101-120 of 211 results  for:

  • Instrument-building Firms x
Clear all

Article

Martin Krivin

revised by Margaret Downie Banks

Firm of instrument makers. It was founded as the H.N. White Company (Cleveland) in 1893 by Henderson Nelson White (1873–1940), an instrument repairman, amateur musician, and businessman. White created the company’s first instrument, a trombone, in consultation with trombonist Thomas H. King (1868–1926), after whom the King line was named. The company was renamed King Musical Instruments in 1966.

Foster A. Reynolds (1884–1960) managed White’s factory and a full line of band instruments from 1903 to 1935. A department of acoustical research was established in 1909 in a new factory at 5225 Superior Avenue. Saxophone manufacture began in 1916, followed by the invention of the King saxello (1924; a straight soprano sax with a curved neck and half-turned bell) and the pioneering introduction of sterling silver bells on cornets, trumpets, and trombones. White purchased the Cleveland Musical Instrument Company (1925), added stringed instruments to his line (...

Article

Koch  

Walter Hüttel

German family of organists and organ builders. Paul Koch the elder (d Zwickau, 1546), from St Joachimsthal (now Jáchymov), Bohemia, went to Zwickau in 1543 and there renovated the organs in St Marien and St Katharinen. Paul Koch the younger (bur. Zwickau, 28 Sept 1580) worked as organist in Zwickau, from 1544 at St Katharinen, and from 1552 at St Marien. He renovated the organ in Weiden. Hans Koch was organist from 1563 to 1568 at the Petrikirche in Freiberg, Saxony. Stephan Koch (d Zwickau, 29 Dec 1590) was organist at St Dorotheen in Vienna in 1564, and later in Annaberg (Erzgebirge), where he married in 1570. From 21 July 1575 he lived as a wealthy citizen and organist and highly esteemed instrument maker in Zwickau. He completed an organ begun by Jakob Weinrebe in Bischofswerda (Christuskirche, 1571) and built instruments in Olomouc (St Mauritius, ...

Article

Kolberg  

James Holland

German firm of percussion instrument manufacturers. It was founded near Stuttgart in 1968 by Bernard Kolberg (b Oberschliesen, Upper Silesia, 1942), a percussionist and engineer. The firm has been influential in extending the possibilities of existing instruments and in the development of new ones. It has produced extended-range tubular bells (three octaves), crotales (five octaves), bell plates (five octaves), anvils (four octaves), boobams (three octaves) and other instruments, and a mounted tambourine to facilitate the endless thumb trill; it has also developed a number of technical innovations for pedal timpani....

Article

Korg  

Hugh Davies

Japanese firm of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Tokyo in 1963 by Tsutomu Katoh and the accordion player Tadashi Osanai as Keio Geijutsu Kenkyujo. From 1968 the firm became known as Keio Electronic Laboratories; although they used the brand-name Korg (‘Katoh-Osanai organ’) on the products, this became the company's official name only in the mid-1980s. Keio began by constructing rhythm units for Yamaha's Electone electronic organs, then produced its own separate units, the Doncamatic rhythm machine followed by the MiniPops series. Korg soon became one of the most successful Japanese manufacturers of electronic instruments, and produced the first Japanese synthesizer in 1968. In 1986 Yamaha bought a 40% stake in Korg.

The range of Korg instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers (such as the Polysix), synthesizer modules, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), string synthesizers, home keyboards, electronic percussion units, guitar synthesizers, samplers, electronic tuners and a vocoder. Its most successful product has been the M1 work station (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Unique MIDI synthesizer controlled by a gamma-ray spectrometer designed and built by Jerry Chamkis (b Los Angeles, CA, 1942). He studied physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, but disillusioned by the emphasis on military applications, he left and became chief engineer at a radio station in Houston, Texas. In 1975, he formed AERCO (Acme Electric Robot Company), where he initially produced peripheral devices and memory expansions for small computers and then moved on to computer-controlled hot wire cutting systems, broadcast equipment, and microphone preamplifiers. Since about 2000 he has concentrated on various art projects such as the Kosmophone.

The gamma-ray spectrometer used for the Kosmophone operates at 3–7 million electron volts, the energy coming primarily from very high-energy cosmic radiation. Although mostly stopped by the atmosphere, gamma rays produce secondary energy emissions that the Kosmophone detects, sending the information to a synthesizer MIDI control port. The radiation pulses are processed and digitized to 12 bits, 7 of which are sent as the MIDI pitch value and 4 as the MIDI velocity value. The first Kosmophone was built from standard nuclear instrumentation modules and custom circuit boards. The second version is a self-contained portable unit with an integral detector, a self-contained nuclear analyser, an Alesis QSR synthesizer, and a 100-watt-per-channel amplifier. It was first shown publicly at the Electricity and Me show at Gallery Lombardi in Austin, Texas, in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

French piano manufacturer, founded in 1831 by Jean-Georges Kriegelstein (b Riquewihr, Alsace, 1801; d Paris, France, 20 Nov 1865). Having arrived in Paris in 1815, he was listed as a piano maker there by 1824, and worked for Jean-Henri Pape from 1826 until 1831. In partnership with Arnaud (about whom nothing is known), he exhibited two square pianos in 1834, one with an upstriking action and one with a downstriking action, the latter receiving a silver medal; it was patented in 1833. At this time, Kriegelstein and Arnaud, of rue des Petites-Stables, employed 20 to 25 workers who made 70 pianos per year. Kriegelstein and the French composer Charles Plantade were partners from 1838 until at least 1849 with a factory at rue Laval, St Georges. In 1839 Kriegelstein patented a grand piano nut and a damper system. Another patent of 1841 was for an Agraffe with adjustable screw placed between the tuning pin and the bridge to adjust the tuning....

Article

Gillian Weir

Swiss firm of organ builders. The firm was founded in Männedorf, near Zürich, by Johann Nepomuk Kuhn (1827–88). He was succeeded by his son, Carl Theodor Kuhn, after whose death in 1925 ownership of the company passed to family friends, who with their successors control the company. By 1876 it had built organs for such important cathedrals as St Gallen and the Zürich Grossmünster, and by 1900 had exported widely, especially to France.

The company has always been noted for its progressiveness, and has patented several major technical innovations, such as the ‘System Kuhn’, developed in 1891 for the firm's first tubular-pneumatic organ. It responded quickly to the Orgelbewegung: the Berne Minster organ of 1930 was built with slider-chests and a Rückpositiv (but electro-pneumatic key- and stop-actions), and the 1937 organ at Fribourg was Kuhn’s first instrument with slider-chests and mechanical key- and stop-action. In 1964 it built its last electric action organ, and since then, under the guidance of Friedrich Jakob, who became associated with Kuhn in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Modified glove that can control sound, mechanical devices, and lights. It was created by the sound artist and performer Laetitia Sonami (b France, 1957). Sonami received her MFA from the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College in 1980. She made the first pair of glove controllers in 1991 for a performance with Paul DeMarinis called ‘Mechanization Takes Command’ at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. The pair of rubber kitchen gloves (a deliberately ironic choice) has five Hall effect transducers glued to the fingertips of the left-hand glove and a magnet glued to the right-hand glove. Touching fingers to the magnet causes different voltages to be converted into MIDI signals that then are sent over connecting wires to control synthesizers and samplers. The second version has one white arm-length left glove using the same type of transducers on the fingertips with an added magnet on the inside of the thumb and a set of microswitches on the tops of the fingers and with the wires hidden in the glove. The right hand manipulates a mixing board. Lady’s Glove controller no.3 is made of gold Lycra with resistive strips (bend sensors taken from a Mattel toy ‘Power Glove’) sewn along the fingers and the wrist. The inside of the index finger has a pressure pad sewn on, and the palm has an ultrasonic transmitter. One receiver on the right arm and another on the left foot allow for calculating the distance between the hands and the height of the left hand above the ground....

Article

Margaret Cranmer

Portuguese firm of piano makers. Luigi Gioacchino Lambertini (b Bologna, 17 March 1790; d Lisbon, 13 Nov 1864) was a fellow student of Rossini at the Liceo Filarmonico (now Conservatorio Statale di Musica G.B. Martini), Bologna. He emigrated to Lisbon for political reasons in 1836, and established a piano-making business with the help of four of the best workers from his Italian workshop, receiving a prize for his instruments in 1838. In 1860, under the direction of his sons Evaristo (b ?Bologna, 10 June 1827; d Lisbon, 7 Dec 1900) and Ermete Lambertini (d Lisbon, 11 Dec 1887), the firm became Lambertini Filhos & Ca., selling and publishing music as well as making pianos. The firm later became Lambertini & Irmão. Evaristo's son, Michel'Angelo Lambertini (b Oporto, 14 April 1852; d Lisbon, 20 Dec 1920), was a fine pianist and founded the Grande Orchestra Portuguesa in ...

Article

John Thomas

Instrument makers of Swedish birth. From the late 1800s through the early 1940s Carl Johan Ferdinand Larson (b Sweden, 31 Dec 1867; d Chicago, IL, 4 Sept 1946) and (Peter) August Larson (b Sweden, 24 April 1873; d Chicago, IL, 16 June 1944) produced a wide array of fretted instruments, including guitars, mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos and mandobasses, ukuleles, tiples and mandolinettos, and harp guitars.

The brothers immigrated to Chicago in the late 1880s and worked at the Cubley Drum Factory until a fire destroyed it in 1892. They subsequently worked at Maurer Mandolin and Guitars, which was purchased by two outside investors in 1900. A few years later, the brothers bought out the investors.

In 1904, August received a patent for a design incorporating laminated bracing that strengthened their guitars, enabling the brothers to equip their instruments with steel strings a full two decades before C.F. Martin and Company. August received four more patents in his lifetime, including one for the steel rod system that ran lengthwise inside the Prairie State brand of guitars....

Article

Rick Mattingly

[LP]

Manufacturer of Latin-American and other percussion instruments, headquartered in Garfield, New Jersey. The company was founded by Martin Cohen (b Bronx, NY, 28 Jan 1939), an engineer with a passion for Latin music who began making bongos in the late 1950s because a government-imposed trade embargo made instruments from Cuba difficult to obtain. In August 1964, Cohen began marketing products under the name Latin Percussion, including bongos, timbales, and cowbells. LP’s fiberglass congas gained a reputation for being louder and more durable than traditional wood congas. During the 1960s, Cohen also made percussion sound effects for Carroll Sound in New York and cowbells for the Rogers Drum Company.

Cohen’s innovative designs include the Vibraslap, which reproduces the sound made by striking a horse jawbone with rattling teeth; the Afuche/Cabassa, which creates the sound of a traditional cabassa made from gourds wrapped with beads; and the Jam Block, which is made from plastic but replicates the sound of a woodblock. Cohen also became known for his photographs of LP products and endorsers....

Article

Leedy  

Edmund A. Bowles

American firm of drum makers. It was established in Indianapolis in 1900 by Ulysses G. Leedy (b Fostoria, OH, 1867; d Indianapolis, IN, 7 Jan 1931) and Samuel L. Cooley as Leedy & Cooley and made “everything for the band and orchestra drummer.” Leedy, a professional musician and drum maker, bought out his partner in 1903 and broadened the firm’s product line to include more than 900 items, among them orchestra bells, vibraphones, and numerous sound effect instruments to accompany silent movies. Most important were the timpani designed by factory superintendent cecil h. Strupe and patented in 1923. They featured a ratchet-and-pawl clutch for locking the foot pedal in position and rods connected to the tensioning screws around the rim. The copper bowls were formed in a hydraulic press rather than spun on a lathe or hand-hammered over molds. Leedy timpani were exported to England during the 1920s, but later only the parts were shipped and the drums themselves were assembled by the Hawkes firm. Subsequently, they became the model for the first English pedal timpani. Leedy was purchased by the C.G. Conn company in ...

Article

Lipp  

Hugh Davies

revised by William Jurgenson and Anne Beetem Acker

German firm of keyboard instrument makers. It was founded in Stuttgart in 1831 by Richard Lipp (1805–74), who had apprenticed with Haug and thereafter was a journeyman for other Stuttgart builders. At some point the firm became known as Richard Lipp & Sohn, when presumably a son came into partnership who continued the business after his father’s death, but documentation is lacking. Two 6½-octave rosewood square pianos were exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. Surviving 19th-century Lipp grand pianos are very well regarded, with their design at the forefront of piano developments. Piano manufacture constituted the majority of the firm’s business from 1895 to 1965. From 1985 to 1992 pianos under the brand name Lipp were manufactured by the Bentley Co. Ltd and then from 1993 by Whelpdale, Maxwell, & Codd Ltd until that company ceased piano production in 2003. In 2005 the trademark for R. Lipp & Sohn was registered by Neville Charles Oreo of Australia. Three models of grands and four sizes of uprights produced in China were available in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

An electronic organ, many models of which have been manufactured by the Lowrey Organ Co. in Lincolnwood, near Chicago (later in nearby Deerfield, and recently in nearby LaGrange Park), from about 1949. In 1918 the F.C. Lowrey Co. (founded by Frederick C. Lowrey) purchased the designs for the Choralcelo (an electrically-powered Sostenente piano) and from the 1920s experimented with many types of sound-generating systems in pursuit of a fully electronic organ. The first electronic instrument marketed by Lowrey was the Organo (1949), a small electronic organ controlled from the keyboard of a piano. Since the early 1950s a wide range of organs has been produced, including church, theatre and home organs, as well as electronic pianos, from the mid-1980s based on sampled timbres. In 1977 Lowrey became a division of Norlin Industries; it was acquired by Kawai in 1988.

From 1956 Lowrey organs featured a downward semitone ‘glide’, superseded in the 1980s by portamento and transposition. Many earlier models included a Leslie tremulant loudspeaker; in the 1970s Lowrey replaced this with an electronic equivalent. Advances in electronic technology around ...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

German firm of harpsichord and piano makers . Karl Maendler (b Munich, 22 March 1872; d Munich, 2 Aug 1958) began as a piano maker. He married Susanne Schramm, daughter of M.J. Schramm, and on 1 April 1903 became the sole owner of his father-in-law's piano firm in Munich. It is probable that the firm had already produced harpsichords (one labelled ‘M.J. Schramm’ is known to exist), but Maendler built up this side of the business, producing his first harpsichord in 1907, and continuing to make harpsichords, clavichords and pianos until he went blind in 1956. The business then passed to Ernst Zucker. Maendler's main output was of heavily built, mass-produced instruments; he also built harpsichords to the so-called ‘Bach disposition’ ( see Bach harpsichord ); he also used a metal frame which Zucker called Panzerplatte. In the 1920s he developed the Bachklavier , an attempt at a harpsichord capable of admitting touch dynamics. On the other hand, the Händel-Haus at Halle has a Maendler-Schramm harpsichord of ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Swedish piano manufacturer established in Göteborg in December 1843 by Johan Gustaf Malmsjö (b Skane, Sweden, Jan 14, 1815; d Göteborg, Sweden, Sept 13, 1891). A talented musician, Malmsjö studied carpentry for six years, then worked with the luthier Olaf Berndt Ekström in Malmö. From 1838 to 1842 he studied with Andreas Marschall, then the largest piano maker in Copenhagen, after which he returned to Malmö. There, working again with Ekström, he made two square pianos, which he sold upon moving to start his own firm in Göteborg. He first rented a workshop at Gustof Adolf Square, but in April 1844 moved to a larger shop in a house where he worked with two assistants, adding two more the following year. In 1847 he moved the workshop to a larger building nearby. C.H. Billberg, who was Malmsjö’s partner from 1859 to 1864, had visited piano makers in America from ...

Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Ole Olesen

Danish firm of organ builders . It was founded in 1806 by Jürgen Marcussen (1781–1860); it operated under the name of Marcussen & Reuter from 1826 to 1848, when it became Marcussen & Søn. Johannes Lassen Zachariassen (1864–1922), a great grandson of the founder, was managing director from 1902 to 1922, and his son Sybrand (1900–60) from 1922 to 1960. Sybrand’s son Sybrand Jürgen (b Flensburg, 22 Oct 1931) became director in 1960, and the latter’s daughter Claudia Zachariassen (b Sønderborg, 26 May 1969) joined the firm in 1995. The firm is based in Åbenrå, southern Jutland, and has been active chiefly in Denmark, but it has also built in northern Germany, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Japan and the USA. Among its important works are the organs in Christiansborg Slotskirche, Copenhagen (1829), the Nikolaikirche, Kiel (1842...

Article

Enrico Weller

German town famous for instrument production since the mid-17th century. It was named Neukirchen until 1858. Instrument making first developed there when Bohemian luthiers began settling in the area (Vogtland) as a consequence of the Counter-Reformation. A guild of violin makers was founded in 1677; a violin, a cittern, and a viola da gamba were at first required as masterpieces. Early violin making in the Vogtland was characterized by free-form construction (without use of an inside mould) and an integral neck and upper block. The various violin workshops (Ficker, Gläsel, Hamm, Heberlein, Reichel, Schönfelder, Voigt, etc.) had individual styles, but Italian stylistic influence became evident from about 1800 to 1840.

In the mid-19th century, specialized division of labour led to mass-production of violin bodies and parts by means of cottage industry. Inexpensive violins were manufactured (often more than 100,000 instruments per year) until the 1930s. Between 1906 and 1930 a joint-stock (cooperative) company for violin making existed....

Article

Tony Bacon

British amplifier manufacturer. After requests from British rock guitarists and bass players who needed an affordable amplifier capable of high sound levels, the drum teacher and music shop owner Jim Marshall teamed up with his service engineer Ken Bran in 1962 to produce a British-made musical instrument amplifier based on the Californian-made Fender Bassman. Marshall and Bran’s amplifiers were soon developed into the famous ‘Marshall stack’, consisting of an amplifier head containing the valves, circuitry and controls sitting on top of two ‘four-by-twelve’ cabinets, each containing four Celestion 12-inch (30·48 cm) loudspeakers. Delivering 50 watts RMS and frequently more, the ‘stacks’ provided exactly the sort of high power demanded by emerging players such as Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Players such as these were playing electric guitars through Marshall amplifiers at increasingly extreme volume levels in the late 1960s as venues became larger and outdoor festivals more popular. Marshall also produced ‘combo’ amplifiers which combined the amplifier and loudspeakers within one cabinet. Building on the fame of their early innovations, Marshall has become a leading supplier of equipment wherever high quality and high volume amplification is required....

Article

Margaret Cranmer and Barbara Owen

American firm of piano and reed organ makers . It was founded in Boston in 1854 by Henry Mason (1831–90), son of the composer Lowell Mason, and Emmons Hamlin (1821–85). Hamlin had previously been employed by the George A. Prince melodeon factory as superintendent of tuning, in which capacity he had developed the art of voicing free reeds to produce imitative effects; this system ultimately led to the development of the modern theatre organ. The firm’s first instruments were of the traditional melodeon type; it soon began making larger models with a greater variety of stops, and in 1861 changed the name of these products to ‘cabinet organ’ (sometimes referred to as the ‘flat top’ melodeon). By 1867, when it was awarded a first prize at the Paris Exposition, the firm was manufacturing about a quarter of the reed organs produced in the USA. In the 1890s its models ranged from the tiny ‘Baby’ organ (introduced ...