Kimball International Inc: From Piano Keys to Office Keyboards in One Easy Lesson

Kimball International Inc. is composed of two grand business groups: Kimball Electronics and The Office Furniture Group. Many people, however, recognize the name of Kimball as famous makers of pianos.

One of the oldest piano manufacturers in the United States, Kimball was founded as a piano dealership in 1857. The company developed a special vertical integration that made affordable upright pianos accessible to keyboard-loving adults, as well as little kids taking piano lessons across the nation. By the year 1910, they were making some 4,000 of these fine instruments per year.

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In 1996, Kimball stopped making pianos and turned to other avenues. Kimball International was previously called Jasper, Inc, renamed in 1974. Two years later, the company went public. Today, Kimball Office and Kimball Electronics have established themselves with the same respectability that their pianos earned, generations before.

Through the years, the astute managers of Kimball International have grown it into a remarkable juggernaut of a business. Kimball Electronics and Kimball Office provide jobs for nearly 8,000 employees, and post annual sales well into the billion dollar mark. The company has collected numerous awards, including listings in “America’s Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine in 2004, “Ten Safest Companies in America” by Occupational Hazards magazine in 2006 and “Best Big Companies in America,” a prestigious award presented by Forbes magazine in 2007. They are also one of the 50 largest public companies in Indiana.

Corporate offices and many Kimball International operating plants are clustered in a small Indiana city called Jasper, just two hour southwest of Indianapolis. The town has a deep German heritage running through its cultural veins, as do many Midwest communities. There is no doubt a connection between the first Kimball piano plant and the near-worship of piano making found in Germany, where the finest pianos in the world have always come from.

Kimball International Inc.
1600 Royal St
Jasper, IN 47549-1022