Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Collard & Collard

The history of Collard & Collard begins around 1760. The story starts with a Music Publishing Company called Longmann & Broderip who dabbled in making pianos. Muzio Clementi, whose many compositions were published by Longmann & Broderip was interested in having a piano-making facility and, being wealthy, he invested in the piano factory and brought in his associates F.W. & W.P Collard to manage it. 

Clementi traveled widely and sold Pianos along with his compositions.
Orders were sent back to London from wherever Clementi visited - he was a very shrewd businessman. At this time, the company was called Clementi & Company. 

F.W. Collard introduced improvements to their pianos, on the strength of which, they took a significant share of the market. When Clementi died in 1832, the firm became known as Collard & Collard. By this time the pianos were solidly built by craftsmen and had a proven reliability.

The Diary of a Nobody  was published in 1892, written by George & Weeden Grossmith. This charming book is a classic of English literature, telling the story of a Mr. Charles Pooter and describes mundane life in late Victorian England. One anecdote involves a new cottage piano - bought on the three years' system, manufactured by W. Bilkson (in small letters) from Collard & Collard (in very large letters). Collards were by this time at least a well-known household name.
Collard & Collard had established themselves as makers of good quality and reliable pianos. They continued to be popular well into the early 20th century. In the late 1920s the piano trade was having to adjust to the harsh realities of very poor sales. Many long-established makers had to close, those whose 'names' were deemed to have value were bought by the stronger of the surviving companies.
Collard & Collard was eventually bought by Chappells.

Directory of Piano Makers

© Steve Burden

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