21-40 of 219 results  for:

  • Instrument-building Firms x
Clear all

Article

Margaret Cranmer

Russian firm of piano makers. Jakob Becker (Yakov Davidovich Bekker) (b Neustadt an der Haardt; d St Petersburg, 1879) founded a small workshop in St Petersburg in 1841, which was taken over by his brother Franz Davidovich 20 years later. The Russian piano industry developed later and on a smaller scale than the European, and several Germans played a large part in establishing the industry at St Petersburg. Becker became one of the best and most successful piano manufacturers, although its output was lower than that of contemporary English, American or German firms, producing 200 pianos in 1868, 400 in 1878, and 900 annually in the 1880s when 240 workmen were employed. The firm made 11,400 pianos between 1841 and 1891; the concert grands were used by leading virtuosos, including Anton Rubinstein, whose piano (no.4009) is still in his country home. It had been the custom until that time for foreign artists to take their own instruments with them on Russian tours, but the quality of Becker’s grand pianos made this unnecessary. Becker adopted the principal improvements introduced by European and American makers, including the American system of cross-stringing; in ...

Article

Beuron  

Maurus Pfaff

revised by Manfred Schuler

Benedictine abbey near Sigmaringen, in the province of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was founded as a house of Augustinian canons about 1077 and was granted ecclesiastical sanction by Pope Urban II in 1097. The buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries; the church was built between 1732 and 1738. In 1802, when church property was secularized, the house went into the Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen family's possession, and the buildings were later presented by the Dowager Princess Katharina von Hohenzollern (1819–93) to two Benedictine monks, Maurus and Placidus Wolter. Beuron thus became a Benedictine monastery (1863) and in 1868 it was made an abbey. It became the parent monastery of a Benedictine congregation, with daughter houses in Belgium, Great Britain, Bohemia, Styria, Germany and Brazil. Although it was closed from 1875 to 1887 (because of Prussian Kulturkampf legislation) it became a leading centre of the 19th- and 20th-century liturgical movement, distinguished for its cultivation of the Roman liturgy, the monastic Offices and Gregorian chant, according to the regulations formulated at Solesmes by Guéranger and Pothier. The most prominent Kantors after ...

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. It was founded about 1794 by Henry Bevington, who had worked as a journeyman for Robert Gray (see Gray & Davison before establishing his own business in Greek Street, Soho, London. Bevington took over John Snetzler's old premises in Rose Yard (used by Ohrmann & Nutt after Snetzler's time) a few years later. He was succeeded by his four sons, Henry (b 1813), Alfred (b 1817), Martin (b ?1821) and Charles (b 1823), and the business later descended to a grandson, Lewis H. Bevington (c1859–1938). It was acquired by Hill, Norman & Beard in 1950.

The firm's early success was in the manufacture of barrel organs and small church instruments. They later became more ambitious, building a 30-stop organ for St Mary's Catholic Chapel, Moorfields, London (c1830), with duplication of the open and stopped diapasons, principal and trumpet on the Great and inclusion of a double in the Swell Organ. A number of other large instruments followed including a 41-stop concert organ for the Mechanics' Hall, Nottingham (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Synthesizer module manufacturer founded by John Blacet (b 1946) in 1978 as Blacet Music Research in Lakeview, Oregon. Blacet initially made kits for analogue modules including a digital pattern generator, a voltage-controlled clock with event arranger, a phase filter, and a frequency divider, followed by analogue delay modules, the ‘Dark Star’ (a mini noise module) and the ‘Syn-bow’, a self-contained wand-controlled synthesizer. With the popularity of digital synthesizers in the 1980s Blacet’s business plummeted, but renewed interest in analogue synthesis in the 1990s enabled him to produce a full line of kit and assembled analogue synthesizer modules in the Frac format. These modules are noted for fitting a large amount of functionality into very small modules. In spring ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

German firm of piano makers. Julius Blüthner (b Falkenhain, nr Leipzig, 11 March 1824; d Leipzig, 13 April 1910) began working as a cabinet maker. After working for Hölling and Spangenburg (piano makers) in Zeitz, he started his own small business in Leipzig in 1853, building grand pianos with the assistance of three men and a boy. He patented his ‘repetition action’ after his success at the 1854 Munich Industrial Exhibition. In 1864 he began making upright pianos. He expanded his business as he won prizes and medals at various exhibitions and attracted orders from royalty. He strove constantly to refine his instruments and this work culminated in the 1873 patent for the aliquot scaling of grand pianos. This added a fourth, sympathetic (‘aliquot’) string to each trichord group in the treble to enrich the piano's weakest register by enhancing the overtone spectrum of the instrument. The Aliquot...

Article

Enrico Weller

German brass instrument manufacturer in Graslitz (Kraslice), Czech Republic. Births and deaths (below) occurred in Graslitz unless otherwise indicated. The company was founded on 28 July 1870 by Gustav Bohland (b 13 Feb 1825; d 19 March 1886), who was an independent brass instrument maker from 1850, and the merchant Martin Fuchs (b Hirschenstand, 17 March 1830; d 13 March 1893). In 1886 Martin Fuchs became sole owner of the company, followed by his sons Johann (b 26 Nov 1852; d Meran, 29 April 1905) and Hermann (b 8 Sept 1856; d 1921), and later by his grandchildren Karl (b 25 Feb 1884; d Waiblingen, 29 May 1964) and Adolf (b 7 July 1889; d Waiblingen, 12 April 1969). In 1945 the factory was expropriated and in 1948 became part of the Czechoslovak state enterprise ‘Amati’. Attempts to rebuild the company in West Germany (Neustadt/Aisch) failed in ...

Article

Laurence Libin

Registered trademark for sets of tuned percussion tubes. The tubes, made of coloured, radially flexible plastic, are of graduated length and pitch and produce sounds when hit against surfaces (including the human body), against one another, or by striking the tubes with mallets. An optional cap fitted to a tube lowers its pitch one octave; caps on both ends allow a tube to enclose rattling pellets. The descriptive name (‘boom’ plus ‘whacker’) was coined by Craig Ramsell, who invented the instruments in California in ...

Article

Leon Botstein

Austrian firm of piano makers. Ignaz Bösendorfer (b Vienna, 28 July 1796; d Vienna, 14 April 1859) founded the firm in 1828 after an apprenticeship with Joseph Brodmann. He recognized the need for an instrument that could respond to the demands for volume and pitch stability made by the virtuosos of the 1830s. In a legendary incident only a Bösendorfer piano survived an evening of Liszt's playing. In 1830 Bösendorfer received the first ‘kaiserlich und königlich’ designation granted to a piano maker. The firm reached its technological zenith and greatest fame under Ignaz's son Ludwig (b Vienna, 15 April 1835; d Vienna, 9 May 1919), who trained with his father. Ludwig's patents from the early 1860s concentrated on improvements to the Viennese action. He was staunchly conservative on issues of piano design, resisting the innovations made by Steinway and Chickering between the 1860s and the 1890s in both the use of metal and the technique of framing. Ludwig moved and expanded the factory but retained an artisan system of production. The output between the 1860s and ...

Article

Geoffrey Burgess

American makers of historic oboes. The craftsman Jonathan Bosworth (b Ithaca, NY, 18 June 1938) and oboist Stephen Hammer (b Rochester, NY, 14 April 1951) worked in partnership copying historical double-reed instruments from 1975 to 2002. Their first copy was of an oboe by Thomas Stanesby Sr, then in the possession of Dr Robert M. Rosenbaum. This was followed by copies of oboes by various 18th-century makers, including Thomas Stanesby Jr, J. Denner, Charles Bizey, William Milhouse, C.A., Heinrich Grenser, and J.F. Floth; oboes d’amore by Denner and J.H. Eichentopf; an oboe da caccia by Eichentopf; a tenor oboe by J.C. Denner; and shawms after anonymous specimens (in B.B.mim and CZ.P.nm). Working out of Acton, Massachusetts, they also began designing their own hybrid ‘Saxon’ model patterned after several original oboes from Dresden and Leipzig makers. Production of this model was subsequently transferred to Joel Robinson of New York. By the time their partnership ceased, Bosworth & Hammer had made more than 300 instruments....

Article

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano manufacturers. John Brinsmead (b Weare Giffard, Devon, 13 Oct 1814; d London, 17 Feb 1908) founded the firm in Windmill Street, London, in 1835. His sons Thomas James Brinsmead (d London, 9 Nov 1906) and Edgar Brinsmead (b London, March 1848; d London, 28 Nov 1907) became partners in 1863, when the firm took new premises in Wigmore Street. The firm became a limited company in 1900, by which time annual production totalled 2000 pianos. Following John Brinsmead’s death, the firm was run by his grandson Henry Billinghurst until a long strike in 1920 led the firm into receivership and Walter Saville, a director of J.B. Cramer & Co., purchased the controlling interest in the firm for £4000 in 1921. Manufacture of the Brinsmead and Cramer pianos continued until 1964, when the firm was bought out by Kemble & Co, which retains the title purely as a brand name....

Article

Michael Sayer

English firm of organ builders. In 1868 the Bryceson brothers acquired the sole rights to use Charles Spackman Barker’s practical electric organ mechanisms in England, and the same year the firm, based in London, built organs with electric key action at Drury Lane Theatre, Christ Church, Camberwell, St Michael Cornhill and St George’s, Tufnell Park. The Camberwell instrument was first used at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral, where the organ was placed in the south aisle and its console in the orchestra. The firm also supplied an instrument for the Three Choirs Festival in 1869 in Worcester Cathedral, where it was placed on the chorus platform in front of the west window, with the console next to the conductor. Bryceson Brothers was taken over by Alfred Kirkland some time after 1874, and the combined business was later absorbed by Hill, Norman & Beard. A contemporary account is given in ‘Electric Organ’, ...

Article

René Pierre

Wind instrument makers of Strasbourg. [Life data refer to Strasbourg unless noted.] Jean (Johannes) II Keller (1710–78) was admitted as a turner in the corporation of carpenters in 1736. His three sons were woodwind makers. Jean III Keller (b 14 Dec 1737; d 1785), his first son, was described as ‘Instrumentenmacher’ at his marriage in 1765 and upon the births of his four children. He used the mark ‘[fleur de lis] / KELLER / A STRASBOURG’. Isaac Keller (b 26 Jan 1740; d 11 June 1802), the second son, was received into the corporation of carpenters in 1785, at the death of his brother Jean III. He joined the third son, Jean Philippe Keller (b 10 Nov 1743; d 1 July 1794) by 1790 to create a new partnership, marking their instruments ‘[angel trumpeter] / LES / FRERES/ KELLER’. Etienne Ozi (...

Article

Barbara Owen

American manufacturers of reed organs. The firm was founded circa 1846–1850 in New York by Jeremiah Carhart and Elias Parkman Needham. Carhart had previously learned the trade from George A. Prince of Buffalo, and is credited with the development of the suction bellows system that would distinguish American reed organs from their European counterparts, using the term “melodeon” to designate such instruments. Carhart’s patent of the suction system was the first on record, and for some time he was able to receive royalties from other firms using it, until competitors were able to prove that use of the suction system by others had predated his patent. He eventually patented other improvements in the design and manufacture of reed organs, and his machine for producing reed cells helped to open the door to the concept of mass production in the entire reed organ industry. Carhart & Needham manufactured both complete reed organs and reeds to sell to other makers. By ...

Article

Carvin  

Matthew Hill

Firm of musical instrument manufacturers and distributors, primarily of electric guitars, amplifiers and sound-reinforcement equipment. The company was founded in 1946 in Los Angeles, California by Hawaiian guitarist Lowell C. Kiesel (b Eustis, NE, 22 Feb 1915; d San Diego, 28 Dec 2009) as the L.C. Kiesel Company. In the late 1940s the company relocated to Gothenburg, Nebraska. In 1949, Kiesel moved back to the Los Angeles area and renamed the company “Carvin,” after his two eldest sons Carson and Gavin. The company has relocated and expanded several times during its existence; to Baldwin Park in the early 1950s, Covina in 1956, Escondido in 1975, and to San Diego in 1995.

The company began by marketing electric guitar pickups of Kiesel’s design, but soon expanded to selling complete instruments (mostly Hawaiian guitars), and amplifiers. In 1954, the company began extensive mail-order sales, featuring Spanish and Hawaiian electric guitars, double-neck instruments, electric guitar kits, electronic components for musical instruments, and even accordions. At various times in the 1950s and 60s, catalogs featured not only the company’s own offerings, but instruments and accessories made by Fender, Martin, Bigsby, and DeArmond. In addition to consumer sales, Carvin also made electric guitar pickups for other manufacturers, notably those found in early Mosrite instruments....

Article

Casio  

Hugh Davies

Japanese electronic instrument manufacturer. Casio was founded in Tokyo about 1956 by Toshio Kashio as the Casio Computer Co., to make smaller electronic machines; it has been specially successful with its pocket calculators, digital watches and cash registers. Its first musical keyboard was marketed in 1980. Casio pioneered electronic keyboards designed for children. It has manufacturered organ-like home keyboards (since ...

Article

Challen  

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers. Thomas Butcher (fl 1804–47) started making pianos at 41 Great Titchfield Street, London, in 1804. William Challen (d London, 1861) was associated with Butcher from 1816, and by 1839 the firm had become Challen and Hollis. William’s son Charles went into partnership with (?Charles) Hodgson but when C.H. Challen joined, the firm became Challen and Son. They won a reputation for good-quality pianos at moderate prices. In World War I part of the firm’s woodworking machinery was commandeered and it was allowed to produce only four pianos a week. This led it to continue making relatively few models, thereby economizing in the range of machinery and raw materials required. Since the 1930s over 180 Challen pianos, from large concert grand pianos to small studio uprights have been used in BBC studios. Challen specialized in small grand pianos, and made the smallest on the market (122 cm long). The firm was acquired in ...

Article

Kyle Devine

American manufacturer of electronic keyboards and drum machines. The company was founded in Upland, California, by Harry Chamberlin in the late 1940s. Instead of the electronic circuits and digital processors used to generate sound in most synthesizers, Chamberlins replay the sounds of existing instruments and effects recorded to electromagnetic tape. In using prerecorded sound, Chamberlins are considered forerunners of digital sampling techniques and technologies.

Harry Chamberlin’s first device, the Rhythmate (considered one of the first drum machines) used a series of dials and switches to play back fourteen looped drum patterns. Later designs, such as the Model 200 (1950s) and the M1 (1970s), used a conventional keyboard to activate the tape mechanism. Instead of tape loops, these keyboard models used tape strips that played for several seconds before automatically rewinding. Using tape strips allowed the initial attack of the instrument to be heard.

Sales were sizeable but never enormous: several hundred Chamberlins were produced during the company’s lifespan (...

Article

Cynthia Adams Hoover

American firm of piano makers. Jonas Chickering (b Mason, NH, 5 April 1797; d Boston, MA, 8 Dec 1853) had apprenticeships with cabinetmakers in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, and Boston, and from 1819 to 1823 with the Boston piano maker John Osborne. He formed a partnership in 1823 with the British maker James Stewart; they built about 100 pianos in Boston until 1826, when Stewart returned to London. Chickering then built about 30 to 40 pianos a year until 1830, when he joined in partnership with the wealthy Boston shipping merchant John Mackay. The infusion of capital allowed Chickering to improve and increase the manufacture of square, cabinet upright, and by 1840 grand pianos (in 1839 his firm made over 580 pianos), while Mackay expanded markets for the instruments in American and foreign ports. By 1837 Chickering had developed a one-piece cast-iron frame (patented 1840) for the square piano that improved on a design of Alpheus Babcock, who was then working for Chickering. By ...

Article

Clavia  

Brandon Smith

[Clavia Digital Musical Instruments AB]

Swedish producer of virtual analogue synthesizers and digital organ and electric piano emulations. The company was founded in 1983 in Stockholm by Hans Nordelius (b1949) and Mikael Carlsson, and it sells its products under the brand name Nord. Clavia’s first product, the Digital Percussion Plate 1, introduced in 1983, developed into the ‘ddrum’ series of digital drum synthesizers. In 1995 Clavia produced its first keyboard synthesizer, a virtual analogue called the Nord Lead. Two years later Clavia developed a hardware synthesizer with a computer interface called the Nord Modular, which was fully patchable via the supplied editor software. In 2001, Clavia released the Nord Electro line of performance-oriented keyboards featuring realistic emulations of classic electromechanical instruments such as the Rhodes piano and Clavinet plus a virtual Hammond tonewheel organ. The Electro series (now in its second version) is used by many performing groups. The double-manual Nord C1 (introduced in ...

Article

Niall O’Loughlin

revised by Robert Bigio

(b Dublin, Ireland, 1809; d London, England, May 7, 1864). Irish flutist, composer, flute designer, and manufacturer. He became professor of flute at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1840s, and was an enthusiastic player of Boehm’s 1832 conical flute as made by Rudall & Rose from 1843. He published the first English-language tutor for the instrument, followed by further editions. However, Clinton appears to have fallen out with Boehm after failing to persuade him to allow Clinton to produce Boehm’s newly invented (1847) cylindrical flute in London (Boehm sold the rights to Rudall & Rose instead). Clinton then denounced Boehm’s work, declaring his opposition to Boehm’s open-standing (fully vented) key system (the virtues of which he had previously extolled) as well as to Boehm’s cylindrical bore and his use of metal for the body.

In 1848 Clinton registered the first of his four patents for flutes, to which he gave the name Equisonant. These use a fingering system similar to that of the eight-keyed flute, on a conical bore but with a mechanism that allows the tone holes to be better placed. After ...