BALDWIN
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BALDWIN
Amplifiers previously produced between 1965 and 1970. Baldwin amplifiers were initially built in England by Burns; later models were assembled in Booneville, AR. Distributed by the Baldwin Piano Company of Cinncinnati, OH.
Baldwin has been a big name in pianos dating back to 1862 when Dwight Hamilton Baldwin opened a music store in Cincinnati. In 1866, Lucien Wulsin came to work for Baldwin as a bookkeeper. The store became so successful, he started manufacturing pianos in 1890. In 1899, Baldwin died, and left the company to Wulsin. The Baldwin company stayed in Wulsin's name for several generations, and by the early 1960s, Baldwin was ready to get into guitars and amplifiers. Their first attempt was to buy Fender Electric Instruments. Negotiations began with Fender in April of 1964, who offered $5 million (minus Fender's liabilities). When talks bogged down over acoustic guitar and electric piano operations, Randall met with representatives of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). An agreement with CBS was signed in October, 1964, for $13 million that took effect in January of 1965.
Baldwin, outbid by CBS but still looking to diversify its product lines, then bought the Burns manufacturing facilities from Jim Burns (regarded as "the British Leo Fender") in September, 1965. U.S. distributed models bore the Baldwin trademark. During Baldwin's first year of ownership, only the logos were changed on the amplifiers. Many amplifiers were only changed cosmetically (the names Baldwin and Burns appear separately on the exact same amp several times), whereas some series were completely redesigned. The Baldwin company then began assembling the imported Burns parts in Booneville, Arkansas. By the late 1960s, all Baldwin amps were different than what Burns models were produced before Burns was sold. Amplifier (and guitar) production ceased in 1970.
Baldwin acquired the Gretsch trademark when Fred Gretsch, Jr. sold the company in 1967. As part of a business consolidation, the New York Gretsch operation was moved to the Arkansas facility in 1970. Baldwin then concentrated its corporate interests in the Gretsch product line, discontinuing further Baldwin/Burns models. For further Baldwin/Gretsch history, see Gretsch (source: Paul Day, The Burns Book, Per Gjorde, Pearls and Crazy Diamonds: Fifty Years of Burns Guitars 1952-2002, and Michael Wright, Vintage Guitar Magazine).

From Blue Book Publications:


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