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Dolge, Alfred

Alfred Dolge was one of the most important and fascinating men in piano history. Born in 1848 in Saxony, Germany, he attended school in Leipzig. When he was 17 when he entered his fathers’ business “A. Dolge and Co., Piano Manufacturers”. As an apprentice in his father’s firm, Dolge learned every facet of piano manufacturing as it was done in the old European tradition. Dolge first came to the New York when he was 17 years old, working in piano making and importing. Later, Dolged settled in Brockett’s Bridge, now Dolgeville, in 1874 in search of a suitable location for his felt manufacturing operation. Within a few years Dolgeville grew from 325 to over 2,000, many of whom were German immigrants whom he had interested in the area by advertisements and agents. Eventually, Dolge built felt mills, made felt shoes, autoharps, piano cases, piano sounding boards, piano hammers, etc. Alfred Dolge is credited for creating and implementing the concept of modern social security. His factories included profit sharing, pension plans and life insurance – all ideas which were well ahead of their time. Dolge suffered financial ruin and left Dolgeville for California in 1899. His years in California proved to be very successful for him as an author, historian, and economist. He is credited for archiving much historical information about manufacturers and suppliers in the 19th and early 20th Century piano industry. His books, including the famous “Pianos and their Makers”, kept much of the historical information we have availble today from being lost forever. Dolge died in Milan in 1922 on a round the world tour. He is buried in the Dolgeville cemetery.


Alfred Dolge Poster Late 19th Century Poster of Alfred Dolge, New York