81-90 of 219 results  for:

  • Instrument-building Firms x
  • Music Business, Institutions and Organizations x
Clear all

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. Robert Gray (d 1796) was in business at Leigh Street, Red Lion Square, London, in 1774. By 1787 he had been joined by William Gray (d c1820), and a trade card of about 1795 advertises them as ‘Robert & William Gray, Organ, Harpsichord & Piano-Forte Makers’. Following Robert’s death William carried on business in his own name; he was succeeded by his son John Gray (d 1849) who had, by 1837, taken his son Robert into partnership.

The firm’s work was highly regarded in the early 19th century. Their tonal schemes reflected the growing taste for delicate voices and imitative reeds, but the Great Organ always contained a complete chorus and William Gray was one of the first to make regular use of Pedal pipes. Important contracts during this period included new organs for St Anne’s, Soho (...

Article

Margaret Cranmer

German firm of piano makers. C(arl) F(riedrich) Theodor Steinweg (b Seesen, 6 Nov 1825; d Brunswick, 26 March 1889), the eldest son of H.E. Steinweg, continued the family piano-making business in Seesen when his father and the rest of the family emigrated in 1850 to New York where they founded Steinway. In 1855 the German firm moved from Seesen to Wolfenbüttel, where in 1858 (Georg) Friedrich (Carl) Grotrian (b Brunswick, 13 Jan 1803; d 11 Dec 1860), who had sold his Moscow music shop and piano-making business, became Theodor’s partner. The firm then moved to Brunswick.

In 1865 Theodor emigrated to New York to assist his father, having sold his share in the business to Wilhelm Grotrian (b Moscow, 12 Aug 1843; d Brunswick, 21 Feb 1917, the son of Friedrich Grotrian), Adolf Helfferich and H.O.W. Schulz, who continued the business under the name C.F.Th. Steinweg Nachf. This trade name was changed to Grotrian, Helfferich, Schulz, Th. Steinweg Nachf. in ...

Article

Karl J. Raudsepp

Canadian firm of organ builders . It was founded in 1946 by Maurice Guilbault (1903–69), who had previously worked for Casavant Frères of St Hyacinthe, Quebec, and Antonio Delage. In 1962 the company was incorporated as Orgue Providence Inc., taking its name from the location of the workshop. Guilbault’s son André (b St Hyacinthe, 28 Nov 1937) joined the firm in 1955 and succeeded his father as head of the company in 1968. At about that time he was joined by Guy Thérien (b Iberville, PQ, 20 Nov 1947; d St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, 11 May 2001), a young apprentice voicer from Casavant Frères. The company adopted its present name, Guilbault-Thérien Inc., in 1979. A new and enlarged workshop was built to accommodate the expanding business in 1985.

The firm began by rebuilding instruments using primarily electro-pneumatic technology. Examples include the electro-pneumatic rebuilding of the historic 1863...

Article

Margaret Cranmer and Kari Michelsen

Norwegian firm of piano makers and music publishers. The brothers Karl Hals (b Sörum, 27 April 1822; d Christiania [now Oslo], 7 Dec 1898) and Petter Hals (1823–71) set up as Brødrene Hals, piano makers, in Christiania in November 1847, having studied piano making abroad. They first made only oblique-strung upright pianos, but later changed to upright vertical and cross-strung instruments, better suited to the harsh Norwegian climate. They manufactured several thousand instruments and they also specialized in repair work. They received medals at exhibitions in 1862, 1866, 1867 and 1900. In 1890 the factory had 100 employees.

By 1869 their bichord and trichord upright pianos had three iron bars and metal plates bracing the deepest octaves, the larger trichord upright pianos having five iron bars with metal plates for all the strings. All vertical upright pianos had seven octaves whereas grand and cross-strung upright pianos had seven and a quarter octaves. In cross-strung upright pianos the strings were somewhat longer, giving a rich tone, the metal plate being fastened to an iron frame under the soundboard, and to three iron bars placed over it. The firm made harmoniums from ...

Article

Hans Klotz

revised by Hermann Fischer

German firm of organ builders. Philipp Furtwängler (b Gütenbach, Baden-Württemberg, 6 April 1800; d Elze, Hanover, 5 July 1867), a clockmaker in Elze, taught himself to build organs, completing his first instrument in 1838. He took his son Wilhelm (b Elze, 5 June 1829; d Elze, 3 Sept 1883) into the firm in 1854, and his son Pius (b Elze, 14 July 1841; d Hanover, 16 Jan 1910) in 1862, when the firm’s name was altered to Ph. Furtwängler & Söhne, Elze. Adolf Hammer (b Herzberg im Harz, 6 April 1854; d Hanover, 5 March 1921) entered the firm in 1883, in which year it moved to Hanover and changed its name to P. Furtwängler & Hammer, Hanover. Adolf Hammer’s nephew Emil Hammer (b Wesermünde, 22 Feb 1878; d Hanover, 3 Dec 1958) became managing director in 1921 and sole proprietor in ...

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. It was founded in Rochdale in 1861 by Thomas Hugh Harrison (b London, 27 Dec 1839; d Isleworth, 24 March 1912), whose father, another Thomas (c1807–93), had set up in business as an organ parts supplier in the New Road, London, in 1830. The son served an apprenticeship with Henry Willis, and then went north to exploit the demand for organs created by the building of churches and chapels in the industrial districts. He may have acquired Richard Nicholson's business when the latter moved away from Rochdale in 1861 (see Nicholson family). In 1870 he moved to Durham. His brother James (who had also been apprenticed to Willis) joined him in 1872 and the firm became Harrison & Harrison. The organs of this period are well-built, of good materials, and already reveal the concern for tonal refinement, and taste for smooth reeds, solid Pedal Organs and variety of string tone which were to become characteristic of the firm’s work after ...

Article

Nicholas Thistlethwaite

English firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1916 with the amalgamation of Wm. Hill & Son (see Hill family) and Norman & Beard Ltd of Norwich. Norman & Beard had been founded as ‘E.W. Norman, Organ Builder, Diss’ in about 1870. Ernest William Norman (1852–1927) had served a part-apprenticeship with J.W. Walker. After a few years he was joined in business by his brother, Herbert John Norman (1861–1936) and a premium apprentice, George Wales Beard. When Beard became a partner (c1886) the firm was known as ‘Norman Bros. & Beard’. By the end of the century they had a purpose-built works in Norwich, and reputedly employed 300 men.

The firm’s work was progressive. During the 1890s they sub-contracted for Robert Hope-Jones’s Electric Organ Co., and when it was obliged to close in 1899 they acquired his electric action patents. H.J. Norman also developed an exhaust-pneumatic action which was extensively used by the firm throughout the first half of the 20th century (its first successful application was in ...

Article

Hinners  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders. It was founded in Pekin, Illinois, in 1879 by John L. Hinners (b Wheeling, WV, 11 Aug 1846; d Pekin, IL, 24 Aug 1906) for the manufacture of reed organs. Hinners had previously worked as a foreman for Mason & Hamlin. J.J. Fink became his partner for a short time in 1881, and in 1886 he was joined by U.J. Albertsen, the name changing to Hinners & Albertsen. Around 1890 they began making pipe organs, the first recorded instrument being installed in 1892 in the German Evangelical Church of Huntingburg, Indiana. In 1902 the firm incorporated under the name of Hinners Organ Co., with John Hinners, his son Arthur, Jacob A. Roelf and Heilo J. Rust as principals. Arthur Hinners (d 1955) became director of the firm on the death of his father. Although the company's output was considerable, and 97 employees are recorded for ...

Article

Hohner  

Hugh Davies and Christoph Wagner

German manufacturer of harmonicas, accordions, keyboard instruments and guitars. It was founded in 1857 in Trossingen by the clockmaker Matthias Hohner (b 1833; d Trossingen, 1903), who was not so much an innovator as a perfector of other people’s inventions, which he then marketed successfully. He learnt how to make his first harmonica after visiting a friend’s workshop. For almost half a century he focussed on this single product, which was exported to more than 100 countries around the world. The biggest market was the USA, which in 1890 absorbed more than 90% of the firm’s production. Hohner was the unrivalled market leader and the company name became almost synonymous with the harmonica (see Harmonica). After Matthias’s death his five sons took over the business. They began also to make accordions, and contributed greatly to their technical and musical advancement. The Hohner ‘Gola’ piano accordion, which is still produced, is seen by many as the ‘Stradivari’ of accordions. By the 1920s the company had become the world’s largest producer of musical instruments, employing a workforce of nearly 5000. In ...

Article

Barbara Owen

American organ building firm. It was founded in 1827 by Elias Hook (1805–81) and George Greenleaf Hook (1807–80), under the name of E. & G.G. Hook. The sons of William Hook, a cabinetmaker of Salem, Massachusetts, they had apprenticed with William M. Goodrich in Boston. After building a few organs in Salem they moved to a workshop in Boston where in 1833 they built their first three-manual organ for the First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1845 they built what was considered the first concert organ in Boston for Tremont Temple. When this was later destroyed by fire the Hooks built their first four-manual organ in 1853 for its successor, and in the following year they built a large new steam-powered factory. By the 1850s the firm had become the leading organ-building establishment in Boston and was producing an average of between 15 and 20 organs a year in this period, largely for locations in the northeastern United States....