Lindeman was a name used by a series of piano manufacturers in New York in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The concern was founded by William Lindeman (1794 – 1875) on a small scale in Dresden in about 1822, and reestablished by him in New York City in 1835 or 1836, where it grew to a medium size within twenty years. American piano historian Daniel Spillane credited him as one of the first successful immigrant German piano makers in the United States.
William’s sons eventually became partners in the firm, reorganizing first as Lindeman & Son and then Lindeman & Sons and each of them worked in the industry following their father’s death. Henry founded several independent piano manufacturing companies, the longest lived of which were Henry & S. G. Lindeman and the Melodigrand Corporation, both of New York; Herman is best known for patenting the firm’s unusually shaped “Cycloid” square piano, and with his brother Ferdinand, and son George, he headed the short-lived Lindeman Piano Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Lindeman & Sons name itself was eventually sold and was controlled by different companies after 1890, including the Wanamakers department store and the piano manufacturing conglomerate Aeolian-American, which also controlled H. & S. G. Lindeman and Melodigrand names. The trademark was most recently owned by Burgett Brothers, Inc., owners of manufacturers Mason & Hamlin and PianoDisk, and who own a number of trademarks from old American piano manufacturers. As of 2014, the brand is defunct.
William Lindeman was born Wilhelm Lindemann on March 28, 1794 in Jöhstadt, in eastern Saxony on the Bohemian border. He was the third of six sons of Karl Gotthilf Lindemann, a preacher and rector of the municipal school. Wilhelm learned cabinetmaking—alone among his brothers in not attending university—and in 1812 moved to Vienna where he worked as a fine furniture maker. He worked in Munich as a pianomaker for about a year, and subsequently in for piano manufacturers Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, and Rosenkranz in Dresden before establishing his own shop, which much later advertisements date at 1822. According to a short biography published in Der Deutsche Pionier of Cincinnati in 1875, Lindeman’s output was small and was sold principally through dealers in these cities, and he was unable to profit from what the article described as well regarded and innovative instruments.
Lindeman emigrated to New York City in 1834. The 1875 article recounted that with the help of a translator he applied to work at the piano manufactory of Dubois & Stodart, who operated a music store at 167 Broadway, but that Lindeman became indignant over the delay caused by the approval required by the pianomakers’ union, and instead took a non-union position tuning and regulating at Geib & Walker’s music store at 23 Maiden Lane. His reported starting salary was $8 a week, which was increased soon afterwards to $12, and he was able to earn as much as $18 a week ($470 today) by taking outside work as a tuner and repairman. He was able to save $80 by economizing and the following year sent for his family to join him.