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Philip A. Starck (Philip A. Starck)

Philip A. Starck

Piano Manufacturer.  Philip Adam Starck established the P. A. Starck Piano Company with headquarters located in Chicago, Illinois.   He loved music and became interested in the inner workings of the piano early in his life. His story is one of the true rags to riches stories with him starting as an errand boy in the well-established Story and Clark Piano Company, slowly advancing in the company while learning the details of manufacturing a piano, and then establishing his own successful company.  This on-the-job experience became an invaluable tool for him. One biography said, “If Phil Starck could not sell a piano, no one could”.  He was truly admired among the men in the piano trade around the world. He established the Starck and Strack Piano Company in 1891, sold it to Russell Piano Company in 1894 and then returned to Story and Clark Piano Company. In 1904, he once again established his own piano company, the P.A. Starck Piano Company. Starck was no ordinary, run-of-the mill businessman.  He was an entrepreneur in every sense of the word and understood the piano business better than some of the most noted makers of his time.  Starck knew the public wanted top quality pianos, yet he understood that, just like pianos, buyers came in all ‘sizes’ and from many different walks of life.  The best way to fill such a need was to make pianos for every customer.  From the beautiful concert grand piano to the less expensive uprights used by children for practicing, he built them all:  He made the upright, baby grand, grand and reproducing player pianos under the brands: Brent; Brent, Combinette which was an upright piano and organ combination; Kenmore; Starck; Starck & Starck; and the Starckette. They also made Jesse French pianos from 1955 until the company closed. The Starck bent acoustic rim gave their upright piano the tone of a grand piano making the instrument especially well adapted for concert use. The Starck name eventually became a registered trademark of Steiner-Dietmann Piano Company of South Africa. USA Starck pianos were no longer in production by 1965.  He was the youngest of five children of Rev. Christian W. Starck, a Lutheran minister, and his wife Kate Urban; they had emigrated from Germany to United States in 1851. Many relatives supported his business adventure in various aspects of the firm from detail woodworkers, to traveling about selecting the wood to be used, to driving trucks or by working in the warehouses.  In 1880 he married Margaret Zimmerman, and their children were Philip Telesphor, Lillian Marguerite, and Gladys Muriel. P.T. Starck, the founder’s son, was the company’s president by 1920.   The son was company president for a couple of years when his father, now a widower, suddenly died while traveling on the West Coast with his daughters, Marguerite and Gladys.  At one time there were dozens of piano manufactures in the Chicago, but Stark was one of the few American piano manufacturers to survive the Great Depression without merging with a larger conglomerate.  Even in today’s market, a Starck piano can be a priceless piece. His early 1900’s newspaper ads stated the piano had a 25-year warrantee but would “last a lifetime”; there was certainly some truth in that statement. (bio by: Linda Davis)  Family links:  Parents:  Christian W. Starck (1819 – 1897)  Catherina Starck (1826 – 1895)  Sibling:  Emilie L. Starck Scharringhausen (1849 – 1893)*  Philip A. Starck (1860 – 1922) *Calculated relationship


  • May, 29, 1860
  • USA


  • March, 03, 1922
  • USA


  • Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum
  • Illinois
  • USA

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