UNION, NJ – The WM Kratt Company, famous for its Pitch Pipe and Harmonica manufacturing, was located at 988 Johnson Place beginning in 1925. The popular pitch pipe style was invented in Union.
After coming to the United States from Germany, William Jacob Kratt, Sr., was hired as a machinist working a lathe for a local businessman named Thomas Edison.
Kratt worked his way up through the ranks and became a foreman. In 1915 Kratt left Edison to work for a string manufacturer in New Brunswick, NJ. They produced strings for guitars, banjos and violins. In 1918 he moved back to Germany and started his first solo venture, The National Harmonica Company located in his old home town of Trossingen.
In 1925, after many successful years in Germany, he returned to New Jersey and began making music boxes and “plates” for musical toys. The original Wm. Kratt Company plant (1925-2002) was located at 988 Johnston Place, Union.
The Kratt family manufactured the pitch pipe for 76 years until February 27, 2001 when they sold the business.