CHICAGO
08/08/2011 10:27 am ET | Updated Oct 08, 2011

America's Last Harmonica Factory Closes: Harrison Harmonicas In Rockford, Illinois Stops Production

The harmonica is the apple pie of musical instruments, as American as baseball on a hot summer day. It's featured in those most American of musical styles, folk and bluegrass and rock and the blues.

But pretty soon, the only manufacturer of harmonicas in the United States will be shutting its doors.

Harrison Harmonicas is located in Rockford, Illinois, about 90 miles west of Chicago. According to the Associated Press, the company was founded in 2010 on the back of its flagship model, the B-Radical.

FOX Chicago reports that the harmonica was designed to be "the Steinway of harmonicas," a top-of-the-line instrument designed for professional players.

After the company appeared on CBS's "The Early Show" a little over a year ago, though, problems started cropping up. One customer, Bob Ditmer, told WIFR in Rockford that he placed an order with the company a year ago, hoping to get a harmonica for brother as a Christmas present. He shelled out $200 for a B-Radical, but still hasn't received the instrument. Instead, he's gotten a long series of emails explaining about back orders and production delays.

Now, with the company closing, Ditmer is worried he's been stiffed. "Just send me my money back," he said, according to WIFR.

In the latest email sent to customers, though, Brad Harrison, founder of the company, reassured them that all back orders would be filled. Production of the instrument had turned out to be more expensive than Harrison had anticipated, he said, according to the Chicago Tribune, but another company had agreed to produce the instrument to fill the backlog.

With no other operating production facilities for harmonicas in the States, one assumes that these last B-Radicals will be missing one key component that surely attracted customers to it in the first place: the words "Made in the U.S.A."