The Piano Time Line:
A Chronological History
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1700
Bartolomeo Cristofori's "new invention" of the piano e forte recorded, Florence, Italy

1711
- Scipione Maffei publishes a journal article about the piano
- John Shaw invents the tuning fork

1716
Jean Marius submits hammer-keyboard designs to Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris

1721
Christoph Gottlieb Schroter submits hammer-keyboard designs to the Saxon Court, Dresden

1725
- Translation of Maffei's article into German stimulates widespread interest
- Pianos advertised, Vienna

1730s
- Gottfried Silbermann experiments in Dresden, Germany with pianos derived from Cristofori
- Pianos known to be in Portuguese and Spanish courts

1730
- Fickert advertises hammer-keyboard instrument in Leipzig, Germany
- Kirkman piano makers founded in London, England

1732
First published piano music, by Ludovico Giustini

1739
Domenico del Mela builds earliest known upright piano, Gagliano, Italy

1740s
Christian Ernst Friederici makes upright pianos, Gera, Germany

1745
Franciso Perez Mirabal begins making pianos in Spain

1740
George Frederic Handel plays on a piano, London, England

1747
J. S. Bach plays a Silberman piano at the Prussian Court, Potsdam, and composes Musical Offering

1750s
Pianos advertised for sale in France

1753-62
C. P. E. Bach: Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments published

1760s
- Pianos derived from Cristofori built in Spain and Portugal
- Pantalons, small hammer-keyboard instruments, made in Germany

1763
Reports of earliest public performances on pianos by Johann Baptist Schmid, Vienna

1766
Probable invention of the square piano by Johannes Zumpe, London

1767
Early public piano performances, one by Johann Christian Bach, London

1768
First public piano performance in Paris

1771
- Americus Backers produces the English grand piano, London;
- Earliest reported public piano performance in North America by David Propert, Boston
- Robert Stodart takes out a patent using the name "Grand" to describe his instrument. This was the first
know use of the word "Grand" in a patent

1772
Johann Andreas Stein, a former apprentice of Silberman from 1749 -1750, develops the Viennese action in
Augsberg, Germany

1773
- First public piano performance in New York
- Broadwood Company established, London

1774
John Joseph Merlin comes to England in 1760 Introduced the "Una Corda Pedal" which moved the action to
one side just hitting two strings instead of three, making the piano quieter

1775
John Behrendt makes and advertises a square piano in Philadelphia, PA

1777
- Sebastien Erard makes his first square piano, Paris
- Robert Stodart patents the English grand action, London

1779
Muzio Clementi publishes his first piano sonatas, London

1780s
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach publishes series of sonatas and fantasias for piano
- Haydn takes up the piano

1780
Anton Walter making pianos, including one for Mozart, Vienna

1781
Mozart and Clementi 'duel' in Vienna

1783
- Paris Conservatoire founded
- Broadwood introduced a sustaining pedal, Broadwood is credited with the invention of the sustaining
pedal. However, there is a Backers Grand of 1772 in the Russell Museum, Edinburgh with 2 pedals. It has 2
pedals 1 on each front leg pointing inwards. The right is a sustaining pedal, the left a una corda. Americas
Backers was probably the first to use the sustaining pedal and the una corda,

1784
William Southwell makes a 5 1/2-octave square piano, Dublin

1784-6
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 14-25 composed

1786
- John Geib patents the "grasshopper" square action, used for 70 years, London
- Erard establishes piano manufacturing in London

1794
- John Broadwood makes 5 1/2-octave grand piano, London
- William Stodart patents a large upright piano, a grand set on its head, London
- Matthäus Andreas Stein and Nanette Streicher, children of Johann Andreas Stein, move to Vienna
- Ibach established, Schwelm

1794-5
Haydn: 'London' piano sonatas and trios composed

1795
- Johann Jakob Konnicke makes a 6-octave, 6-keyboard piano, Vienna
- Beethoven: 3 Piano Trios, Op. 1 and 3 Piano Sonatas, Op. 2 published

1796
Broadwood makes a 6-octave grand for the Queen of Spain, London

1797
- First piano magazine, The Pianoforte, London
- James Hewitt: The Battle of Trenton published

1798
Francois-Adrien Boieldieu named professor of piano at Paris Conservatoire



1800s

1800
- John Isaac Hawkins, Philadelphia, and Matthias Muller, Vienna, make small uprights
- Alexander Reinagle: Piano Sonatas completed, Philadelphia

1801
Edward Riley obtains a patent for a transposing piano, in which the keyboard moved laterally, allowing keys
to work on different notes

1802
Nanette Streicher separates from her brother, Matthaus Andreas Stein, to make pianos in her own name

1803
Erard Brothers of Paris present Beethoven with a piano

1804
- Jan Ladislav Dussek plays a concerto with his profile toward the audience, Prague
- Challen Pianos London were established. Their clam to fame is that they made the worlds largest grand:
twelve feet long

1807
- Pleyel established, Paris
- The sticker action was invented by William Southwell

1808
- Erard patents the agraffe, a metal stud through which strings pass from the tuning pin
- Bracing bars of metals were used to support the wooden frame in Broadwoods grands

1809
- Erard patents pinblock bushings, used to strengthen pinblock from string pressure on tuning pins
- Erard introduces the "Roller Double Escapement" or compound escapement action

1810
- English and Continental makers design 6-octave pianos, English from C-c, German from F-f
- "Upright grands" made in England and "giraffes" in Germany and Austria

1811
- Robert Wornum patents small upright, London
- Conrad Graf established, Vienna
- Prague Conservatory founded

1816
Nanette Streicher makes 6 1/2-octave grands, C-f, Vienna

1817
- Thomas Broadwood, London presents a grand piano to Beethoven, Vienna
- Vienna Conservatory founded

1819
Carl Sauter Company established, Spaichingen, Germany

1820
- First successful use of metal in grand piano frame by Thom and Allen, London
- Freres Aucher, of France was one of the first piano makers with a folding keyboard, came to be know as a
ship's piano

1821
- Sebastien Erard patents the double-escapement "repetition" action, basis of modern grand action, Paris

1822
Erard makes a 7-octave piano

1823
- Jonas Chickering begins making pianos in Boston
- Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Piano Sonatas Nos. 31 & 32 published

1825
Alpheus Babcock patents first single-piece metal frame for squares, Boston

1826
- Henri Pape patents use of felt for hammer covering, Paris
- Robert Wornum patents tape-check action, the basis for modern uprights, London
- Clementi: Gradus ad parnassum published
- Benjamin Carr: Analytical Instructor for the Pianoforte published

1828
- Ignaz Bosendorfer making pianos, Vienna
- Henri Pape first uses cross-stringing in small "console" uprights, Paris
- Schubert: Last three piano sonatas composed
- Johann Nepomuk Hummel: A Complete Theoretical and Practical Course of Instruction on the Art of
Playing the Piano Forte published

1833
Chopin: Etudes Op. 10 published

1835
Grotrian-Steinweg pianos established by Friedrich Grotrian

1837
- Knabe Company established, Baltimore
- Schumann: Carnaval, Davidsbundlertanze, and Symphonic Etudes composed
- Liszt and Thalberg 'duel' in Paris

1839
- Moscheles: Methode des methodes published
- Czerny: The Compete Theoretical and Practical Pianoforte School, Op. 500 published
- Liszt establishes the solo recital, performing from memory without assisting artists

1840
Herz modifies Erard's "repetition" action

1841
- Becker Company established, St. Petersburg
- Liszt: Norma, Don Juan, and Robert le Diable Fantasies published

1843
- Chickering patents one-piece metal frame for grands
- Antoine-Jean Bord invents capo d'astro bar (downbearing bar at tuning-pin end of strings)
- Leipzig Conservatory founded

1844
Schwander opens his piano action making factory in Herrburger, Germany

1845
Leopold De Meyer tours U.S.

1846
Henri Herz tours U.S.

1847
Gaveau Company established, Paris

1848
Debain invents an automatic mechanical piano, Paris

1849
Ed. Seiler Company established, Liegnitz/Kitzingen

1850
Heintzman Company established in Toronto, Canada

1851
"Great Exhibition" displays state-of-the-art pianos, Erard favored, London

1852
- Mathushek Company established, New York
- Weber established, New York

1853
- Steinway & Sons, New York established
- Chickering builds new factory, second largest building in U.S., Boston
- Liszt: B minor Sonata composed
- Brahms: Piano Sonata No. 3 composed
- Louis Moreau Gottschalk returns to U.S. as a touring virtuoso
- Bluthner piano company established in Leipzig, Germany
- Bechstein established in Berlin, Germany

1854
Mason & Hamlin established in Boston

1855
William Mason establishes chamber music series in New York

1856
- Wurlitzer Company established, Chicago
- Thalberg tours U.S.
- Lebert & Stark: Grand Theoretical and Practical Piano School published

1857
- George Steck Company established, New York
- Peabody Conservatory founded, Baltimore

1859
- Henry Steinway, Jr. patents cross-stringing for grands
- August Forster Company established, Lobau, Germany

1860
- Julius Feurich established, Leipzig
- Broadwood & Sons make their last square; uprights dominant in European homes

1862
- At London Exposition, Steinway wins a medal with cross-strung grand
- DH Baldwin established in Cincinnati, Ohio

1864
Petrof Company established, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic

1865
- Grotrian Company established as successors to Theodore Steinway, Braunschweig, Germany
- Oberlin Conservatory founded, Oberlin, Ohio

1866
Heintzman Company established, Toronto

1867
- Chickering and Steinway win the top prizes at Paris Exposition
- New England Conservatory founded

1869
Balakirev: Islamey composed

1872
- Theodore Steinway patents the duplex scale to enrich the tone
- Steinway presents Anton Rubinstein's U.S. tour
- Sohmer established, New York

1874
Albert Steinway patents the sostenuto pedal (middle pedal on modern grands)

1874
Musorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition composed

1875
Chickering presents Hans von Bulow's first U.S. tour

1877
British Piano Manufacturing Co. established in London

1878
A Japanese square piano is exhibited at Paris Exhibition

1880
- Wurlitzer Company begins making pianos
- Theodore Steinway develops the laminated grand piano rim

1881
Mason & Hamlin Company begins making pianos, Boston

1882
Louis Renner Company founded to make piano actions, Stuttgart, Germany

1885
- Schimmel Company founded near Leipzig
- Aeolian Organ & Music Co., later Aeolian Co., founded to make automatic organs, later automatic pianos

1888
Steinway & Sons makes its last square piano; other Americans continue making them

1891
- D. H. Baldwin Company, Cincinnati, begin making pianos
- Steinway presents Ignacy Jan Paderewski's first U.S. tour

1893
Estonia Pianos opens in Russia

1895
- Story & Clark Company making pianos, Chicago, later Grand Haven, Michigan
- Aeolian Company making automatic pianos, New York

1896
- Kohler & Campbell Company established, New York
- Edward MacDowell: Woodland Sketches composed

1899
- Torakusu Yamaha begins making pianos, Hamamatsu, Japan
- Scott Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag published
- Eubie Blake: Charleston Rag composed
- First competition of pianists, Russia


1900s

1900
- E. S. Votey, Aeolian Company, patents pneumatic piano player, the "Pianola"
- Baldwin wins grand prize at Paris Exposition

1901
Welte-Mignon invents a player-piano mechanism, Freiburg, Germany

1901
- Debussy: Suite pour le piano composed
- Ravel: Jeux d'eau composed
- Piano Manufacturers Association founded, later PMAI

1903
- Winter & Co. established, New York
- Rachmaninoff: Ten Preludes, Op. 23 published

1904
- American piano manufacturers make bonfire of square pianos, Atlantic City
- Chickening produced a quarter grand, said to be the smallest of its kind, it was 5-foot long, and only 50
inches wide.

1905
- Hupfeld makes the "Dea" reproducing-piano mechanism, near Leipzig
- The Juilliard School founded
- Octavius Beale started making pianos in New South Wales Australia

1906
Gulbransen Company established, Chicago

1908
- American Piano Co. founded, incorporates Chickering, Knabe, Weber, Haines Brothers, and others
- National Association of Piano Tuners founded

1909
Albéniz: Iberia published

1910
- Steinway & Sons moves its factory entirely from Manhattan to Astoria, Long Island
- Broadwood among the first British piano maker to make player pianos

1911
- Bartok: Allegro barbaro composed
- Granados: Goyescas published
- Kemble piano company established, England

1912
- Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1 composed
- Eastman School of Music founded

1913
- Aeolian Co. patents "Duo-Art Reproducing Piano," New York
- American Piano Co. makes "Ampico" player mechanism, New York

1915
Charles Ives: Concord Sonata composed

1916
Mannes College of Music founded

1917
- Manhattan School of Music founded
- San Francisco Conservatory founded

1918
Hector Villa-Lobos: Prole do bebe composed

1919
156,000 pianos; 180,000 player pianos manufactured in U.S.

1923
Jelly Roll Morton's first recordings, Chicago

1924
- Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue premiered
- Curtis Institute founded

1925
Henry Cowell: The Banshee composed

1927
Kawai Company making pianos, Hamamatsu, Japan

1928
Earl "Fatha" Hines records Apex Blues, Weather Bird

1928-30
Neo-Bechstein, electric piano with electromagnetic pickups to amplify struck strings

1929
Great Depression seriously limits piano manufacture everywhere

1930
- Koichi Kawai leaves Yamaha and starts his own firm, Japan

1932
- American Piano Co. and Aeolian merge to form Aeolian American Corporation
- Tobias Matthay: The Visible and Invisible in Pianoforte Technique

1933
- Art Tatum's first professional solo recordings
- Challen Company makes the largest (11-foot-8-inch) grand ever made, London

1935
Alfred Knight Company founded to make uprights in Essex, England

1939-45
World War II effectively halts piano manufacture everywhere

1940
- John Cage: Bacchanale composed
- American Association of Piano Technicians founded

1945
Mary Lou Williams: Zodiac Suite composed

1947
Conlon Nancarrow begins Studies for Player Piano

1948
Pierre Boulez: Piano Sonata No. 2 composed

1953
Liberace wins 2 Emmy Awards for network television programs

1955
Guangzhou-Pearl River Company established, Guangzhou, China

1958
- Samick Company established, Inchon, S. Korea
- Shanghai Piano Co. established, Shanghai
- Beijing Piano Co. established, Beijing
- Van Cliburn wins Tchaikovsky Competition, Moscow
- Piano Tuners and Piano Technicians Associations merge as Piano Technicians Guild

1960
Harold Rhodes develops the electric piano (Fender-Rhodes)

1961
Pleyel, Erard, Gaveau merge

1963
Kawai America established; followed by Kawai Europe, Canada, Australia and Asia.

1966
Bosendorfer, Vienna, acquired by Kimball, Chicago

1968
Young Chang begins making pianos, Inchon, S. Korea

1969
- Japanese piano production exceeds that of all other countries
- Yamaha is Japan's largest producer
- Astin-Weight patents larger soundboard design for uprights, Salt Lake City

1971
Schimmel acquires Pleyel, Erard, Gaveau

1972
CBS buys Steinway & Sons

1973
Steve Reich: Six Pianos composed

1974
Baldwin buys Bechstein, Berlin

1975
Frederic Rzewski: The People United Will Never Be Defeated composed

1977
John Adams: Phrygian Gates composed

1980s
Development of computerized player pianos, Bosendorfer, Yamaha, Baldwin, and others

1980
Fazioli pianos presented, Sacile (Portenone), Italy

1985
- A group of Boston businessmen buys Steinway & Sons from CBS
- Aeolian Corporation disbanded
- Wurlitzer buys Chickering name

1987
Baldwin sells Bechstein back to employees

1988
- Klavins builds a 12-feet-high experimental upright, Bonn, Germany
- Steinway & Sons builds its 500,000th piano

1990
- Young Chang buys Kurzweil Music Systems, American maker of electronic keyboards
- PianoDisc (Music Systems Research) established, Sacramento
- Chavanne Pianos established in France

1991
Boston Piano Company established as Steinway subsidiary, New York

1993
Darrell Fandrich patents new upright action design, Seattle

1995
- Steinway and Selmer merge into Steinway Musical Instruments
- Baldwin buys Wurlitzer and Chickering names

1996
- Piano Disc takes control of Mason & Hamlin, Sohmer, and Knabe
- Young Chang opens factory in Tianjin, China
- Kimball ceases piano manufacture

1997
- Broadwood barless grand piano design patented and launched
- Dietrich Heinrich Dotzek of Sweden, takes out a patent for a magnetic assisted upright piano action

1998
- The U.S. International Trade Commission starts an investigation into the competitiveness of the US piano
industry due to piano imports from China, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea - released in 1999 see below
- Steinway acquires Kluge, Europe's largest manufacturer of piano keys
- Broadwood celebrates their 270th anniversary

1999
- Deutsche Bank announces purchase of Baldwin retail financing units at a cost of 35 million dollars,
helping Baldwin Pianos to clear some of it debts and concentrate on piano production.
- U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION RELEASES FACT-FINDING REPORT ON ECONOMIC AND
COMPETITIVE CONDITIONS AFFECTING THE U.S. PIANO INDUSTRY:
Click Here To View Full Report


2000s

2000
- The year 2000 marks the 300th year of piano manufacturing
- Piano300 exhibition opens at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
- Ron Overs (Australia) presents a revolutionary new grand piano action design, offering pianists a level of
control, responsiveness and speed unrivalled in grand pianos to date
- Kawai launches Shigeru custom grand piano
- Pearl River Piano Group announced they were to begin production of the old German make, Ritmuller
- Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd Ltd. and Woodchester Pianos merge into The British Piano Manufacturing
Company Ltd.
- Schaff Piano Supply Co. buys American Piano Supply Co. (USA)

2001
- Steinway begins distributing their Essex line, manufactured by Young Chang
- Baldwin files for bankruptcy

2002
- Gibson purchases Baldwin Piano Co., including the Chickering and Wurlitzer names.
- Bosendorfer purchased by BAWAG - PSK GROUP, Austria's third largest banking group.
- Bosendorfer releases Porsche Design 7 foot grand

2003
- Steinway celebrates its 150th anniversary at Carnegie Hall in New York
- Bosendorfer celebrates its 175th anniversary
- Inter Music (England) purchases the stock of the British Piano Manufacturing Co Ltd., also acquiring the
piano names of Bentley, Knight, Welmar, and Woodchester
- Bluthner releases its "left-handed" or "backwards" grand piano - with the treble keys, hammers and strings
on the left and the bass on the right.
- Grotrian (Germany) introduces its Duo Grand Piano - 2 grand pianos placed side by side with keyboards at
opposite ends, as in a duo piano concert, with connected soundboards and a common lid.
- The British Manufacturing Co. ceases operations in April

2005
- Steinway announces to move production of some of the Essex models to the Pearl River Factory in China.

2006
- Steinway & Sons' New York factory announces the return in production of the Model O grand with its
characteristic round tail, curved bass bridge, and rear duplex scales. The Model O was originally introduced
in 1902.  By 1923, the last of the Model Os were produced in New York (although the model has since been
made at their Hamburg factory).
- Schulze Pollman partners with Ferrari Motor Car  to launch limited edition pianos based on the Ferrarl 612
Scaglietti series.

2007
- Bechstein acquires Czech Republic firm, Bohemia Piano Co., which it integrates into a new entity called C.
Bechstein Europe.

2008
- Bosendorfer becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the Yamaha Corp. of Japan after they purchased all
their shares from BAWAG, Austria's third largest banking group.
- Seiler sold to Samick Music Corp., who who agrees to continue the tradition of making the highest-quality
pianos
- Baldwin ceases piano production at its only remaining U.S. factory in Trumann, Arkansas in December. All
pianos now manufactured in their factories in China (owned by Gibson Guitar Corp).

2009
-  Bosendorfer unveils the Audi Grand Piano whose design, in collaboration with Audi, is reminiscent of
automobiles.
- The final piano is built by England's Kemble Pianos after nearly 100 years of production. Yamaha, the
main shareholder of Kemble,  has announces plans to transfer production to Asia.
- Steinway signs deal with Korean firm, Samick Music Corp., to take a minority stake in Steinway in order to
get rid of outstanding debt.
- After a lengthy dispute of trademark ownership rights, Persis International proved its rightful ownership of
the Sohmer brand name. Samick Piano Corp. ceased selling Sohmer pianos in 2010.

2010
- In July, 200 of Petrof's 390 employees were laid off, some of the Petrof workers in the grand department
switch production from grands to lacquered kitchen furniture. Petrof have been making pianos since in 1864.

2012
- Cavedish Pianos, based in Yorkshire, resurrects piano manufacturing in Britain.

2013
-
Steinway bought out by hedge fund firm, Paulson & Company. Estimated value of Steinway: over $500
million U.S. Dollars.
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