Broadwood & Son Upright Piano

Broadwood & Son Upright Piano

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Description (Brief)
This upright piano was made by John Broadwood & Sons in London, England around 1815. It is an upright grand in a rectangular case. The case stands on legs, and the entire instrument is over 8 feet tall. This piano is serial number 658 and has a compass of CC-c4, Broadwood upright action, leather hammers, triple-strings, 2 pedals on a lyre: keyboard shift, dampers (split pedal: Bass and treble dampers), wood frame with five iron bar braces, rosewood case on legs, and a silk front panel.

John Broadwood (1732-1812) founded in 1782 what became the oldest and longest-lived firm of English piano makers. Originally a cabinetmaker, he came to London from his native Scotland and in 1761 went to work for harpsichord maker Burkat Shudi, becoming a partner in the firm in 1770, and the firm's director in 1782.

The Broadwood & Shudi harpsichord company had begun manufacturing small square pianos sometime after Broadwood became prominent in the firm, and in 1795 (after 64 years), the company made its last harpsichord, and changed its name to John Broadwood & Son. During its peak years, from roughly the 1820's - 1850's, the Broadwood became the exemplary "English piano," played by all the famous musicians of the time. The company pioneered in greatly increasing the quantity of pianos which could be produced by hand craftsmen, without factory machines, while at the same time introducing many technical improvements to the power and dynamic flexibility of the instrument. Yet ironically by the latter part of the 19th century a tendency to stick with "traditional" designs and technologies, knocked the firm out of its prominent position among piano manufacturers. Broadwood pianos are no longer made by the original firm, but are manufactured by The British Manufacturing Company Ltd., in England, which also makes Knight, Bentley and Welmar.
Currently not on view
Currently not on view (fabric fragment; piano; top)
Currently not on view (base)
Object Name
date made
John Broadwood & Son
Place Made
United Kingdom: England, London
Physical Description
wood, silk (case: material)
wood, iron (frame material)
leather (hammers: material)
unknown (strings: material)
overall: 260 cm x 113.3 cm x 55.6 cm; 102 3/8 in x 44 5/8 in x 21 7/8 in
overall: 80 in x 46 in x 22 in; 203.2 cm x 116.84 cm x 55.88 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Hugo Worch
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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