the largest musical instrument at the Exposition, the Emmons Howard organ
in the Temple of Music was the most visible representation of the strength
of the American musical instrument manufacturing industry at the turn
of the century. The manufacture of pianos was in the midst of an increase
that would reach its peak in 1909 with more than 364,000 pianos made in
that year. The manufacture of reed organs, predominantly made for home
use, reached a peak in 1904 with 113,000 built. The manufacture of band
instruments was also increasing to meet the demand created by the proliferation
of bands throughout the country.
for performances in
the "Liberal Art Building"
and Liberal Arts Building
major opportunity for musical instrument makers to display their goods
was at the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. Approximately twenty
instrument makers or suppliers exhibited their wares at this venue, including
John C. Haynes & Co., C. G. Conn, Buescher Co., Ludwig & Co.,
Melville Clark Co., Krell Piano Co., and Kimball Co. The relatively new
player piano and organ mechanisms were also on display, with Ludwig and
Melville Clark exhibiting new player piano models, and Kimball and Aeolian
Co. demonstrating their new models of player organs (with Aeolian displaying
in the Mission Building). Another example of a mechanical instrument was
the $10,000 orchestrion used in Frank C. Bostock's Midway attraction,
the Golden Chariots.
Click here to see entire Aeolian booklet. Courtesy of Kerry
line of player pipe organs, ranging in price from $3000 to $80000,
was designed as an instrument for home use. The organ could be played
by using music rolls or the keyboard. The descriptive booklet that
Aeolian produced for the Exposition, Music and Art, includes
a list of forty-two musical selections available in the catalog
of over 10,000 titles.
The daily program
for the Thursday October 3rd organ recital by Frank Taft in the
Mission Building shows musical selections that match those listed
in Aeolian's list of available music rolls. This suggests that the
performance was most likely one demonstrating the mechanical capability
of the instrument rather than a "live" recital performed at the
on the program above to compare the works performed to the
list of Aeolian titles in the booklet at right [see image
Steinway & Sons built a special grand piano
as a presentation instrument for New York State and its State Building
at the Exposition. The New York State Building was the only building designed
as a permanent structure at the Exposition. It still stands today as the
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society building. The piano is adorned
with the State Seal on its cover. .
The black and white
photographs below show the piano as it was placed in the New York State
Building during the Exposition. Notice the original attached lamp stands,
which are now missing. The color photographs, taken with kind permission
of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, show the piano as it
stands a century later.
related article by Robert
Berkman about mechanical instruments and the phonograph is also available.
Return to Music and Musicians