The Gemeinhardt story begins with Kurt Gemeinhardt, a fourth generation flute maker. He was born in Markneukirchen, Germany, a region with two centuries of instrument making tradition, and served an apprenticeship under his father. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, Kurt left Germany to work his trade in St. Gallen, Switzerland, where he crafted handmade flutes for the world's most prestigious musicians. While in Switzerland his fame as the foremost creator of quality hand-crafted musical instruments spread worldwide.
In 1928, Kurt Gemeinhardt was persuaded to travel to America to create instruments in Elkhart, Indiana. After twenty years of developing flutes for others, Kurt opened his own manufacturing plant, The Gemeinhardt Company, where every instrument since has been engraved with the Gemeinhardt name. Initially, Kurt's vision was to produce a limited quantity of professional all-silver flutes, but demand for his unique flutes increased beyond his expectations. The original 20- by 40-foot Gemeinhardt factory was replaced in 1951 with a new plant, designed by Kurt himself, to meet new manufacturing needs. By this time the Gemeinhardt line expanded to include mid-priced flutes, soon followed by the introduction of entry-level flutes. Gemeinhardt's newest expansion occurred in September 1997 with the acquisition of Roy Seaman Piccolo Company. Roy Seaman manufactures handcrafted, grenadilla wood piccolos. This name is known worldwide for professional quality instruments.
Through growth and product demand, Gemeinhardt emerged as the music industry's largest exclusive manufacturer of flutes and piccolos. Today, Gemeinhardt Co., Inc. manufactures flutes and piccolos for all levels of musicians, ranging from student to professional. With the advancement of technology, sophisticated machinery enables a level of precision and consistency that was once uncontrollable. However, it is the human touch that properly fits and regulates each flute to reach optimum sound quality and harmonization.
At Gemeinhardt instruments are globally manufactured, utilizing the expertise and efficiencies of factories in the U.S., Taiwan, and China. For example, while many of the key components are produced in all three countries, the C flute head joints and all of piccolos are made in the U.S., The flute final assembly is done in Taiwan and China to meticulous standards. A final quality check occurs in the U.S.