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As early as 1935, Baldwin pioneered electronic organs and developed the electronic church organ.
Over the years, Baldwin endorsers have been as diverse as President Harry Truman, composer Aaron Copeland, and Liberace.
Spurned by Fender, Baldwin dispatched treasurer Richard Harrison to England to negotiate with Jim Burns about purchasing his floundering company.
Harrison recalls that Burns was pleasant enough, but that he spent most of the next several weeks in talks with Burns’ attorney trying to sort out the terrible state of affairs at the guitarmaker.
In the late ’50s he was part of Burns-Weill, making some of the earliest production guitars in England.
In ’60 he founded his own company, Ormston Burns Ltd., which began selling guitars branded “Burns London.” Among his most endearing guitar designs were the pointy, horned Bison and a guitar made for Hank Marvin, England’s answer to the Ventures.
Despite the good times for guitar sellers, Burns London was in desperate need of a rescue.
This is where the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company of Cincinnati enters the picture.
Even new guitar importing companies were fueled by money from elsewhere: Strum & Drum (Norma) came from nuts and bolts; W. James Ormston Burns was born in England in 1925 and following World War II became involved in making guitars.In ’61, Lucien Wulsin III took over the reigns of the Baldwin empire, and by ’65 they were ready to jump on the guitar bandwagon.Coincidentally, Leo Fender was having health problems and decided to put Fender Musical Instruments on the block.Since the name was usually on the pickguard, this meant cutting out the Burns name and gluing a piece of pickguard material engraved with the Baldwin name over it.Once the existing Burns parts were used up, the Baldwin logo was incorporated into the parts, as normal. B.66 Deluxe, Bison, Baby Bison, Hank Marvin, Jazz Split Sound, Vibraslim, Double Six (12-string) and Virginian.