Kay Musical Instrument Company

Kay Musical Instrument Company was a US musical instrument manufacturer of the United States, in operation from 1890. Kay was established in 1931 in Chicago, Illinois, by Henry "Kay" Kuhrmeyer, from the assets of the former Stromberg-Voisinet (founded by Henry "Kay" Kuhrmeyer, Frank C. Voisinet, and Charles G. Stromberg).[4]

Kay Musical Instrument Company
TypePrivate (1890–1969)
Brand (1969–present)
IndustryMusical instruments
PredecessorGroeschel Mandolin Co. (1890), Stromberg-Voisinet (1921)
FounderHenry "Kay" Kuhrmeyer
Defunct1968 [1]
FateCompany defunct in 1968; Brand acquired by W.M.I. in 1969
SuccessorWeiss Musical Instruments (1969-1980),
The Kay Guitar Company (1980-present)
Key people
Sidney M. Katz
Tony Blair
ProductsElectric, lap steel and acoustic guitars, double basses, violins, cellos, banjos, amplifiers
ParentValco (1967–68) [1]

The company produced instruments in its plant until 1968, when it ceased operations after a brief merging with Valco. In 1969, rights to name "Kay" was acquired by Weiss Musical Instruments (WMI) . The brand has been used by several manufacturers since then, mainly attached to Japanese import guitars.[5][1]

Kay offered their first electric guitar in 1936 — five years after the Rickenbacker Frying pan, and the same year as the Gibson ES-150. However, the Kuhrmeyer-owned Stromberg-Voisinet brand had produced the "Stromberg Electro" even earlier, in 1928, making the short-lived model arguably the first commercial electric guitar.[6][7][8][9]