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Home: Surnames: Schleicher Family Genealogy Forum

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Re: Schleicher, Piano Makers, Stamford, Conn
Posted by: William A. Schleicher Date: September 22, 2000 at 18:23:43
In Reply to: Re: Schleicher, Piano Makers, Stamford, Conn by Felix Unger of 282

Gustave Schleicher, founder of Schleicher & Sons Piano Company was born in Hoxter on the Weser, Westfalia, Germany in 1827. He was my gggrandfather. He was apprenticed to his father in the manufacture of furniture and pianos for the Imperial court in Berlin. In 1850 he was recruited by Steinway to come to America and work for them. In 1864 he established his own factory just down the block from Steinway. He also established factories at Mount Vernon NY (where he lived) and Stamford CT where a few years ago the name was still on the side of the building. He had 4 sons: Andrew b. 1856; George b. 1858; John b. 1861; and Edward b. 1864. Each son served his apprenticeship and became a member of the firm. They had over 40 patents mostly related to pianos, automobiles and aircraft. The most notable piano patent was for their soundingboard which used special ribs to prevent warping and cracking. Steinway tried to buy this patent but was refused. This sounding board enabled the Schleicher piano to hold its tune better than any other including under adverse conditions. Consequently many of then were bought by the USO during WWI and sent over to Europe on troop ships, making them somewhat hard to find today. Another Schleicher piano factory was established at Ossning NY but I don't know the date. In 1895, George Schleicher began to manufacture trucks there, the same year that the family made its first car. I don't know if they made any more cars, but they continuse to manufacture trucks until the 1920s. My ggrandfather, John, built his first airplane in 1905. That same year, Gustave Schleicher died. The piano business was continued by the 4 sons, but around the early 1920's they has a falling out. The company was divided up. George got NY City and Ossning. The other brothers continued to work together with John operating the Mount Vernon NY factory, and Andrew and Edward operating the Stamford factory. George had a son, George Jr. and renamed his company Schleicher & Son (singular). They decided to cut their price and their quality. This eventually hurt the reputation of both firms although Schleicher & Sons always made a superior quality instrument. Both companies ceased business in the 1920s. I have a catalogue and other literature from the company including "The Schleicher March" which was composed in 1902. The NY Public Library (NYC) has several issues of "The Schleicher Musical Monthly," a magazine published by the company. If you still have your Schleicher & Sons piano I might be interested.


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