- Cynthia Adams Hoover
American firm of player piano manufacturers. It was founded by William B. Tremaine, who had begun as a piano builder with Tremaine Brothers. He formed the Mechanical Orguinette Co. in New York (1878) and the Aeolian Organ & Music Co. (by 1888) to manufacture automatic organs and perforated music rolls. His son Harry B. Tremaine sensed the possibility of a larger market and directed the company in an extensive advertising campaign that resulted in the sale of millions of player pianos during the first three decades of the 20th century. In 1913 the company introduced the Duo-Art Reproducing Piano, a sophisticated mechanism (fitted in high-quality pianos) that made it possible to record and reproduce through paper rolls the slightest nuances of dynamics, tempo, and phrasing; a number of leading pianists of that time were recorded in this way.
In 1903 (with a capital of 10 million dollars) Tremaine formed the Aeolian, Weber Piano & Pianola Co., of which the Aeolian Co. formed a significant part; the first successful American piano trust, the parent company eventually controlled such other firms as the Chilton Piano Co., Choralian Co. of Germany and Austria, Mason & Hamlin, Orchestrelle Co. of Great Britain, Pianola Company Proprietary Ltd of Australia, George Steck & Co., Stroud Piano Co., Stuyvesant Piano Co., Technola, Universal Music Co., Vocalian Organ Co., Votey Organ Co., Weber Piano Co., and Wheelock Piano Co. Noted for its development and aggressive marketing of various mechanical instruments, the Aeolian Co. manufactured the Aeriole, Aeolian Orchestrelle Pianola, Metrostyle Pianola, and Aeolian pipe organs. The firm’s offices were in New York where it maintained the Aeolian Concert Hall. In 1931 the company’s organ department merged with the Ernest M. Skinner Co. to form the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Co. In 1932 the company merged with the American Piano Corporation (successor of the American Piano Co.) to form the Aeolian American Corporation....