William Wallace Kimball

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Kimball's house at 1801 S. Prairie Avenue is the current United States Soccer Federation building.

William Wallace Kimball (1828–1904) was the founder of the company now known as Kimball International.

Kimball was born in Rumford, Maine. He moved to Decorah, Iowa, in his mid-twenties and became a real estate broker. He liquidated his investments just before the Panic of 1857 and moved to Chicago.[1]

In 1857 he also founded the Kimball Piano Company, beginning with only four pianos. He sold these at a profit and progressed from there, selling pianos manufactured in the east and shipped to his store. Before the Great Chicago Fire, he had a store in the Crosby Opera House.[2] His place of business was destroyed in the fire, and he lost over $100,000.[3]

He later moved to State and Adams Streets. In 1877, Kimball decided to manufacture his own pianos to keep down the cost of the final product. In 1881, he opened his own factory and began churning out around 100 pianos and organs every week. Kimball Avenue (3400W) is named after him.[dubious ]

Kimball is buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.


Tomb at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.
  1. ^ Bush, Douglas E. and Kassel, Richard (2006). The Organ: An Encyclopedia, p. 290. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-94174-1.
  2. ^ Williams, John-Paul (2002). The Piano, p. 117. New York: Billboard Books. ISBN 0-8230-8151-6.
  3. ^ Lapham, William B. (1890). History of Rumford, Oxford County, Maine: From Its First Settlement in 1779 to the Present Time, p. 263. Augusta, Maine: Press of the Maine Farmer.