The Lauter Piano Company of Newark, New Jersey built very high quality pianos and player pianos in late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Lauter was established in 1862, and they produced Lauter, Lauter-Humana, Llewellyn and Lenox brand pianos and player pianos. The Lauter Piano Company built pianos up until the 1920’s era, going out of business sometime around the Great Depression.
The Lauter concert grand was the instrument of choice for recording at Thomas A. Edison, Inc., whose New York studios were at 79 5th Ave. Edison also kept at least one Lauter grand at the experimental studio at their West Orange, NJ plant; it is possible that the proximity of Edison’s works and the Lauter factory in Newark may have accounted in part for the relationship, though Edison’s staff pianist Ernest Stevens thought highly of the Lauter in reminiscences he gave at the end of his life. Edison took pride in its piano records in company advertising, and though they released relatively few piano discs, some were very important. Sergei Rachmaninoff’s first records were made for Edison on the Lauter (those were acoustic recordings), as were those of the prominent French pianist E. Robert Schmitz and the titanic Moriz Rosenthal. Both of these artists were recorded electrically, and their Edison discs are fantastically rare. (Special Thanks to Mr. Philip Carli for this historical information)
NOTE: We have been fortunate enough to receive information from the daughter of Mr. Charles E. Cameron, Jr. who operated the Lauter Piano Company from 1936 – 1966. Mr. Cameron took the Lauter Company over in 1936 from his father, Charles E. Cameron, Sr. Ms. Cameron states that the firm did not close with the Great Depression as our archives suggest, but that Lauter continued to build pianos on Sussex Avenue in Newark until 1962 – 1963, and that the last Lauter showroom closed in 1966. The Lauter Company files were disposed of in 1987 by the family. We would like to express our appreciation to Ms. Cameron for the invaluable information she has provided!
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