Knabe piano dating
At 28, Wilhelm, known among friends for his uncommon order and keen perceptiveness, became engaged to the daughter of a physician, Christiana Ritz.
But before Wilhelm and Christiana could be married, Dr.
The firm’s principal market was the South, from Richmond plantations to Charleston townhouses. turned out a product that required not only hard and painstaking labor but the finest artistry.
Knabe, whose kindly disposition appears to have rarely failed him, argued that they should continue to make all three classes of piano, not only offering superior squares and uprights, but competing with Steinway and Chickering to make the finest grands in America. By mid-century, piano-making had outstripped its cottage craft stage. The rising southern antipathy toward all things northern added to this boon for Knabe pianos, which had long ago built a base of commercial support in the South. The Civil War proved calamitous to industries in Baltimore, with the loss of the Southern trade, and nearly fatal for Wm. William appears to have born his reverses with equanimity, but the strain of impending ruin proved too much for his health.
The difference of opinion was enough to dissolve the partnership, which Gaehle did in 1854, and then forming his own firm. Within weeks, one of Knabe’s two manufactories was destroyed by fire. Then, with the important Maryland Institute Exhibition approaching, William’s stock of pianos was tied up in legal knots over the protracted end of the partnership. On his deathbed, in 1864, he instructed his two sons to save the firm by seeking new markets in the West.
So William, likewise, set out on his own, founding the firm Wm. Ernest Knabe, 37, and William Jr., 23, had received a liberal education in schools and a practical education in their father’s shop.
William Jr., quiet and retiring by nature, became manager of the manufactory and warerooms.