What’s in a Name?

Often, inside a piano, you find a different name to the one on the ‘fall,’ or front lid. This is usually because the mechanism or ‘action’ and keyboard were made by a separate specialist company.

In a great number of British pianos you find the names, Herrburger Brooks or Schwander.
The company was founded in 1810 in London by Henry Brooks and in 1844 Jean Schwander founded the famous Schwander plant in Paris.

Later the Paris branch took the name of Schwander’s son-in-law Josef Herrburger and both the London and Paris companies soon became world leaders in quality piano actions.

In 1920 the companies amalgamated under the name of Herrburger Brooks and in 1953 the English company absorbed the Paris operation to become the largest manufacturer of piano actions in Europe. At one point they were making actions for Steinway USA and held a leading position in this highly specialised field.

Sadly they are no longer in existence, but the inside workings of countless British pianos bear their name – sometimes almost hidden: see picture below.


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