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Swedish keyboard instrument factories/workshops

Sweden has been a country rich of piano and reed organ factories, more than 300 of the former and at least as many of the latter. While the piano factories were a business branch situated in the towns, our harmonium and reed organ manufacturers were spread also in the countryside where they produced for the region around them. In this respect, we differ from the conditions that were prevalent for the branch in Europe and the United States where harmonium and reed organ manufacturing was a town business.

The fortepiano was older than the harmonium, in Sweden firmly established on a keyboard instrument tradition that focused on the clavichord. The clavichord was known here since the Middle Ages. Their ‘cousins’ harpsichord, virginal and spinet with plucking action were found at the 16th century Vasa court which does not mean that they were not known and played here earlier. According to praxis, pipe organ builders often also made strung keyboard instruments, a tradition that was broken only in the 18th century. The history of the hammer instruments starts with us in the 1740s, that of the harmoniums one hundred years later. Fortepianos were at first built in Stockholm in the 1750s using imported instruments as models. Once again a hundred years later in the 1850s Swedish makers grappled with the task of building harmoniums. A serial production of square pianos started in Stockholm in the 1770s. In the same manner the 1870s was a time of breakthrough of domestic reed organ manufacturing. On the whole, the two industrial branches follow each other with a golden age c. 1890-c. 1920. The reed organs were less expensive than the pianos and therefore reached the masses in a way these did not. But from the 1920s the organs lost important parts of the market whereas in the 1930s the piano experienced a new golden age. Both instruments felt the breakthrough of TV, the entrance of the electronic instruments and the beginning of the computer age. Add to this the high Swedish level of costs and low price import from abroad and there is an understanding of why a whole branch was swept out in slightly more than one generation.

The lists of Swedish keyboard instrument builders are constantly being revised and regularly updated so that they mirror the knowledge of today. We thankfully receive supplementary information and amendments which may be sent to Klaverens Hus, Oxtorget 4, SE-826 32  Söderhamn, telephone +46 76 069 43 59, e-mail




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