Freudenthaler, Jean-Guillame (1761-1824)

Jean-Guillame Freudenthaler (1761-1824) was born near Heilbronn in what is now Germany. From a young age, Freudenthaler began working for the piano workshop of Silbermann in Strasbourg, and after that for Erard in Paris. In 1788, Freudenthaler made a trip to London where he learned about the construction of grand pianos and the English form … Read more

Bernhardt, Pierre Antoine Daniel (1800-?)

Pierre Antoine Daniel Bernhardt established his firm in Paris in 1824. His first workshop was located at 6 Rue de Touraine in the Marais district in Paris, he moved later to 25 Rue Bleue. By 1839 Bernhardt’s factory employed sixty workers. Bernhardt’s pianos won bronze medals in the Paris exhibition in 1827, 1834, and 1844. … Read more


The Kirckman (also Kirkman, Kirchmann) name of piano manufacturing began with Jacob Kirchmann (1710-1792), born near Strasbourg. He began as a cabinetmaker and in the 1730s moved to England where he became an apprentice alongside Burkat Shudi to Hermann Tabel, a Flemish harpsichord maker working in London. In 1738 Tabel died and the business passed … Read more


The firm of Schimmel was founded by Wilhelm Schimmel Sr. (1854-1946) near Leipzig in 1885. It began as a small workshop but the workshop grew in reputation quickly, allowing for a factory to be built in Leipzig in 1891 and a second one in 1897. By the start of WWI, the company had built ten … Read more


The Weber Piano Company was founded in 1852 by Robert Weber (1828-1879). Weber was born in Bavaria, was a skilled pianist before immigrating to the United States in 1844. He trained under Charles J. Holder and began to work in the factory of D.J. Van Winkle. In 1851 Weber started his own piano manufacturing firm … Read more

Marschall, Andreas (1783-1842)

Andreas Marschall (1783-1842) was a piano maker in Denmark, however he was born in Hungary and trained in Kassel, Germany. In 1810, Marschall came to Copenhagen and worked for Peter Christian Uldhal (1778-1820) until he opened his own workshop in 1813. Marschall’s primary contribution to the world of piano manufacturing was his training of some … Read more

Wornum, Robert

There were two piano makers named Robert Wornum, Senior (1742-1816) and Junior (1780-1852). Robert Wornum Sr. was a music seller and instrument maker, with a shop located on Glasshouse Street, London until 1777 when he moved to Wigmore Street. His son Robert Wornum Jr. began as a partner with another piano maker, George Wilkinson, in … Read more

Pape, Jean-Henri (1789-1875)

Jean-Henri Pape (1789-1875) was born near Hannover in Germany . In 1811 he went to Paris to work in the factory of Ignace-Joseph Pleyel (1757-1831). His skills developed quickly, and by 1815 he had established his own workshop. Pape was well known as an innovative builder, throughout his life he took out 137 patents in … Read more

Schleip, Johann Christian (?-1848)

Johann Christian Schleip (?-1848) was a German piano maker who made pianos in Berlin. There is little information about his early years, but the earliest evidence of his work points to him starting about 1813. In 1816 he moved to Berlin and began to work under a piano maker by the name of Sylig. It … Read more

Dettmer, George (1740-1833)

George Dettmer (1740-1833) was a London piano maker with a workshop located at 50 Upper Marylebone Street, Fitzroy Square. There is little information about this maker, but his son, William Dettmer (1775-1858) is known to have been a partner in the firm. The workshop remained at 50 Upper Marylebone Street until 1846, whereafter the workshop … Read more


The firm of Stodart was founded by Robert Stodart (1748-1831) who was apprenticed to John Broadwood (1732-1812) around 1772 for a period of three years. After the apprenticeship Stodart was talented enough to become an independent piano maker and moved to Wardour Street in London in 1775 or 1776. He was a co-collaborator in the … Read more

Graf, Conrad (1782-1851)

Conrad Graf (1782-1851) began his life as a cabinet maker in his hometown of Riedlingen, South Germany. Around 1798 he began working for Jakob Schelke, a piano maker in Wahring, a suburb Vienna; it was Schelke who taught Graf the trade. Graf opened his own workshop in 1804, around the time of Shelke’s death. In … Read more

Beck, Frederick

Frederick Beck is part of the group referred to by some as the “Twelve Apostles,” a group of German piano manufacturers who moved to England, helping it become one of the hubs of piano innovation in Europe. There is little information available about Beck’s early life, but he is known to have operated in Paris … Read more

Longman & Broderip

Longman & Broderip began as just Longman & Co, founded by James Longman in 1767. The firm began selling music and instruments made by other piano makers, Longman never made pianos himself. The firm did not sell pianos alone, they also sold other stringed instruments such as violins, violas, and cellos. One such piano maker … Read more

Zumpe, Johann Christoph (1726-1790)

Johann Christoph Zumpe (1726-1790) was born in Saxony and originally trained as a cabinetmaker. He immigrated to London in the 1750s like so many others at the time, and is one of the group of German craftsman sometimes referred to as the “Twelve Apostles.” Zumpe initially worked for harpsichord maker Burkat Shudi until he opened … Read more

Pleyel, Ignace-Joseph (1757-1831)

Ignace-Joseph Pleyel (1757-1831) was born in Austria and began his life as a composer. He was appointed as Kappelmeister, or conductor, for Strasbourg cathedral until 1789 when he moved to London due to the French Revolution. Pleyel returned to France around 1792 and established himself in Paris in 1795, initially working as a music publisher … Read more

Broadwood, John (1732-1812)

John Broadwood (1732-1812) is the founder of the oldest keyboard instrument firm in existence. His father was a cabinetmaker and he taught the young Broadwood the trade. Broadwood took this training and moved to London in 1761 where he started working for harpsichord maker Burkat Shudi. Broadwood became a business partner with Shudi, even marrying … Read more

Straatman, WIllem (?-1863)

Willem Straatman (?-1863) was born in the town of Oud-Zevenaar and established his workshop on the Oeverstraat in Arnhem. In addition to selling his own pianos, Straatman also rented and sold other instruments. As the Dutch agent for the Paris-based Erard firm of piano builders, it is possible that he may have sold or rented … Read more

Erard, Sebastien (1751-1831)

Sebastien Erard (1751-1831) was born in Strasbourg. Early in his life he moved to Paris and began to make harpsichords. Erard’s popularity grew quickly as he made high quality instruments for elite and royal families. In 1770 Erard had his own workshop in Paris and and built his first square piano in 1777. In 1781, … Read more

Clementi, Muzio (1752-1832)

Muzio Clementi (1752-1832), sometimes referred to as the “Father of the Pianoforte,” was born in Rome and was something of a child prodigy, writing musical compositions at an early age. His early works were heard by Peter Beckford, an English MP visiting Rome at the time. Beckford decided to sponsor the young boy, who went … Read more

Ganer, Christopher (c.1750-c.1811)

Christopher Ganer (c.1750-c.1811) was born in Leipzig and it is believed he learned his craft there or the surrounding area of Saxony. He immigrated to London around 1774 as part of a well known group of piano makers who moved to London during this period, and helped turn it into one of the centers of … Read more

Tomkison, Thomas (c.1764-1853)

Thomas Tomkison (c.1764-1853) is an English piano maker sometimes overshadowed by the more common Broadwood, Stodart, and Clementi pianos of the period. Little information had been compiled about Tomkison’s life until recent work by Norman Macsween, whose research has shed a light on this gap in information. Thomas Tomkison was born the son of Humphrey … Read more

Collard & Collard

Frederick William Collard (1772-1860) and William Frederick Collard (1776-1866) were brothers who made pianos in London, England. By 1799 Frederick William Collard became a a partner with Clementi & Co, then under the name Clementi, Collard, Banger, Hyde & Davis. In 1810 Hyde and Davis retired and William Frederick Collard, already working for the firm, … Read more

Streicher, Johann Baptist (1796-1871)

Johann Baptist Streicher (1796-1871) was the son of piano maker Maria Anna “Nannette” Stein (1769-1833) and Johann Andreas Streicher (1761-1833). In 1812 Johann Baptist Streicher began to work in the workshop founded by his mother and by 1823 he had become a partner of the firm. Johann Baptist Streicher developed a number of patents for … Read more

Stein, Matthaus Andreas (1776-1842)

Matthaus Andreas “Andre” Stein (1776-1842) along with his sister, Maria Anna “Nanette” Stein (1769-1833), continued the tradition of their father, the famous piano maker Johann Andreas Stein (1728-1792). Upon the death of their father in 1792, they ran his workshop in Augsburg, Germany together, until 1794. In 1794, when Nanette married pianist and teacher Johann … Read more