The Kohler & Campbell Piano Co.

The Kohler & Campbell Piano Co

By James Grebe

           John Calvin Campbell was born in 1864 and was gifted in the field of mechanical things.  After serving as an  apprentice in machining he invented several wood and iron making machines.  In the year of 1890, he made a scientific study of piano construction and began making pianos.  Success came almost immediately as the wholesale trade latched on to his instruments because of their large commercial value.  Unfortunately, he died in 1908 at the age of 44 and his partner, Charles Kohler, who was born in 1868, at the age of 20 became a partner with Campbell.  Kohler took over the business at the death of his partner.  He enhanced Campbell’s genius with the use of modern methods of manufacture and because of the factories efficiency was able to offer his pianos at very tempting lower prices.  There were a number of other manufacturers who carried Kohler & Campbell pianos in their owned factory stores.  During the heyday of player pianos, a wholly owned subsidiary, Standard Pneumatic, manufactured over 50,000 player actions per year.    The early Kohler & Campbell grand pianos were made for them by the Brambach Piano Co. in North Carolina.  Around 1984, the name was changed to just Kohler and Brambach was used on some console and spinet pianos.  In 1985 the make was sold to Sherman Clay, a piano retailer, and they contracted with Samick to build some grand pianos for them.  Later, Samick bought the name from Sherman Clay and increased production.

The following is a list of all the names made for and by Kohler & Campbell:  Amplithene, Amplitone, Art-Electric, Artist Record, Artistyle,

Arto, Autopiano, Astor, Autocrat, Autopiano-Playette, Autotheme, Francis Bacon, J.C. Campbell, Carter, Celeste, Conreid, Barker Bros, Behning, Behr Bros& Co., Bjur Bros, Davenpoert Traacy, Design, Electra, Gordon, Hazelton Bros, Ideal, Kohler, Kroeger, McPhail, Milton, Jeffersonian, Charles Kohler, Ministrelo, Mono Player, Newton, Peter Pan, Pianista, Playerette, Preston, Stephen Foster, Simplex, Soloist, Solostyle, Stratford, Stulz & Bauer, Symphonia, Symphotone, Tom Thumb, Triumph, and Waldorf.  Can you imagine trying to keep inventory with this large number of names they used?  Today, the name Kohler & Campbell continues as Samick has endeavored to increase the quality of the name

© Copyright 2017 James Grebe. All rights reserved.