Broadwood & Sons

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Broadwood & Sons

Broadwood & Sons, family of English piano manufacturers. The firm was founded in London in 1728 by Burkhard Tschudi or Shudi (b. Schwanden, Switzerland, March 13, 1702; d. London, Aug. 19, 1773). John Broadwood (b. Cockburnspath, Scotland, 1732; d. London, 1812), a Scottish cabinetmaker, was Shudi’s son-in-law and successor; in 1773 he began to build square pianos modeled after Zumpe’s instruments; in 1780 he marketed his own square pianos, which he patented in 1783; in these, he dispensed with the old clavichord arrangement of the wrest-plank and tuningpins and transformed the harpsichord pedals into damper and piano pedals; another important invention came in 1788, when he divided the long bridge, which until then had been continuous. Broadwood’s improvements were soon adopted by other manufacturers. In 1794 the range of the keyboard was extended to 6 octaves. John Broadwood’s sons, James Shudi Broad-wood (b. London, Dec. 20, 1772; d. there, Aug. 8, 1851) and Thomas Broadwood, were admitted to the firm in 1795 and 1807, respectively, and the business was then carried on under the name of John Broadwood & Sons. Beethoven received a Broadwood piano in 1817. Henry John Tschudi Broadwood (d. Feb. 8, 1911), great-grandson of the founder, patented the so-called “bar-less” grand piano; he became a director of John Broadwood & Sons, Ltd., established in 1901.


W. Dale, Tschudi, the Harpsichord Maker (London, 1913); D. Wainwright, B., by Appointment: A History (London, 1982).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire