Home Organ Boom

Rob Meads recalls his father purchasing a Lowrey Organ and how he could think of nothing he would rather do than have a career making music! As a teenager, Rob was hired by legendary music retailer Swanny Swanson in Minnesota to play an organ in a grocery store, which was a big hit. Rob was trained...
Lloyd Meyer is the president of Renner US, the world-renowned provider of piano keyboard actions. His long and productive career began with retail experience in Minnesota at the large Dayton Company. When the Dayton chain began carrying organs and pianos, Lloyd took a great interest in the...
Don Middleton taught music lessons around town before working for Billy Hill at Hill’s Music in 1967. A few months later Mr. Hill announced his retirement and asked Don if he wanted to buy the store. With a small loan, which Don paid off in just over a year, he purchased the store. By 1970, he had...
Herbert Newton opened his piano store in 1939, a few years after becoming a piano tuner in the Norfolk area. Back in the beginning of the store, traveling out to nearby farms was key to his success. A decade later he found the key to be servicing pianos for the US Navy. Herb spent decades bringing...
Sean O'Shea began front pumping the organ during the big boom of home organs in the 1970s. His first gig was for a music store when he was just 14. He grew up in the business and worked for many of the top names in the piano industry. Sean had his own store for years and worked in the wholesale...
Dick Papalia witnessed a need for organ and piano owners in his neighborhood to have their instruments serviced in the early years of the home organ boom of the 1960s. As a result, in 1968, with the help of the Baldwin Piano Company, Dick established his music store. The store was originally called...
Antoni Punti and Gabriel teamed up with Keith Mardak in 1972 to form Hal Leonard Spain. The company’s success was fueled by the home organ boom, which was an important milestone of growth for the music industry in Spain. Years before, Antoni was the first person to establish Hammond Organ Studios...
Frank Reda worked in the insurance business as a youth, where he credits the training on customer service and sales that he later applied to his work in the music industry. In the 1970s, he was hired by Wurlitzer to manage their retail stores in the Chicago area. While there, he helped train...
Allen Riley served as the district sales manager for the Baldwin Piano Company.  Allen learned guitar as a child and continues to play music.  He became a Minister for several years before he found an opportunity to work for Mississippi Music as a piano and organ salesman in 1981.  He worked in one...
Jack Ripperger was the director of marketing for the Hammond Organ Company for seven years, at the height of the home organ boom in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. During his time in the industry Jack played a vital role in increasing the promotion of African-American musicians who...

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