Piano History

1. The first practical piano with an escapement mechanism for the hammers and capable of being played softly and loudly was built in 1700 by an Italian, Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655-1731).

The Smithsonian in Washington, DC is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the piano with a wonderful exhibit that runs through March 2001. Cristofori made few pianos, his attention was to the building of harpsichords.
2. Piano player was developed 1863 with push up cabinet, with wooden felt covered fingers that depressed keys. R.W. Pain was probably the first to build a pneumatic self playing piano, a 39 note self contained player for Needham & Sons in 1880.
3. About 1870 Daniel F. Beatty advertised rosewood square grands for $255.
4. Johann Christian Schleip built many vertical pianos known as the “Giraffe Piano”.
5. Johann Behrent built the first piano in America at Philadelphia in 1775 under the name “Piano Forte”.
6. Mangeot of Paris built a piano with reversible keyboards in 1876.
7. Sebastian Erard built a piano and organ combined for Marie Antoinette.
8. The first patent issued to H. Steinway, New York, was May 5, 1857.
9. Gustavus Hessilens made a spinet piano in Philadelphia in 1742.
10. G. Hoffman built a symetrically rounded piano in 1804.
11. M. Welte and Son of Freiburg, Germany and Ludwig Hupfeld introduced the reproducing pianos about 1904.
12. Sebastian Erard made the first French Square piano in 1777 and the first grand in 1796.
13. John Broadwood enlarged the strings in the square piano, used two thick strings instead of three thinner ones and moved the wrest plank from the right side to the bottom of the case in 1788.
14. Abraham Lincoln used a Chickering Grand #5070 while at the White House.
15. In Canada there have been 240 different brand name manufacturers since 1816. Today there are no Canadian manufacturers left.
16. The last Canadian piano company to go out of business was Sherlock manning in 1992.
17. Amoung the best name brands made in Canada were Heintzman, Bell, Karn, Mason and Risch, Willis, Gourlay Winter and Leeming and Nordheimer.
18. Latter years, starting in the 1950’s, Canadian companies felt the crunch as Yamaha was then making pianos better and cheaper. Many Canadian companies began compromising in the quality of the instruments in the engineering and parts used rather than cut wages. As a result there is a whole era of cheaply built and substandard Canadian (and US) made pianos on the market and possibly in your homes today.
19. In 1904 a good quality upright Piano sold for $250.00, in 1928 they were about $350.00, in 1953 they sold for about $950.00, 1985 yamaha U1 sold for $4500.00, and today that same model is about $9000.00

For prices or info please call Mike Klomp of Klomp’s Piano services at 519.802.5364 or by email, mikeklomp17@hotmail.com