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date: 09 July 2020


  • Derek Adlam
  •  and Cyril Ehrlich


English firm of piano makers. John Broadwood (b Cockburnspath, Scotland, Oct 6, 1732; d London, 1812) was a joiner and cabinetmaker who went to London in 1761 and worked with the harpsichord maker Burkat Shudi. He married Shudi’s daughter in 1769 and became his partner in 1770. After Shudi’s death (1773) the partnership was continued with Shudi’s son, but Broadwood was the senior partner and from 1782 onwards he managed the firm alone from Shudi’s house in Great Pulteney Street. Broadwood continued to make harpsichords until at least 1793, but by this time the market had shifted almost completely towards pianos.

Broadwood’s early square pianos were modelled on those of Johannes Zumpe, but within a decade he completely reconstructed the design. Wrest plank and pins were shifted from the right, as in the clavichord, to the back of the case (distributing evenly the pressure on the bridge); the keys were straightened, dampers improved and Zumpe’s hand stops replaced by pedals. In ...

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