The piano dates back to the 1700’s. Technologies have changed and the time required to make a piano has been drastically reduced, but the grandeur of the piano hasn’t. To date, people consider the piano a prestigious instrument to own.
Looking back in time, here are a few famous piano makers:
Bartolomeo Cristofori: The first piano was born in 1709, thanks to the harpsichord maker, Bartolomeo Cristofori. His first piano, fortepiano, a keyboard instrument, possessed a mechanism to control dynamics, which was not possible in harpsichord, but it used the same soundboard, bridge and keyboard devices and was a result of years of work.
Broadwood & Sons: John Broadwood & Sons is the oldest and one of the most prestigious piano makers in history. Their pianos have been played by Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Beethoven and Liszt. They also hold the Royal Warrant as manufacturer of pianos to Queen Elizabeth II. This firm was started by Burket Shudi in the year 1728. He came to London from Switzerland, where his family had been craftsmen in wood and he worked as an apprentice in Soho harpsichord workshop. Ten years later started his own workshop.
Gottfried Silbermann: Silbermann made pianos in 1725, but was not received with great success. His pupil Christian Ernst Friederici continued his research and made small square pianos, which became a great success and he continued on to make pyramid pianos.
Kirkman Piano Makers: This firm was founded in 1730 by Abraham Kirkman. He inherited the business from a harpsichord maker and went on to make pianos.
Domenico del Mela: In 1740, Domenico del Mela invented the first upright piano. It looked more like a grand stood up than a grand upright, as it is seen today.
Francisco Perez Mirabal: He was a famous piano maker in Spain in 1745. The pianos that he made were in the Silbermann style. The stringing in this piano was very unusual and the sounds that they produced were also strange.
J.C. Zumpe: Zumpe worked as an apprentice with Silbermann and started making pianos around 1765. The technology used in his square piano was very simple and was also called “old man’s head” and around that time the first published advertisement for a piano came out.
Longman & Broderip: The earliest known surviving square piano was built in the year 1770 and had five octaves.
Johann Andreas Stein: A former apprentice of Silbermann built a piano with thinner strings in the year 1772. This type was preferred by Mozart.
Johann Behrent: He is the first known American piano maker. He hailed from Philadelphia and made his first square piano in the year 1775.
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