It is a fact in the year 1909 there were more new pianos sold (340,000) than new passenger car (306,000) registrations.02
Music and pianos were more important to families than a car in their driveway. Over half of the pianos sold were new player pianos. Some player piano prices were more expensive than a new car. But the H P Nelson piano was value priced at $488. The desirable easy play Gulbransen, cost over $900.
Now, at that price the H P Nelson piano did have a problem, the foot pedals were stiff and hard work to pump. Coopers called on the Union Spring & Mfg. to make new springs. Instead of replacing the 8 pound springs with 4 pounders the confused Union Spring sent over a pair of heavy 14 pound HPN foot pump pedal springs.
Families would shop the H P Nelson player piano at Cooper Music , with 12 music rolls included, because of the best piano price. The sales person, usually T T Watkins, would sit their Dad at the H P Nelson, with the family singing along to the song of the day, Dad, working the pedal pumps, would soon break out in a sweat. Meanwhile T T Watkins would bring their little girl over to the Gulbransen easy pump player piano where she would sit and play, effortlessly pumping the $900 piano, for Dad and the family.
Dad and the family would happily choose the easy play piano.
When young David Cooper asked T T Watkins, confidentially, “what do the initials H P stand for”? With a wink, as he kissed the piano on payday, he said,” Horse Power, I love you”!