Kimball Piano Company
1857 to 2002
W.W. KIMBALL PIANO CO., Est. 1857 in Chicago, IL. The first address was on Lake St., but soon moved rear the Julius Bauer store at 99 S. Clark St. about 1858 to 1860. Then to Crosby Opera House on Washington St., which was destroyed by the Chicago fire in 1871. First Kimball Brand of pianos were made in 1888. But Kimball sold pianos prior to 1888 made by Hallet & Davis, Emerson, Chickering and H. P Hale; most of these were square pianos and were discontinued about 1880.
First Recorded Serial Numbers: 1865-1400 1870-17000 1875-21000 1880-24000 1885-26000.
Kimball sold pianos prior to 1888 made by Hallet & Davis, Emerson, Chickering and H. P Hale.
Kimball Square Pianos made by Hale:
1870-40000 and 1875-45000
Kimball Squares made by Emerson:
1870-14000 1880-28000 1888-1500 1890-8500
1875-20000 1885-36000 1889-3500 1891-16000
First Kimball pianos were made in 1888.
The "Kimball" received endorsements from both the public and the professional, on the artistic elements of the piano world and that to an extent that has been rarely equaled. The Kimball received the highest awards at the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, May 1, to October 31, 1893. In 1902 Kimball produced a total of 22000 pianos. Also manufactured Dunbar, Harrison, Hinze and Whitney Pianos. The Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1902, and the Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, l910 and 1912. By 1920 the president of the company was Curtis N. Kimball; offices were in Kimball Hall, Chicago, Ill. and the factory was at 26th Street and California Blvd., Chicago.
Kimball Serial Numbers
Since 1976 some Kimball numbers are preceded by a letter.
R= Kimball Brand, J= Jasper American private label, C= Conn, T= Misc. Kimball Production of Grand Pianos stopped early 1996 and Verticals in April 1996.
Last # R24000
Last # J52990
Sold to Jasper Corp., in 1959. Jasper Corporation made pianos using the names, Kimball, W. W. Kimball, Jasper-American, Becker, Conn, De Voe & Sons, Harrison, Hinze, Krakauer, La Petite, Schuerman, Whitmore, Whitney, and Whittaker. In addition to various private label piano names using Kimball serial numbers until 1984. The Parent company was Kimball International, general offices at 1600 Royal St., Jasper, Ind. Had two piano factories, West Baden, Ind. and French Lick, Ind.
There were 84 Kimball Grand Pianos of this type that were used on stage for the opening ceremony in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Kimball's Bosendorfer division in Vienna, Austria has been the source of major design features of tbe Kimball line of grand pianos. The Kimball 5'8" and 6'7" grands have plate designs derived from tbe Bosendorfers of the same size, and the only American-made grands available with the high-gloss polyester finish, as used on Bosendorfer concert grands. Kimball 5'8" and 6'7" grands use tbe Schwander roller concert grand action, often used in Bosendorfers, renowned for its crisp and articulate response. These actions are built by a Kimball affiliate in England, the world's oldest existing piano action manufacturer, founded in 1810.
Courtesy of The Bluebook of Pianos
The Bluebook of Pianos is an invaluable handbook for anyone who owns or plans to buy a piano. The only book of its kind available, it gives complete, practical guidelines for purchasing and caring for a piano. After an illustrated discussion of piano structure that explains the workings of both grand and upright pianos, the book gives careful advice for purchasing a new or used piano or player piano. Attention is given to important considerations such as price, tone, construction, consumer ratings and brand name recognition. The book goes on to discuss the care and service of a piano, including detailed information about tuning, moving, repairs, and cleaning. The expert advice in this book will help you enjoy your piano more as well as care for it better.
Robert T. Furst, Archivist
Bluebook of Pianos