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 legendary name is known worldwide for professional quality instruments.