Archaeology Blog
Germain Piano Company

The exhibition of the first Germain piano was reported in the 1897 Saginaw Evening News with the comment that “The value of such an institution to the commercial interest of the city is better appreciated when one considers that more than two-thirds of the cost of piano is paid to workingmen for labor performed in its construction.” 
 
Started by Edward Germain, the Germain Piano Company was the largest and most important of Saginaw’s piano factories. Germain arrived in Saginaw in the 1860s. He started his own business in 1874.  Manufacturing a wide array of products – wood pulleys, box shooks (large prefabricated crates), doors, blinds and numerous other products, he developed a highly successful business.  By 1893 he had constructed a new facility located near E. Genesee between Holland and Remington. He employed 400 men.  On May 20, 1893 the plant was destroyed by fire.  The loss was $325,000 with only $31,000 of insurance.  Almost immediately he started to rebuild.  It was in this new plant that the Germain Piano Company was born. By the early part of the 20th century, the successful firm was selling pianos throughout the country and had showrooms in Detroit and Toledo.  In Saginaw, Edward Germain had a former Unitarian Church on the corner of Millard and South Washington converted into the Germain Temple of Music, a combination showroom and recital hall with space for music studios. 
 
The firm prospered until the late teens.  After that point, the Germain family started a new business and constructed a new factory that specialized in the manufacturer of piano backs for other companies.