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Museum : Rocky Mount Instruments (RMI) Room

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RMI Instruments
Model 100 Rock-si-chord
Model 200 Rock-si-chord
Series 300 Electra Piano and Harpsichord
Series 400 Electra Piano and Harpsichord
Series 600 Electra Piano and Rock-si-chord
Band Organ
Calliope (Model B)
Digital Keyboard 20 (DK-20)
Explorer/Explorer II
Harmonic Synthesizer
Keyboard Computer I (KC-1)
Keyboard Computer II (KC-2)
Lark Combo Organ

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Rocky Mount Instruments (RMI)

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RMI Content Editor
Larry Kerr

Larry Kerr

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with help from...
The quality and detail of the Rocky Mount Instruments (RMI) room is due to the extreme kindness of Tom Emerick at Allen Organ Company. Mr. Emerick was National Service Manager at RMI for its entire history, and still works at Allen Organ Company. In researching and writing this content, he has been very generous with his time and resources. Thank you, Tom.

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by Tom Emerick, Allen Organ Company

"As I sit down and attempt to put into words the history of a company and its products, my memory drifts back to a simpler, but exciting period of time in the design and development of commercial electronic musical portable keyboards. I have always considered myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in the design, sales, and service of the RMI products throughout its history.

"This history is being compiled for the sole purpose of passing information on to future generations, and any other use is denied. The dates of the different products are as close as I remember, or as I can verify through brochures or discussing with individuals whose memory is clearer than mine.

"At this time, I wish to acknowledge the fact that although there were many people involved in the RMI project, the credit must go to Mr. Jerome Markowitz (now deceased), who was the founder and owner of the Allen Organ Company. Without his vision, inventiveness, and leadership, the project would never have been.

"To start, RMI stands for Rocky Mount Instruments, Inc., which was a wholly owned subsidiary of the Allen Organ Company. The manufacturing operations were located in Rocky Mount, North Carolina; design and sales were handled at the Allentown Organ Company, located in Macungie, Pennsylvania. Although the majority of production was done at the Carolina facility, there were instruments produced at the Macungie plant.

"The RMI company goal was to provide a high quality product geared to the professional, at a cost affordable to many weekend musicians. In my opinion, the tonal quality and reliability of the RMI product line far surpassed any other product line in its day. The list of professional customers speaks for itself.

"The company opened manufacturing operations in 1966 in a rented warehouse, with a new 66,000 sq. ft. plant dedicated in 1967. Although the manufacturing of products under the RMI name ceased in the mid-1980s, the company continued in operation producing organs and organ assemblies for Allen until 1999 when the facility was sold.

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