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.
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.
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