The Wurlitzer Family, Part 4 - February 20, 2014

The ongoing saga of the mighty Wurlitzer family continues today with the third son of patriarch Franz Rudolph Wurlitzer, Farny.  Farny Reginald Wurlitzer was born in 1883, twelve years after his eldest brother Howard.  His life was linked to music from birth.  In fact, Farny's education from an early age revolved around the art and technique of producing musical instruments, including the automatic musical instruments that would fascinate children of all ages for decades, and that have become a large part of the American Treasure Tour.

Farny Wurlitzer.jpg

In 1909, shortly after the DeKleist factory was obtained by his brother, Farny moved to North Tonawanda, New York from the original family headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio to take charge of the manufacturing division of barrel organs.  He remained in that position for over twenty years before he took his turn as president of the company.  He remained chairman emeritus until his death in 1972.  Alas, the America-based Wurlitzer Company did not have long to last after his passing.  In 1988, it was bought out by Baldwin, and the last piano to bear the name Wurlitzer on it was produced in 2009.  Its legacy lives on, though, as the German Wurlitzer Company - completely independent of the American - continues to innovate as part of the Gibson Company.


Which of the following was NOT a major producer of nickelodeons in the early 20th century?

a)  Wurlitzer

b)  Link

c)  Seeburg

d)  Nelson-Wiggen

e)  Crosley

Answer Below


On this day in 1872, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened its doors to the public for the first time.  Originally, the collection was held in the private home of John Taylor Johnston, a man made incredibly wealthy through his ownership of numerous railroad companies.  Now located in its famous space within Central Park in Manhattan, the Met is the largest museum of its kind in the United States, and one of the ten largest in the world.  It has expansive collections of art and artifacts from ancient to modern times, as well as an extensive musical instrument collection (maybe some from the old Wurlitzer Rare Violin collection...?).

By 1962, the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States was well underway.  Five years before, the Soviets had put Sputnik into space - the first man-made satellite. John F Kennedy's declaration that Americans would walk on the moon before 1970 led to the development of the Project Mercury, and things were moving along well.  On this day, Mercury-Atlas 6 historically made John Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth.  He did so three times before safely returning to terra firma. 


On this day in 1902, a boy was born who would become one of America's most famous and influential nature photographers.  We refer, of course, to Ansel Adams.  Born in San Francisco a few short years before the Great Earthquake, Adams' father managed to lose a substantial fortune through bad financial dealings.  Adams' love was not of money anyway.  With few friends and a sickly disposition, he spent most of his free time out of doors.  His family encouraged the love of nature photography that was sparked in Adams when he saw the majestic views of Yosemite National Park.  Soon thereafter, taking pictures became his passion and his livelihood.  For over sixty years, Ansel Adams preserved the beauty of the world in pristine black-and-white images that have been admired and emulated ever since.

Born a quarter of a century after Adams to Bahamian fruit sellers when they were visiting Miami, Florida, Sidney Poitier became an American citizen through the accidental location of a premature birth. We can be grateful, since we can claim his as one of ours.  His importance in cinema is not to be overestimated. Poitier is the first African-American man to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor, which he did in 1963 for his performance in the film Lilies of the Field.  He continued making extremely relevant films that addressed sensitive racial issues, contributing substantially to the improvement of race relations during the highly volatile 1960s.  In 2009, President Barack Obama awarded Poitier with the Presidential Medal of Honor, the highest award any civilian could hope to receive, for his many accomplishments.


I lived in a country where I couldn't live where I wanted to live.  I lived in a country where I couldn't go where I wanted to eat.  I lived in a country where I couldn't get a job, except for those put aside for people of my colour or caste. - Sydney Poitier

Answer:  e)  Crosley