Wurlitzer model C143 Grand Piano
4′-8″ Wurlitzer Baby Grand.
This is an elegant and petite grand piano in a traditional satin ebony finish. The satin finishes are classic and perhaps understated, but they can have a warmer appearance than the high polished finishes do. This Wurlitzer model C143 grand piano may be small, but it is also a worthy musical instrument. It has a surprisingly strong tone for its compact size, and it has all of the advantages the grand piano action provides to the pianist. Faster repetition, a wider dynamic range and better responsiveness are attributes of the grand action. At 4’-8” it will fit into tight spaces, but it is still a respectable baby grand piano. Its volume will not fill a Concert Hall, but it has a pretty tone quality that would be ideal in a smaller formal living room. It has lived its entire 23-year life here in Albuquerque and it is happily acclimated to our unique climate. All that was needed was some minor regulating and tuning because the instrument was serviced regularly and located in an environmentally comfortable place.
Wurlitzer model C143 grand piano, S# 62562., Mfg. 2000, Satin Ebony Finish
88 Keys Piano Warehouse & Showroom price – only $5450
Franz Rudolph Wurlitzer immigrated to New York City from Germany in 1854 and opened a piano and musical instrument shop around 1856 where he sold pianos he imported from Germany. He commenced building his own musical instruments when the Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company factory was built in 1861 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He built different instruments there before the first Wurlitzer piano was built in 1880. The company built stringed, reed and brass instruments from the Civil War all the way until World War 1. They were vendors to the US Government during most of that time. Franz lived until 1914. The Wurlitzer history in music actually dates back into the early 17th century in Germany where Hans Andreas Wurlitzer was a well-known expert in building beautiful violins.
By the 1900’s there were factories in New York where uprights were built and DeKalb, Illinois where the grands were built. The DeKalb factory stayed open until 1990 and is where this Wurlitzer model 2860 console piano was built. In the early part of the 20th century these two factories built pianos with over a dozen different brand names. The Wurlitzer spinet was introduced in the 1930’s as one of the first short low-profile pianos to appeal to customers who did not like the way large uprights completely dominated a smaller room. It soon became a huge seller. The Butterfly Grand piano was brought out then also. It had a symmetrical shape to the rim and lid. Wurlitzer was the most innovative piano company at a highly surprising time when the nation was suffering through the Great Depression.
By 1910 the company was probably most well-known for “The Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organs that were found in the finest East Coast dinner theatres. They were also popular for performing in the silent movies. Coin-operated nickelodeons, orchestrions and player-pianos using paper rolls were introduced in the 1890’s. Circuses, amusement parks, roller-rinks and carnival midways used their carousels, hurdy-gurdy instruments and barrel organs. The 1920’s brought the high-end American Mohawk Lyric radio that was exorbitantly expensive. Electrical organs came along in the 1940’s and they became popular in the home market. A “before its time” monophonic synthesizer was incorporated into them in the 1970’s. The nostalgic Wurlitzer Jukebox was introduced in the 1940’s and it was colorful, brightly illuminated and once again, became hugely popular. Today they are collector’s items and command high prices. A CD-playing identical version was reintroduced in the 1990’s. In the 1950’s the first hybrid electric/acoustic Stage Piano was invented and was used by many of the most popular musicians of the rock era including The Doors and Carpenters. These were widely used professionally until they were nudged out by digital technology and sampling. Many modern synths have included the Wurlitzer Electric Piano sample. They are retro instruments today and in great demand among collectors.