The Ludden & Bates Southern Music House was established in 1870 in Savannah, Georgia. The firm started out as a music retail chain which sold and distributed well-known piano brands, sheet music, and related musical instruments. The firm quickly became the largest sheet music distributer in the south.
The firm was incorporated in 1884 with William Ludden as President, J. A. Bates as Vice President & general manager, Jasperson Smith as Treasurer and John D. Murphy, Secretary. Mr. Ludden’s primary residence was in New York, so it appears that Mr. Ludden provided financial backing for the firm while Mr. Bates ran the operation in Georgia.
In about 1895, Ludden & Bates purchased a fully-equipped piano manufacturing facility in New York and began to manufacture pianos under the “Ludden & Bates” brand name. This allowed the firm to continue to offer prestigious brand name pianos in their stores while also offering their own “Ludden & Bates” brand name.
Shortly after the turn-of-the-century, Ludden & Bates was purchased by Carter & Darough of Valdosta, GA. By 1910, the firm moved its headquarters from Savannah, GA to Atlanta while keeping Savannah as its primary distribution center. It appears that Ludden & Bates closed their Savannah operations in 1933. The Atlanta operations appears to have closed soon after, unable to recover from the Great Depression.
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