Scanned advertisement courtesy of Evan Finch
Emil Wulschner, born in 1847 and a veteran of the Franco-Prussian War, immigrated to Indianapolis from Germany in 1875 after marrying Flora (Sullivan) Stewart, a livelong Indianapolis resident who met Wulschner while finishing her music studies in Munich. Shortly after arriving in Indianapolis, Wulschner founded Indiana’s oldest orchestra, The Musicverian, now known as the Anthenaeum Pops Orchestra. In 1888, Wulschner founded the Emil Wulschner Music Company. Shortly after founding the company bearing his name, Wulschner added his stepson, Alexander Stewart, as a partner, and changed the name to Wulschner and Son Music Company. The name changed to Wulschner-Stewart Music Company after Wulschner’s death in 1900.
The Wulschner-Stewart Music Company not only printed sheet music, such as original compositions by Flora Wulschner, but also produced fine musical instruments. In 1896, the company started producing guitars and mandolins under the “Regal” name. Due to financial stresses, Wulschner-Stewart Music Company was forced to sell the Regal name to the Chicago firm of Lyon and Healy. The company also produced two main models of pianos – one called the Wulschner piano and the other called the Stewart piano. The store pictured in this advertisement, of the Wulschner-Stewart Music Company’s 1909 location, was reported to have an entire floor consisting just of player pianos. The Wulschner-Stewart Music Company would remain at the address on this postcard until the company dissolved in 1914.
Thought you might like a little history. I think it was my great grandfather that was a brother to Mr. Wulschner. After Mr. Wulschner came to the U.S., he wanted to bring his brother here from Germany. His family was poor and his wife told him that she would bring his brother to the U.S. if he dropped his last name. His last name then became Frederick.
I just happened along this site about the Wulschner – Stewart Music Company while trying to find out any information on my
Great Great Grandfather Albert Frederick. I noticed your comment and remembered my Mother telling me this same story about my Family
Is there any chance we are talking about the same Frederick line? My Great Great Grandfather was Albert Frederick and his wife was Sofia Wilhelmina Harnish.
Thank you so much,
It has taken me two years, but I just now saw your comment. I hope that you have checked the notify me of follow-up comments by e-mail as I am afraid I didn’t. I haven’t had the time or money to invest in my ancestry, but I do know that I am related to the Frederick Wulschner family. Please look me up on Facebook in Manilla Indiana or reply to this note. Would love to compare notes!!
I am so very happy that you wrote this informative historical article. You see, my grandfather Ernest Booker purchased a Wulschner upright piano some time around 1910-1912. He was not a wealthy man but loved music and as, the family story goes, was able to convince grandma (a German immigrant) to marry him because owned this fine “German-made” piano. The piano remained in their home and all of their five children, my father included, learned to play. Then, the piano was given to my father after he married my mother. And, the tradition continued with all six of us learning to play on it. As the years passed, the piano has been lovingly cared for and was given to me by mother in 2006. I hired a special piano mover to bring it to my home here in Chicago and then hired an special piano-tuner who specializes in tuning antique piano. Would you believe he told me that this piano was so WELL-MADE and so well cared for – that it was hardly out of tune?!?! I could not believe it. We had quite a nice conversation about the craftsmanship of the workers of that time period of days long gone!
With the Wulschner name proudly stamped on the front and beautifully carved on the inside top of this cabinet grand – we often wondered where the piano came from. So, thank you so much for adding more detail to our family history.
Debra (Booker) Panos
I am so glad you enjoyed the article and am happy I was able to help you in your search! Sounds like you have a wonderful heirloom!
One additional point of interest. Prior to the construction of their new building at 229-231 North Pennsylvania Street, the company had been at 128-130 North Pennsylvania in the “Exchange Block” for several years. They were still listed at that address in the 1909 R. L. Polk directory, but were listed at the new address in the 1910 directory.
To Jessica Ballard Barnett — I just saw article on Wulschner-Stewart Music Company, Most of the information I have found to date regarding the Regal Mandolin Brand name, no one knew what happened after the demise of Mr Wulschner, There was a gap between his death and 1905 when the company was sold to Lyons and Healy. Now this all makes since to me. I have acquired a Regal mandolin, that is believed to be from this era. I would love to get a copy of your article and the picture of the store. I was also interested if any one has any old ads or sales literature showing some of there mandolins. I would be happy to pay for copies of anything you may have. Thanks, Rick
I have an old Organ book I found & I was wondering if you could tell me if it’s worth something or not.
I have recently come into possession of an old pump style organ with the name of Emil Wulschner printed on the front. I am currently in the process of “restoring” the organ, and would welcome any info you might have. I can send photos, but I see no way to do that. Thanks!
Wow- what a cool find! On our contact form, you can add an image (unless something is malfunctioning!)
I’d love to see! Cheers, Tiffany
My parents have an old Wulschner upright piano that they are trying to figure out what to do with. It’s been in their house for 50+ years. Appears to still play although it is badly out of tune. Any thoughts on whether it’s worth keeping?
We get asked these kinds of questions with some frequency, but I really don’t have an answer for you. It’s really cool you have this vestige of the past, but as to value…? Sadly, I have no clue. I have had other friends who had trouble giving away pianos. If it were mine, and I didn’t want it anymore, I might see if I could give it to an underprivileged child who cannot afford one. Get it tuned and donate? Otherwise, enjoy your cool piece of Indy history!
I would be interested. I am actually from this family. I did leave a comment a few years ago.
Thank you for sharing.