Home Organ Boom

Thomas Austin was a key part of the Sherman Clay team for over 40 years!  The store chain focused on pianos; however, Thomas recalls the home organ boom in the 1970s as the company was a Hammond Organ dealer.  The company was formed in San Francisco in 1870 and grew to be the biggest (for a time)...
Carma Lou Beck was an active musician and teacher when she began working in music retail in Iowa in the 1960s. She opened her own store in Cedar Rapids in 1967, after working for a few other stores, including one owned and operated by the Wurlitzer Company.  By the time Carma Lou's House of Music...
Lyle Bird grew up in a musical family with his mother playing the piano daily. As a teenager he played trumpet in several swing bands during the big band era including with such leaders as Henry Busse. He played in a band during his navy service during World War II and again played in several small...
Steve Bird joined the piano industry right out of school and established a life-long career that he has thoroughly enjoyed.  While working for Sherman Clay, Steve was asked to open up several locations, which became a niche for him.  Understanding and embracing the business element as well as the...
Ed Blasco was one of the best known organ salesmen in Kansas City during the 1970s. He worked for Sherman Clay, Jenkins Music and even ran his own store, Ed Blasco’s Conn Organ Center in the mid 1970s. Ed’s passion for the organ was the foundation of his selling and he never lost sight of the...
Richard Bridgeman was the Director of Product Management of Hammond beginning in the mid 1960s. Dick came to the company as the original B-3 organ production was coming to an end. He oversaw the introduction of the new semi-conductor organs. With his warm personality and detailed understanding of...
Fred Buch has always been interested in combining electronic technology with pipe organs.  When he entered the pipe organ business in the 1957, electronic organs were not sufficiently advanced to provide a high quality pipe sound.  Fred added pianos and home organs in 1960 resulting in a three...
Robert Campbell began his career in the music industry working for Conn Organ in 1947, the year the company gave a unit to President Harry S. Truman. Bob later worked with Don Leslie, the inventor of the famed Leslie organ speaker. Bob played an important role in the Leslie Speaker Company being...
Bernie Capicchiano was coached from the Accounting world to manage a new music retail store for the Brash Group in Australia in 1973.His long career in the industry includes a strong relationship with the Hammond-Suzuki Company as well as Johannus Organs, Schimmel, Hailun and Bernstein Pianos....
Curt Carter was in the right place at the right time. As a piano dealer, he watched the boom of the home market explode during the late 1960s and 70s. He pooled his resources, teamed with organ suppliers and established Organ Exchange. The chain of retail stores, particularly those which dominated...

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