In 1862, reed organ and violin teacher Dwight Hamilton Baldwin opened the doors to his music store in Cincinnati, Ohio. During the next quarter century, Baldwin became one of the largest piano retailers in the Midwestern United States. With an eye on increased growth opportunities, Baldwin decided to manufacture "the best piano that could be built" in 1890. The first Baldwin piano, an upright model, was available one year later. In 1895, the company introduced its first grand piano, a 5'4" model.
Baldwin established a worldwide reputation by winning top awards at key expositions. A Baldwin concert grand was honored with the Grand Prix Award at the 1900 International Exhibition in Paris, the first American-made piano to earn the award. It then took top honors in St. Louis (1904) and at London’s Anglo-American Exposition in 1914. By 1913, Baldwin enjoyed a robust international business, exporting pianos to 32 countries around the globe. Three years later, the company boasted retail divisions in Cincinnati, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, New York, St. Louis and San Francisco.
Baldwin’s artistic coming-of-age was reflected in the many performers who chose the Baldwin grand for concerts and radio broadcasts. Early Baldwin Artists included concert pianists José Iturbi, Wilhelm Bachaus and Walter Gieseking as well as composers Bela Bartok, Ottorino Respighi and Igor Stravinsky.
Artists such as Earl Wild, Dave Brubeck, Michael Feinstein and Bruce Hornsby, as well as organizations such as the Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati and Philadelphia orchestras have performed with and featured the SD10.
Baldwin upright pianos have earned the recommendations of music teachers for many years. Nearly 500,000 Hamilton studio pianos have been sold since its introduction in 1939, and Baldwin pianos are found in schools, churches, and performing venues across the United States. In terms of overall production, Baldwin built its 1 millionth vertical piano in 1973.
In late 2001 Baldwin became part of the Gibson Guitar Company (now Gibson Brands), another historic American musical instrument manufacturer. Then in 2007 the Baldwin Zhongshan Factory was opened in Zhongshan, China giving Baldwin a presence in the largest piano market in the world.
The company’s products today include a full line of upright pianos ranging from the classic Acrosonic Console to the 52” Concert Vertical, and six sizes of grand pianos in the new Baldwin Professional Series.