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 through The Great Depression and through World War II. The Schomacker name appears to have been discontinued sometime in the 1960s.
INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA
Can you find your instrument listed in these antique catalogs?
Schomacker Piano Company Catalog, Circa 1875
19th Century Schomacker Advertisements
Late 19th Century Sales Advertisement For Schomacker Piano Company, Circa 1880
20th Century Schomacker Advertisements
Early 20th Century Schomacker Piano Company Advertisements, Circa 1914
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