Spotlight on Sohmer Pianos

Sohmer & Co., Inc., was established in the eastern US in 1872 by Hugo Sohmer and K. Kuder. Although the company has changed hands several times in the past ~140  years, it is still considered one of the leading piano manufacturers in the world. In particular, Sohmer is known for:

  • Creating the first baby grand piano in 1884
  • Patenting agraffe bars and actions in 1882 (An agraffe is a guide for bass, tenor and lower treble strings at the tuning pin end of the strings in grand pianos. An agraffe bar positions the strings and determines the length of string that will vibrate.)
  • Patenting a 4-string agraffe in 1887
  • Patenting a pianissimo (“very softly”) dampener pedal in uprights in 1887
  • Patenting bridge agraffes in 1890

Sohmer pianos have been produced by several companies throughout the brand’s history, mostly in the US, as detailed below:

  • Sohmer & Co., Inc., was family-owned and operated from Long Island, NY, from 1872 to 1982.
  • In 1982, the family sold the company to Pratt Reed & Co., who manufactured Sohmer pianos in Ivoryton, CT.
  • Robert McNeil bought Sohmer in 1986 and relocated its manufacturing facilities to Elysburg, PA, in 1988.
  • In 1989, the owner of Falcone Piano Co., Bernard Greer, bought the rights to produce pianos under the Sohmer, Knabe, Mason & Hamlin, and George Steck names.
  • Sohmer’s parent company was Mason & Hamlin Corp. until 1994, when the company went bankrupt and the Sohmer factory in PA was closed.
  • The Burgetts, owners of Music Systems Research, bought Mason & Hamlin’s assets in 1996, but a new Sohmer brand didn’t emerge until 2001.
  • Persis International, Inc., has been producing Sohmer pianos since 2001, but SMC–distributors of Samick pianos-also claims to have licensed the Sohmer name from the Burgetts. During the dispute between Persis and SMC, Sohmer pianos were produced by 2 companies–Persis in Chicago, IL, and Royale in Korea, Indonesia, and later (2007) Tennessee.



Ashley, Larry E. “Pierce Piano Atlas, 11th Edition.” Bob Pierce, 2003, Albuquerque, NM.

Fine, Larry. “2006-2007 Annual Supplement to The Piano Book, Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano.” Brookside Press, 2006, Jamaica Plain, MA.

“Sohmer and Company Established in New York, 1872.”, 31 Mar 2020,

Piano Maintenance & Cleaning

Keep your piano looking and performing beautifully for years to come with our piano maintenance and piano cleaning tips!

  1. Give thought to where you place your piano initially. Pianos are susceptible to air, moisture and sun damage, so it’s wise to place your piano near an inner wall within your house. Excess sunlight can fade the exterior, and too much air or moisture can lead to damaged parts or, at minimum, the need to have your piano tuned more frequently.
  2. Consider having a humidity control system installed. To protect your piano from seasonal changes that can dry out or over-saturate elements of your piano, we can install a humidity control system for a reasonable rate. Call 877-635-1699 for a quote.
  3. Have your piano tuned at least annually. Piano manufacturers often recommend having a piano tuned 3-4 times in the first year after it’s delivered to make it pitch perfect (i.e. tuned to A=440hz), then 2 times per year thereafter. However, an annual tuning will typically suffice for the average player.
  4. Clean the exterior of your piano with care. Don’t use harsh cleaners on your piano, particularly if it has a lacquered finish that could be marred by chemical cleaners. Instead, use a soft, damp, lintless cloth to wipe down the exterior and the keys. Do NOT over-saturate the cloth! If you feel the need to disinfect the keys themselves, you can use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to gently wipe down the keys.
  5. Ask your piano tuner to help you vacuum the interior of your piano. Your annual tuning is the perfect time to clean dust from the interior of your piano. Ask your tuner for help or guidance if you wish to vacuum yourself.
  6. Protect your piano from moths. There is wool and felt inside your piano, under the keys and on the hammers and dampeners. These materials are mothproofed at the time of manufacture, but the treatment doesn’t last forever. Typically, the cleaning a piano tuner does at the time they tune a piano is sufficient to protect against moths; however, if your technician notices damage from moths, do their recommended mothproofing.
  7. Play your piano! The best way to maintain your piano’s inner workings in between tunings is to play it regularly. Do NOT touch or try to clean the inner workings by yourself!
  8. Have professional piano movers move your piano when needed. If you’re moving or just want to relocate your piano within your house, it’s wise to use professional piano movers, because even the best furniture movers can damage a piano beyond repair. Call us at 877-635-1699 before you move and we’ll ensure your piano is transferred to its new home with care.

If you have any questions about caring for your piano that we haven’t addressed here, feel free to contact us for additional guidance.

About Piano Man Superstore

Piano Man Superstore is a family-owned and operated small business that’s been serving the DMV and delivering pianos across the US for 45 years. We have a 30,000+ sq. ft. piano warehouse in College Park, MD, where we sell reconditioned pianos that look, sound and perform like new. Additionally, we operate a piano shop where our skilled technicians rebuild fire- and water-damaged pianos, restore antique pianos and recondition used pianos for sale in our showrooms. Our current inventory includes over 130 upright pianos and grand pianos of all sizes that cost roughly half what new pianos do, plus each one is backed by a 10-year warranty on parts and labor and comes with free delivery and a free in-home tuning. Stop by today and explore our selection!