Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Herrburger, Brooks

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of 31 Lyme Street, Camden Town, London, NW1. Telegraphic Address: "Lymbrook, Camroad, London." Telephone: North 852. Code: A.B.C. 5th Edition. (1922)

ditto Address. Telephone: Gulliver 1061. Cables: "Lymbrook, Norwest, London"

Until 1998, Herrburger Brooks was the world's oldest established maker of piano actions, hammer heads, and keyboards.

1810 The company was founded in London, by Henry Brooks.

1844 in Paris, Jean Schwander set up production of the famous Schwander action. This branch was later named after his son-in-law Josef Herrburger. He retired in 1882, but his name can still be found on many actions of fine pianos made today. Bechsteins, for example, were fitted with Schwander actions, up until about the time of the First World War.

1885 spring and loop actions in grand pianos, sometimes incorrectly known as simplex actions, were being made by Herrburger Brooks.

1900 Jean Schwander's successor was his son-in-law Joseph Herrburger', who formed a New York branch in 1900. The two companies soon become world leaders in quality piano actions

1920 Twenty years later, Brooks of London and Herrburger amalgamated, so the firm of Herrburger Brooks came into being.

1922 British Industries Fair Advert as Manufacturers of Pianoforte Actions. Makers of the World-famous Schwander Actions for Grand and Upright Pianos. (Stand No. B.54) [1]

Late 1920s Herrburger Brooks moved from London to Long Eaton, Nottingham. The company made piano actions for many piano manufacturers.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Pianoforte Actions, Keys and Hammers for Grand and Upright Pianos and Player Pianos. Organ Keys. "Schwander" and "Herrburger" Actions. "Shenstone" and "Ivoette" Keys. Ivory Cutters. Plastic Moulders. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. C.1502) [2]

1953 the English company absorbed the Paris operation, and moved it to Long Eaton, where it became the largest manufacturer of piano actions in Europe.

1965 A new development took place when Kimball International Inc. (formerly Jasper Corporation) took over Herrburger Brooks.

1967 they stopped making the spring and loop action for grands. This is a useful date for piano technicians, as many small grands used this action.

1996 October: Kimball sold the action division, Herrburger Brooks, to Harmony Pianos of Hong Kong.

1998 September: Herrburger Brooks went into administrative receivership.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert cv; and p37
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair Page 134; and p134
  • [1] UK Piano Pages