At the time, Baldwin became aware that Burns of London was also in search of a savior.
Baldwin made an attempt to purchase Fender, but was outbid by CBS, the huge broadcasting and entertainment company looking to get into “leisure time” markets.
Several generations of the Wulsin family continued to run the company.
The piano building thrived and Baldwin became the first American piano company to win the Grand Prix Award at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Louis Exposition in 1904 and London’s Anglo-American Exposition in 1914.
Burns guitars were generally well designed and produced, with feather-touch vibratos, a unique “gear-box” truss rod adjuster (which ended up on many Baldwin-era Gretsches), and nifty electronic features like the “Wild Dog” setting on the Jazz Split Sound (basically an early out-of-phase tone).
Since most of Burns’ guitars ended up in the Baldwin line, there’s no need to go into them at length.
The Baldwin story goes back a bit further, to Cincinnati in 1862, when a reed organ and violin teacher named Dwight Hamilton Baldwin opened a music store and eventually became one of the largest piano retailers in the Midwest. In 1890, Baldwin decided to go into piano manufacturing and began building upright pianos.
Joining him as a bookkeeper in 1866 was Lucien Wulsin, of Alexandria, Kentucky. He passed away in 1899 and Wulsin took over the operation.
In the early ’70s he became involved with the Hayman brand, and later in the decade (when the Baldwin fiasco was long over), resuscitated the Burns name on some interesting new designs, including the Flyte and the Scorpion.
Burns passed away in ’98, revered as one of England’s great guitarmakers.
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.