Arthur Linter had many stories to share, like the one about his real birthday. “My mother told me, ‘Your birthday is March 14, 1913, but it says April 5 on your birth certificate because the doctor put it in his pocket and carried it around for a few days before he filed it.’”
He was a street wise kid from Brooklyn who took night classes to become an accountant and lawyer while working the day job of assisting his father in making headstones at a local cemetery. “The work was rewarding but I often told my father that his clients kept dying off.”
Arthur’s father, Isaac was born in Hungry and became a tailor during World War I and later opened his headstone business. Arthur’s mother, Mimi, was born in New York City and was a trained bookkeeper. The couple had 4 boys and one daughter, who was the oldest and the only one afforded piano lessons. Arthur recalled, “My sister Gertrude played piano for silent movies and my brothers and I would get in for five cents to hear her play music while we would watch these great horse chases or train robberies. It was very exciting.”
Growing up in Brooklyn, Arthur followed his mother around to learn about bookkeeping and became very interested in the field. He later took night classes at NYU to become an accountant and studied at St. John’s University, where he earned his law degree. After working for the Sear’s Company before World War II, Arthur was hired to oversee the piano inventory of Winter Piano Company in New York, which was owned in part by the family who also controlled Sears. During the war he was put to work on the special government project of creating floor boards for gliders, the same gliders used during the Normandy invasion.
After the war as materials became available he oversaw the piano production as it began again at the Winter building in New York. Under the direction of the then President Henry Heller, Arthur assisted in the purchasing of many of the best known piano names such as Ivers and Pond, Aeolian, Mason and Hamlin and Knabe. Arthur was also part of the team that reintroduced the player piano in the 1950s and the 64 note piano as a lower priced product.
As the Vice President of Finance for the Winter Piano Company, Arthur played a vital role in the growth and expansion of the company while gaining the friendship and respect of many in the industry.
Although Arthur’s body was suffering from Parkinson’s at the time of the NAMM Oral History interview on June 30, 2004, his mind was sharp with details of the career he loved and the many friends he made along the way. As we concluded the interview he looked up at me and said, “Thank you for coming, I enjoyed telling you these stories.”
Arthur Linter passed away on March 11, 2006 in his Seal Beach home. He was three days shy of his 93rd birthday.
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