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Well known for its excellent quality player pianos the American Piano Company was incorporated in 1908 in Rochester NY and was controlled by the Foster-Armstrong Co. The Ampico name which is an abbreviation for American Piano Company was established between 1913 and 1916.

The Ampico was an electrically powered reproducing player piano device made by the American Piano Co. It was installed in many pianos including Mason & Hamlin, Chickering, Wm Knabe, J & C Fisher and others. Gibson Guitar Co now owns the Ampico name.

Foster-Armstrong had bought Marshall & Wendell Piano in 1899. In the early 1900's and later they acquired Chickering & Sons, Knabe, Haines, A.B. Chase, Ellsworth, Emerson, J.C. Fischer, Vose, Stroud and many more names. In the early 30's American merged with Aeolian, Weber Piano & Pianola Co.

By 1929 Ampico was in financial trouble. After the Great Depression of 1929 many piano companies went out of business or merged with other more financially stable ones. Although even before 1929 some makers had gone under because of the radio and phonograph.

Apparantly a lot of people had grown tired even of player pianos. It was possible that dance bands with vocalists were becoming more popular than solo piano music. And then in times of depression piano lessons were difficult to afford.

Before the great depression there were hundreds of piano factories in America. But by the end of World War II there were only a few dozen left. Fortunately the post war baby boom created a huge need for pianos and lessons.

So by the 1960's and 70's we were making almost as many instruments as in the early part of the twentieth century. Now in 2012 very few (no more than 3 or 4) piano makers are left in the US. And production numbers being less than 5 or 6 thousand.

There was also an American Piano & Organ Company and another factory called American Pianos. It was controlled by Bjur Bros. in New York and was started in 1887. Bjur Bros. also established American Player Piano Co in 1902. Not related to the Rochester plant.

Bjur was taken over by Kohler & Campbell around 1927. They also made Bailey, Gordon and Stultz pianos. Bjur serial numbers start in 1900 with #10,000 and run to 1957 ending with #511,100. American Pianos serial numbers start in 1907 with #24,000 and end in 1922 with 54,000.

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