Dwight Hamilton Baldwin

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Dwight Hamilton Baldwin

Birthdate: (77)
Birthplace: Erie, PA, United States
Death: August 23, 1899 (77)
Cincinnati, OH, United States
Place of Burial: Walnut Hills, Hamilton county, Ohio, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Mark Baldwin and Sophronia Waugh
Husband of Emerine Summers
Brother of James Baldwin; Samuel Baldwin; Lewis Baldwin; Elizabeth Baldwin and William H. Baldwin

Occupation: singing/music teacher;founder Baldwin Pianos
Managed by: Harrison Victor Baldwin
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dwight Hamilton Baldwin

DWIGHT HAMILTON7, Mark6, Ashbel5, Joel4, Samuel3, Josiah2, John1 (of Milford)


Dwight Hamilton Baldwin, son of Mark Baldwin and Sophronia Waugh, was b. in Erie, Pennsylvania on Sept. 15,1821. His family were devout Presbyterians and many were ministers. As a boy, his ambition was also to pursue this calling. To that end he attended Oberlin College but, since he was not of a rugged nature considered necessary to become a curcuit-riding parson, he was advised to pursue other endeavors. Since his next great love was music, he then studied and began teaching music and choir in Churches north and south of Maysville, Kentucky. He m. Dec.31,1844, with EMERINE SUMMERS, of Elizaville, Kentucky.

In the early 1850's the family moved to Ripley, Ohio where they lived and he traveled through Brown and Adams counties; teaching music. He was elected a ruling elder of the 3rd Presbyterian Church in Cinncinnati, became superintendent of the churche's Sunday schools in 1867, and continued in this profession until 1884. During these years his musical advice was sought regarding instrumentation as well as orchestration until he finally decided that he would become an agent in the sale of the musical instruments he had freely recommended. In the latter part of 1862 he left the teaching business and entered into the sale of pianos, reed organs, and melodeons.

The first printed advertisement of D.H. Baldwin was in the Cinncinnati Daily Gazette on July 1,1865; giving his business address as 92 W. Fourth St, and promoting Chickering Pianos. The 1864-1865 Cinncinnati Directory listed Mr. Baldwin as a music teacher; however, in 1865-1866 he appears as a "dealer in pianos and organs" and "Boudoir organs", and a new address of 34 W. Fourth St in Cinncinnati.

In 1877, the firm opened a retail store in Louisville and, in 1878, a similar store in Indianapolis. By the mid 1880's they decided to manufacture their own stock, instead of acting as agents to other companies and, in 1890 the Baldwin Piano Company was incorporated.

The employees were highly trained craftsmen, including a highly motivated and well trained John Warren Macy. In his able hands was placed the chore of designing the new Baldwin Piano. Besides knowing the finer points of cabinet making, piano tuning and regulation, he also was trained in the fundamentals of acoustics and physics. He devised a complete set of designs for an upright piano,including castings for the iron plate,dimensions and tensions of all the strings and their layout on the bridge, and the soundboard for the piano. All of this resulted in a new product with improved tone production.The first Baldwin piano was shipped to the Cinncinnati store on Feb. 26,1891. Continuing on with the design of a grand piano, the company soon was offering both products for sale anywhere within the United States.

In order to be able to expand, it was determined to create a more moderately priced upright; and another factory was started. What to name the new product became the issue; with Mr. Baldwin's middle name already being used for the Hamilton organ line, and his first name being eliminated because of the fact that Dwight,Illinois, at that time, was a renowned location of an alcoholic treatment facility. It became very clear that the new piano would require further thought. It was later decided that the name Ellington be used, to honor the family of some great friends of Mr. Baldwin...The new company became the Ellington Company, and was an immediate hit.

Baldwin was not a businessman but had an outstanding ability to surround himself with partners a lot abler than he was. These partners made his share in the business, that he started in 1862 with $2,000, to amount to nearly half a million, when he died, in 1899. 

He did not live to see the last great accomplishment come to life. The appearence of the Baldwin pianos,both grand and upright, Ellington pianos, Hamilton organs, and a complete factory model of the manufacturing plant at the Paris Exposition of 1900 (the last of these great Expositions). Since 1867 the Exposition had been conducting a great International Exposition of the Arts and Manufacturers. The awards at these espositions had become the outstanding mark of international quality and distinction. The French had established that an exhibitor, no matter how distinguished his product, would be awarded a silver medal at his 1st appearance, and only at his 3rd (or 22 years) appearance would he even expect to be in the running for the highly sought Grand Prix award. This year, though, awards were to be given based on actual worth rather than longevity.

The presentation of awards, when announced late in the year, was the culmination in fullfilling all of the dreams started by Baldwin; the Baldwin Piano received the Grand Prix prize. Soon the concert grand piano of choice was to become the Baldwin Grand. Baldwin and his partners created an organization which designed and built the Baldwin Piano; and MADE IT FAMOUS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

Published 1953 by The Newcomen Society in North America in New York.

Written in English.

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Dwight Hamilton Baldwin's Timeline

September 15, 1821
Erie, PA, United States
August 23, 1899
Age 77
Cincinnati, OH, United States
Walnut Hills, Hamilton county, Ohio, United States