- Barbara Owen
American firm of reed organ, piano and organ makers. It was founded in Chicago in 1857 by William Wallace Kimball (b Rumford, ME, 22 March 1828; d Chicago, 16 Dec 1904), the firm becoming known as the W.W. Kimball Co. Sensing the growing commercial importance of Chicago, he moved there in 1857; a chance purchase of a consignment of pianos at an auction shortly afterwards launched his career as a piano dealer. A few years later he added reed organs to his stock, but for over 20 years he purchased his instruments from East Coast manufacturers. In 1865 Kimball married Evalyne Cone, whose brother Albert (d 1900) soon entered the firm, eventually becoming treasurer. The fire in Chicago (1871) destroyed the Kimball store but this was only a temporary setback, and in 1880 Kimball opened his first factory, for the manufacture of reed organs. In ...