The Schomacker Piano Company was one of Philadelphia’s earlier and more successful piano manufacturers. Having learned the trade in Vienna, John Henry Schomacker (originally Johann Heinrich Schumacher) opened his first shop in Lahr, Bavaria, in 1830. J. H. Schomacker immigrated to The United States in 1837 and worked for E. M. Scherr for a short period of time. In 1838, J. H. Schomacker went into partnership with William Bossert and established the firm of “Bossert & Schomacker”. William Bossert withdrew from the partnership in 1842 and was replaced by Colonel H. W. Gray. The firm was reorganized as “The Schomacker Piano-Forte Manufacturing Company”. Colonel Gray withdrew from the firm in 1856, leaving Schomacker as the sole owner of the firm. John Henry Schomacker retired in 1872 at which time his son, Henry C. Schomacker, succeeded as co-header of the firm along with his partner I. B. Woodford. The firm was reorganized as “The Schomacker Piano Company”.
Schomacker pianos were built with heavy German design influence, likely a result of Schomacker’s roots. During the 19th Century, Schomacker pianos were exceedingly well made and very expensive. Instruments by Schomacker were often very elaborate, boasting some of the finest craftsmanship in the industry.
In 1899 The Schomacker Piano Company was acquired by the large Wanamaker Department Store Chain. Wanamaker set up large, elaborate music departments in their stores which featured Schomacker pianos as their “top of the line” models. Schomacker was also heavily featured in Wanamaker’s sales catalogs, giving the Schomacker brand name national exposure. Wanamaker’s capital and marketing allowed The Schomacker Piano Company to grow and flourish throughout the 20th Century and through the Great Depression. The Schomacker name continued to be produced until World War II.
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