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Starr, James M.

James M. Starr, along with his brother Benjamin Starr, were original founders of the prestigious Starr Piano Company, with roots going as back as 1863 when George L. Trayser began building pianos in Ripley, Ohio.  In 1869, Trayser’s firm was incorporated as “The Ohio Valley Piano-Forte Company”.   The Ohio Valley Piano-Forte Company built pianos under the names of “Valley Gem” for D. H. Baldwin.  In 1872, George L. Trayser moved to Richmond, Indiana to form “The Trayser Piano Company”.

In September 1877, The Valley Gem Piano Company of Ripley, Ohio merged with The Trayser Piano Company (including Milo J. Chase and 16 workmen).  The Trayser Piano Company made the Trayser upright, the Valley Gem Square Grand and the Chase Square Grand.

George L. Trayser retired in 1878 and sold his interest in the company to Milo J. Chase.  The firm was renamed “The Chase Piano Company”.  The firm built a brand new, four-story factory along the Whitewater River, building 10 – 15 pianos each week.  The Chase Piano Company employed 150 people by 1883.
Milo J. Chase left the firm in 1884, and James M. Starr took over the firm.  The company was reorganized as “James M. Starr & Company”.   James M. Starr was president of the firm while his brother, Benjamin Starr, managed the operations.

In 1893, all the above companies merged into “The Starr Piano Company” (with the exception of “The Ohio Valley Piano Company” which was sold to D. H. Baldwin).  The Starr Piano Company continued making pianos in Richmond, Indiana under the names Starr, Trayser and Richmond, Remington, as well as several others, until the 1950s.

Instruments by The Starr Piano Company are high-grade, well made instruments that could rival the most prestigious brand names.  We have restored several antique Starr pianos in our workshop over the years, and they are consistently some of the finest pianos we see come through our shop
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Mid-19th Century Advertisement For James M. Starr Piano Company, Circa About 1865