Knabe, William


Founder and for a long time head of one of the largest piano manufacturing companies in the United States, the headquarters of which are now at Baltimore, Maryland. He was born at Kreutzberg, in Prussia, and as a boy was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker; later to a piano-maker at Gotha, in whose service he remained for three years. He then came to the United States and settled in Baltimore, where he worked four years for Mr. Hartge, a piano manufacturer. He then started his own factory with H. Gaehle as his partner. Upon Mr. Gaehle's death in 1855, William Knabe bought his interests and became owner of the entire business. In 1860 he rebuilt the factory on a large scale. Upon his death his two sons, William and Ernest and his son-in-law, Charles Keidel, took charge of the business. On account of the Civil War the business spread into the North and West where many of its branch offices are now located.