KOHLER & CAMPBELL — See Samick.
Mammoth Piano Co.
Reminiscent of some piano designs attempted 200 years ago, the Mammoth is one of the most unusual pianos being built today. Dubbed a Vertical Concert Grand, Mammoth's model VCG stands 7' 2" tall, weighs 1,200 pounds, and has the scale design and sound of a 9' concert grand.
The piano's immense structure includes six laminated wooden back posts and a welded steel frame, yet despite its bulk, the instrument appears quite attractive in its custom-made cabinet of Brazilian cherry. The soundboard and ribs are of Sitka spruce. The action, invented specifically for this piano, appears superficially to be like that of a vertical, but actually contains the double-escapement feature of a grand piano action.
Inventor-builder Chris Chernobieff got his start assembling dulcimer and harpsichord kits, and branched out into piano service and rebuilding about 15 years ago. Inspired by other technicians who built their own pianos, Chernobieff asked, "Why not me?" Having spent the last several years designing and building the Mammoth, he now has plans for a 6' vertical and some innovative grand models.
Mammoth model VCG retails for $98,000.
MASON & HAMLIN
Mason & Hamlin Piano Company
4111 North Freeway Blvd.
Sacramento, California 95834
Pianos made by: Mason & Hamlin Piano Co., Haverhill, Massachusetts and Sacramento, California
Mason & Hamlin was founded in 1854 by Henry Mason and Emmons Hamlin. Mason was a musician and businessman and Hamlin was an inventor working with reed organs. Within a few years, Mason & Hamlin was one of the largest makers of reed organs in the U.S. The company began making pianos in 1881 in Boston, and soon became, along with Chickering, among the most prestigious of the Boston piano makers. By 1910, Mason & Hamlin was considered Steinway's chief competitor. Over the next 85 years, Mason & Hamlin changed hands many times. (You can read the somewhat lengthy and interesting history in The Piano Book.) In 1996 the Burgett brothers, owners of PianoDisc, purchased Mason & Hamlin out of bankruptcy and set about reestablishing manufacturing at the factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts. At present, the company manufactures about 350 pianos per year at this factory.
Since acquiring the company, the Burgetts have brought back most of the piano models from the company's Boston era (1881–1932) that originally made the company famous. Some have been refinements of original designs, others have been completely new. First came the 5' 8" model A and 7' model BB, both of which had been manufactured by the previous owner and so needed less work to resurrect. Then, in fairly rapid succession, came the 6' 4" model AA, the 9' 4" model CC concert grand, and the 5' 4" model B. The development of the model AA was an especially interesting project: in the process, the engineering staff standardized certain features, refined manufacturing processes, and modernized jigs and machinery, improvements that afterward were applied to the company's other models. The 50" model 50 vertical piano has also been reintroduced and redesigned, with longer keys for a more grand-like touch, and improved pedal leverage. Internal parts for the verticals are made in Haverhill, then installed in an imported cabinet in the company's Sacramento factory, where it also installs PianoDisc systems.