Gildemeester & Kroeger
The firm of “Gildemeester & Kroeger” was established by Henry C. Kroeger and P. J. Gildemeester in New York from 1890 – 1896. Henry C. Kroeger was born in Germany in 1827, and began apprenticing for a German piano maker by the age of 15. Kroeger worked for several illustrious piano makers in Hamburg before migrating to the United States in 1852. Kroeger is first listed as building pianos in Stamford, CT in 1852, before moving to New York City in 1855.
In 1855 Kroeger worked as one of the main designers and builders at the Steinway & Sons, remaining there in a very important capacity until 1879. In 1880 Henry Kroeger went into partnership with his son, Henry Kroeger Jr., forming the firm of “Kroeger & Son”. In 1885, the firm became “Kroeger & Sons” when Henry’s second son, Otto Kroeger, joined the firm.
In 1890, the firm admitted Mr. P. J. Gildemeester into partnership and the firm was changed to “Gildemeester & Kroeger”. The partnership of Gildemeester & Kroeger was cut short due to Henry C. Kroeger’s death in 1896. After the death of their father, Kroeger’s sons established “The Kroeger Piano Company” in New York City. The firm enjoyed great success and earned a fine reputation within the industry.
The Kroeger Piano Company was taken over by the industrial giant Kohler & Campbell just before the Great Depression. Kohler & Campbell continued to build the Kroeger name well into the 1950’s era. Instruments built by “Gildemeester & Kroeger” and “The Kroeger Piano Company” were of exceptional quality and design.
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