The Peerless Piano Player Company – In 1913, Frederick Englehardt & Sons bought Seybold Piano & Organ Co. in Elgin, IL, and changed its name to Englehardt-Seybold Company. This firm took over the line of Peerless instruments from the old Peerless Piano Player Co.
The first product produced by the Peerless Piano Player Company was a ‘push up’-style piano player. It was their staple product from the 1890’s, and the inspiration for their name. The company began with men named Roth and Englehardt, the latter having trained at Steinway. Experts in piano production, they saw an opportunity to incorporate electric motors into their machines and, in 1898, they produced their first electric coin pianos. They advertised that, “The Peerless electric pneumatic piano is manufactured in all its forms, and is an instrument especially adapted for public places, moving picture theatres, summer pavilions, and other assemblies where music is required.”
Peerless produced the first electric pianos in the United States, the Style 44 (on display in the American Treasure Tour's Music Room– which operates 44 keys, while the traditional piano has 88 keys). Peerless became internationally known after a naval tour of battleships went around the world carrying their Peerless machines, playing them during their stays at foreign ports. Everyone wanted one, and the Style 44 became hugely popular. They could be found “in Cuba, South America, Australia, Africa, the Gold Coast, Alaska and the Klondike, and in many more of the uttermost corners of the earth.”
In 1899, they became the first American company to cut their own rolls as well.