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 development of the English Grand Action along with John Broadwood, Johann Cristoph Zumpe (1726-1790), and Americus Backers. In 1777 Stodart was granted the patent for this action. Around 1787, Robert’s sons William Stodart (1762-1838) joined the firm, which was renamed to Robertus Stodart et Co. In 1795 William Stodart patented an upright grand piano which contained bookshelves. William also purchased the invention of the compensating frame from two of his workers, James Thom and William Allen, in 1820. The compensating frame is a series of brass or steel tubes fixed in the case in order to prevent tuning issues caused by improper temperature and/or humidity. William Stodart’s son, Malcolm Stodart (1794-1861) joined the firm between 1825 and 1838 and the firm became William Stodart & Son. Malcolm was the last Stodart to join the firm, as the company ended with his death in 1861.

Literature References:

Clinkscale, M., 2006. Makers of the piano, 1700-1820. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.283-284.

Palmieri, R. and Palmieri, M., 2003. Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, p.381-382.