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In 1856, Rudolph Wurlitzer started his firm in New York City shortly after immigrating from Europe, and by 1861 had been successful enough to build a new factory in Cincinnati, Ohio.
During these early years, Wurlitzer manufactured organs and melodeons, but imported the majority of his other instruments from European makers which were sold under the Wurlitzer label here in America.
The Wurlitzer piano is usually a 64-note instrument whose keyboard range is from A an octave above the lowest note of a standard 88-note piano to the C an octave below the top note of an 88-note piano.
Tone production in all models comprises a single steel reed for each key, activated by a miniature version of a conventional grand piano action and forming part of an electrostatic pickup system using a DC voltage of 170v.
The early models sustain pedals actually attached through the side of the instrument, with the pedal eventually being connected directly under the unit in the late 1950s.