Wurlitzer, Farny Reginald
Wurlitzer, Farny Reginald.jpg
(1883–1972) The youngest son of founder Rudolph Wurlitzer, Farny is sent to North Tonawanda to run the former de Kleist Musical Instrument Mfg. Co. shortly after it is purchased by Wurlitzer in 1908. Farny brings eccentric English inventor Robert Hope-Jones to the plant in 1910, initiating the worldwide success of the "Mighty Wurlitzer" theater organ. When the Wurlitzer company finds itself overextended in the wake of the Great Depression, Farny fights to keep the North Tonawanda facility open. In 1934 he strikes a deal with Homer Capehart to manufacture his automatic phonograph, which becomes the iconic Wurlitzer jukebox. Under his leadership the company also produces a successful line of electronic organs for home use, and the North Tonawanda plant becomes the flagship of the Wurlitzer factories, with 3,000 employees. After his death in 1972, jukebox and organ production are phased out, leaving 200 employees in 1974. By 1975, all manufacturing at the North Tonawanda plant is stopped, and by August 1976, all company activities are removed to other locations.
- Palkovic, Mark. Wurlitzer of Cincinnati. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press, 2015.
- Photo from North Tonawanda Public Library
- Birth and death information from Find a Grave
Collection: Wurlitzer Manufacturing Company