Sohmer & Co. was a piano manufacturing company founded in New York in 1872. Sohmer & Co. marketed the first modern baby grand piano, and also manufactured pianos with aliquot stringing and bridge agraffes, as well as Cecilian “all-inside” player pianos and Welte-Mignon-Licensee reproducing pianos.


Hugo Sohmer (1845-1913) was born in Dunningen, a village near Rottweil, on the foothills of the Black Forest, Germany. He was educated in literary and scientific subjects as well as music and the piano, and emigrated to New York in 1863, where he apprenticed as a piano-builder in Schuetze & Ludolff’s factory.

He spent two years travelling in Europe continuing to study piano making and returned to New York in 1870. In 1872 he founded Sohmer & Company, in partnership with Joseph Kuder (April 26, 1831 – July 24, 1913), a piano maker originally from Vienna who had worked in New York since 1853, first for Steinway & Sons, and later Lighte, Newton & Bradburys as foreman, before working for Marschall & Mittauer, as well as their successor J. H. Boernhoeft.


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Sohmer advertised their upright and square pianos had been awarded the First Medal of Merit, as well as the Diploma of Honour at the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia and displayed the awards in later instruments although the system of awarding prizes had led to notable public disagreement among piano manufacturers. They also advertised first prizes received in Montreal in 1881 and 1882.

Hugo Sohmer marketed the first modern “bijou” or baby grand piano, built with asymmetrical case design which he patented in 1884. “Only five feet long,” these pianos were advertised as “the smallest grand ever manufactured,” having “great power and volume of tone, together with the tone-sustaining quality and elastic touch heretofore only found in the concert grand.”

Taken from Wikipedia.

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