May 4th is Bartolomeo Cristofori’s Birthday

bartolomeoWho is Bartolomeo Cristofori? He invented the piano!

Bartolomeo Cristofori di Francesco (May 4, 1655 – January 27, 1731) was an Italian maker of musical instruments, generally regarded as the inventor of the piano.

During the remaining years of the 17th century, Cristofori invented two keyboard instruments before he began his work on the piano. These instruments are documented in an inventory, dated 1700, of the many instruments kept by Prince Ferdinando. Stewart Pollens conjectures that this inventory was prepared by a court musician named Giovanni Fuga, who may have referred to it as his own in a 1716 letter.

The spinettone, Italian for “big spinet”, was a large, multi-choired spinet (a harpsichord in which the strings are slanted to save space). This invention may have been meant to fit into a crowded orchestra pit for theatrical performances, while having the louder sound of a multi-choired instrument.

The other invention (1690) was the highly original oval spinet.

Cristofori also built instruments of existing types, documented in the same 1700 inventory: a clavicytherium (upright harpsichord), and two harpsichords of the standard Italian one of them has an unusual case made of ebony.

Tour the Yamaha Piano Factory

Below is a list of piano manufacturers.

Company Place Years active Acquired by Notes
A. B. Chase Ohio 1875 Aeolian-American Corp until Aeolian went out of business. Since 2001 the A.B Chase name has been used by Wrightwood Enterprises Inc. on pianos made by the Dongbei Piano Co. in China.
A. M. McPhail[1] Boston 1837-c. 1950
A. Mittag Berlin 1800
Aeolian Company New York City 1868-1985 American Piano Company Merged with Ampico in 1932. Ampico rebranded as Aeolian in 1941.
Charles Albrecht Philadelphia, PA and Long Island, NY 1789-present Acquired by Schultz & Sons Manufacturing Corp., New York Manufactured in Long Island from 1993-present. One of the earliest pianos made in America. The first known piano by Albrecht is located at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.[2]
Allen Brook London
American Piano Company East Rochester, NY, US 1908-1941 Aeolian Company aka. Ampico
Armann Shanghai, China 1998-present
Astin Weight Salt Lake City 1959-1999
Alexander Herrmann KG Sangerhausen, Germany 1803-1993
Babcock Boston 1810
Baldwin Cincinnati, OH, US 1890-2001 Gibson Guitar Corporation
Christian Baumann Zweibrücken, Germany 1740-1816
Baumgardt Piano Stockholm, Sweden 1859
Baus Piano Company
Beale Piano Sydney 1893-1975
Becker Brothers New York 1892-1940 They Also built pianos under the Bennington name, and player pianos under the Mellotone and Playernola name as well.
Bechstein Pianoforte Fabrik AG Berlin and Seifhennersdorf, Germany 1853-present Was owned by Baldwin in 1963. Also manufactured Zimmermann brand after 1992
Behr Brothers Piano Company Kohler & Campbell
Belarus[3] Belarus 1935-present Also manufactures brands Sängler & Sohne, Schubert and Wieler
Bell Canada
Bentley Piano Company
Blüthner 1853
Bohemia Piano
Boisselot & Fils France 1831-1912 The brand became Boisselot Fils & Co. in 1847, after the passing of his father Jean-Louis Boisselot.
Borgato Venice, Italy 1991-present
Bösendorfer Vienna, Austria 1828 Yamaha Acquired in 2007
Brødrene Hals Oslo 1847-1925
Brinsmead London 1835
Broadwood and Sons London 1774-present
C. Burlman & Co.
Cable and Sons New York 1852
Cable, Hobart M. La Porte, IN, US 1900
Cable Company Chicago 1880
Cavendish Pianos Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire 2012-present
Challen London 1804
Chappell Pianos London 1811
Charles R. Walter Elkhart, IN, US 1975
Charles Stieff Baltimore c. 1852-1951 often referred to as “The poor man’s Steinway”
Chas. S. Norris Boston c. 1930
Chickering and Sons Boston 1823-1983 American Piano Company Acquired in 1908
Collard & Collard London
Cunningham Piano Company Philadelphia 1891
Currier Piano Co. Boston and Marion, NC, US 1823, 1969 Acquisition details
Danemann London 1893
Decker Brothers New York 1862
Edmund British Columbia
Érard Paris 1777
Estey Piano Corp 1869
Estonia Piano Factory 1893
Fahr Albert Zeitz, Germany 1887-1950
Falcone[4] Haverhill, MA, US 1982-1993 American Sejung Corp.
Fandrich & Sons Stanwood, WA, US c. 1989-present
Fazioli 1978
Feurich 1851
J.C. Fischer New York 1840
August Förster Löbau, Germany 1859-present
Francis Connor New York 1871
Gabler New York 1851
Gaveau Paris 1847
Generalmusic Italy and Bensenville, IL, US
Glenz (Josef) Breslau
Timothy Gilbert Boston 1827
Goetzmann New York
Grotrian-Steinweg 1835
Gunther [5] Brussels 1845 – 1960
Haines Brothers New York 1832
Hallet, Davis & Co Boston 1835
Hardman Peck New York 1842
Heintzman & Co. Toronto 1866
Hobart M. Cable La Porte, Indiana, US 1900 American Sejung Corp.
Hornung & Møller Copenhagen, Denmark 1827 – 1972
Hupfield 1880
Ibach 1794
Irmler Leipzig and Poland
J. Erbe Eisenach Germany 1881
J. Strauss & Son 1925
Kawai 1930 Also owns the Shigeru Kawai brand
Kemble 1911
Kimball Chicago 1857 see Kimball International
Kirschner New York
David Klavins Bonn, Germany 1954
Knabe Baltimore 1837 American Piano Company Acquired in 1908
Knight 1935
Kohler & Campbell New York 1896
Krakauer Bros New York 1869
Kranich & Bach 1864
Albert W. Ladd & Company Boston 1838
Lauter Piano Co. Newark, NJ, US 1862-1930
Leipziger Pianofortefabrik 1835
Lesage Piano Company[6] Quebec Willis & Co. Acquired in 1907
Lester Piano Company[7] Lester, PA, US 1888-1960 Also manufactured brands Channing, Alden, Bellaire, Schubert and Leonard
Lindeman & Sons New York 1836
Ludwig & Company St. Louis, MO, US 1895
Maene Ruiselede, Belgium 1938-present Founded by Parents Albert Maene-Doutreloigne
Mammoth Piano US 2010
Mason & Hamlin Boston 1854-present Part owned by The Cable Company (from 1904-1924). Acquired by American Piano Company (1924), Aeolian (c. 1929), Aeolian-American (1932), (Various owners from 1940s-1980s), Sohmer & Co. (1985), and Burgett, Inc. (1996) This brand has changed hands and factories many times in its history. See main article.
Mason & Risch Ontario
Mathushek New York 1852-1879 New Haven 1866
Mehlin & Sons New York 1853-1960 Mehlin Piano Co. until 1889 when the & Sons was added.
Mendelssohn Canada
Moore and Moore London
Muir, Wood and Company[8] Edinburgh, Scotland 1798-1818 Wood, Small and Company Wood, Small and Company was formed at John Muir’s Death in 1818
Murdoch, McKillop & Co Edinburgh, Scotland
Joseph Newman Baltimore 1829
Newman & Bros. Baltimore 1842
Nordheimer Canada
Obermann & Sohn
Overs Sydney, Australia
Pape Paris 1817
Stephen Paulello Villethierry, France present
Perzina 1871
Petrof 1864
Petzold Paris 1806
Pfeiffer Stuttgart, Germany 1862
Prate Canada
Pirsson New York 1829
Pleyel Paris 1807
QRS 1900
Quidoz Quebec
Rainer Canada
Reed & Sons 1842
Rubenstein 2005-present
Manuel Samaniego[citation needed] Madrid c. 1800s-1892
Samick Incheon, South Korea 1958
San Francisco Piano Co.
Sauter[9][10] 1819-present
Adam Schaaf[11] Chicago 1873-1930’s
Schiedmayer 1853
Schiller Piano Company[12] Oregon, Illinois 1890-1936 Cable Company
Schimmel Germany 1885-present
Schultz & Sons Brooklyn, NY and Long Island, NY 1948-present In Brooklyn 1948-1973. In Long Island 1974-present.Schultz & Sons has an exclusive arrangement with several manufacturers to make pianos that are then modified and enhanced in the Schultz & Sons factory. Schultz & Sons has applied for patents on its unique innovations in Action, Scale, and Soundboard design. Schultz & Sons also controls the Charles Albrecht name. They produce Grands, Consoles, and Uprights. In addition to the Schultz & Sons serial number, pianos have the original manufacturers serial number.[2] Pianos with the following second serial numbers were originally made by: Kawai starting with 1955160 Sohmer starting with 244540 Nakamichi starting with 057493 Kohler & Campbell starting with 798777 [2]
Schulze & Pollman
Schweighofer 1792-1938
Sears, Roebuck & Company[13] Chicago c. 1900-1930 Also manufactured/sold brands Beckwith, American Home, Maywood, Beverley, and Caldwell
Seiler 1849 Samick
Sherlock-Manning Ontario
Sherman Clay San Francisco
Shomacker Philadelphia c. 1840s
Shondorff New York
Smith & Barnes
F.G. Smith New York 1866
Sohmer & Co. New York 1872
Starr Piano Company Richmond, Indiana 1872-1950 Originally named the Trayser Piano Company, after one of its founders, George Trayser. They also produced a more affordable, yet exceptional quality, piano line, the “Richmond Piano Comapany”, which was sold alongside theirs in showrooms. Also known for founding Gennett Records.
Steck New York 1857 American Sejung Corp.
Steingraeber & Söhne[14] Bayreuth, Germany 1852-present
Steinway & Sons New York and Hamburg, Germany 1853-present
Sterling Piano Company Derby, Connecticut 1866-c. 1926 Originally founded in 1845 as The Sterling Organ Company by Charles A. Sterling, the company merged with the Winter Piano Company after the Great Depression. They also produced the cheaper, but reputable, Huntington Piano.
Story & Clark 1884
Straube Piano Company Downers Grove, Illinois (1895–1904)
Hammond, Indiana (1904–1940)
Chicago Heights (1940–1942)
Rockford, Illinois (1942–1949)
1895–1949 C.G. Conn (1942) Manufactured Straube, Hammond, Gilmore, and Woodward; receiver’s sale in 1934; bankruptcy in 1937 — remaining assets, including name and patents continued in 1937 in the newly formed Indiana corporation, Straube Pianos Inc.
Streicher[10] 1802
Strich & Zeidler[15][16] New York City 1889-1930s Also manufactured Homer brand
Stuart and Sons Newcastle, Australia present
Suzuki Corporation
Thürmer 1834
Uebel & Lechleiter Heilbronn, Germany 1872-1987
United Piano Makers New York c. 1800s
Verdugo e Hijo Quito, Ecuador 1995-present
Waldberg Berlin c. 1890
Weber (New York)[6] New York 1852 Young Chang
George Weber & son, John Chicago c. 1917
Weber (Ontario)[6] Kingston, ON, Canada 1862 Lesage Piano Company
Whaley-Royce Toronto
Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd 1876
George Wilkinson London 1811
Wilh. Steinberg Germany 1877
Willis & Company Ltd.[17] Montreal 1889-1979 Acquired Lesage Piano Company in 1907. Also manufactured Newcombe
Wood, Small and Company[18] Edinburgh, Scotland 1818-1829 Successive firms were Wood and Company, J. Muir Wood Company, and Small, Bruce and Company Continued until Andrew Wood’s Death in 1829
Wornum London 1811
Wurlitzer Cincinnati, OH, US 1856-1988 Baldwin
Yamaha Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan 1887-present Acquired Bösendorfer in 2007. See also List of Yamaha products
Young Chang Seoul, South Korea 1956 Hyundai Development Company Acquired in 2006
Zimmermann Seifhennersdorf, Germany 1884-2011 Bechstein Pianoforte Fabrik AG Acquired in 1992

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