woodwind and brass instruments from Germany for resale in the U.S. Wurlitzer enjoyed initial success largely due to defense contracts to provide musical instruments to the U.S. military.] In 1880 the company began manufacturing pianos. Eventually the company relocated to North Tonawanda, New York and quickly expanded to make band organs orchestrions nickelodeons and pipe or theater organs popular in theatres during the days of silent movies. Over time, Wurlitzer acquired a number of other companies which made a variety of loosely related products including kitchen appliances, carnival rides, player piano rolls, and radios. Wurlitzer also operated a chain of retail stores where the company's products were sold. As technology evolved, Wurlitzer began producing electric pianos, electronic organs, and jukeboxes and eventually became known more for jukeboxes and vending machines, which are still made by Wurlitzer, than for actual musical instruments. Wurlitzer's jukebox operations were sold and moved to Germany in 1973. The Wurlitzer piano and organ brands and U.S. manufacturing facilities were acquired by the Baldwin Piano & Organ Co. (commonly called the Baldwin Piano Company) in 1988 and most piano manufacturing was moved overseas. The Baldwin Co., including its Wurlitzer assets, was subsequently acquired by the Gibson Guitar Corporation in about 1996. Ten years later, Gibson acquired Deutsche Wurlitzer and the Wurlitzer Jukebox and Vending Electronics trademarks, briefly bringing Wurlitzer's best-known products back together under a single corporate banner in 2006. Baldwin ceased making Wurlitzer brand pianos in 2009. Vending machines are still manufactured in Germany using the Wurlitzer name under Gibson ownership. The company ceased manufacturing jukeboxes in 2013, but still sells replacement parts. I am so excited about having a One More Time Wurlitzer in the shop next week. Do come and have a dance with me!!!