Broadwood and Sons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Broadwood piano, c. 1840

Broadwood and Sons is an English piano manufacturer, founded in 1728 by Burkat Shudi and continued after his death in 1773 by John Broadwood.[1]

Early history[edit]

John Broadwood, a Scottish joiner and cabinetmaker, came to London in 1761 and began to work for the Swiss harpsichord manufacturer Burkat Shudi.[2] He married Shudi's daughter eight years later and became a partner in the firm in 1770. As the popularity of the harpsichord declined, the firm concentrated increasingly on the manufacture of pianos, abandoning the harpsichord altogether in 1793.[3] Broadwood's son, James Shudi Broadwood, had worked for the firm since 1785, and, in 1795, the firm began to trade as John Broadwood & Son.[2] When Broadwood's third son, Thomas Broadwood, became a partner in 1808, the firm assumed the name of John Broadwood & Sons Ltd, which it retains to this day.[2]


A 1929 Broadwood Baby Grand piano

Broadwood produced his first square piano in 1771, after the model of Johannes Zumpe, and worked assiduously to develop and refine the instrument, moving the wrest plank of the earlier pianoforte, which had sat to the side of the case as in the clavichord, to the back of the case in 1781,[4] straightening the keys, and replacing the hand stops with pedals.[2] In 1789, at Jan Ladislav Dussek's suggestion, he extended the range of his grand piano beyond five octaves to CC in the treble, and again to six full octaves in 1794.[5] The improved instruments became popular with musicians such as Joseph Haydn,[5] Ludwig van Beethoven,[6] and Frédéric Chopin.[7]

1788 five octave Broadwood & Sons piano from the Hans Adler collection. [1]


The company holds a Royal Warrant as a manufacturer and tuner of pianos.[8] In 2008, the company was acquired by Dr. Alastair Laurence, a piano builder and technician with family ties to the Broadwood firm dating back to 1787. To coincide with the change in ownership, new restoration and conservation workshops are now located at Finchcocks, Goudhurst, Kent, England.


  1. ^ Latham, Alison. "Broadwood". The Oxford Companion to Music. Oxford Music Online. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d Adlam, Derek; Ehrlich, Cyril (2009). "Broadwood". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Ehrlich, Cyril (1976). "Introduction". The Piano: A History. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-460-04246-8. 
  4. ^ Dolge, Alfred (1972). "2". Pianos and their makers: a comprehensive history of the development of the piano from the monochord to the concert grand player piano. New York: Dover Publications. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-486-22856-3. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Wainwright, David (October 1982). "John Broadwood, the Harpsichord and the Piano". The Musical Times (Musical Times Publications Ltd.) 123 (1676): 675–678. doi:10.2307/962117. JSTOR 962117. 
  6. ^ Mobbs, Kenneth; Latcham, Michael (August 1992). "Beethoven's Broadwood". Early Music (Oxford University Press) 20 (3): 527. JSTOR 3127739. 
  7. ^ Zaluski, Iwo; Zaluski, Pamela (May 1992). "Chopin in London". The Musical Times (Musical Times Publications Ltd.) 133 (1791): 226–230. doi:10.2307/1193699. JSTOR 1193699. 
  8. ^ "Entry for John Broadwood & Sons Ltd". The Royal Warrant Holders Association. Retrieved 4 May 2009. 

External links[edit]