History of the Piano - List of events and developments in order of year:
1397 First documented reference to a “Clavicembalum” (harpsichord)
1404 First documented reference to a “Clavicordium” (clavichord)
1521 Date of production of earliest surviving harpsichord made by Hieronymus Bononiensis (Italy)
1705 Pantaleon - A Mechanical Dulcimer
1700 Cristofori produces the first piano at approximately this date, which uses a hammer mechanism instead of the plucking mechanism of the harpsichord.
1709 Cristofori made four pianofortes. In the same year his “new” instrument was revealed to the general public for the first time.
1711 John Shore invented the Tuning Fork.
1725 The Maffei account of the Cristofori pianos is translated and published by Matheson in German, leading to a sudden interest in the early piano.
1725 Silbermann made two pianos, copies of Cristofori's. (Silbermann's pupils included Backers, Frederici, Pohlmann, Stein and Zumpe).
1726 Cristofori included una-chorda handstop on his pianos.
1732 Publication of Giustini’s 12 Sonatas for “soft and loud harpsichord” - the first composition written specifically for the piano.
1742 Socher probably made the first square piano.
1745 Christian Ernst Friederici built the first pyramid
piano with innovative oblique stringing.
1752 First piano imported into England by Samuel Crisp, built in Rome by Father Wood, an English Monk, to Cristofori’s design.
1760 Zumpe made square pianos in England. He was one of the “Twelve Apostles” who came to this country because of the Seven Years War in Germany
1767 Earliest known public performance on a piano given by Mr. Dibden.
1768 Earliest known solo piano public performance given by Henry Walsh in Dublin and J C Bach in London. The latter was playing one of Zumpe’s instruments at the Thatched Cottage in London.
1771 John Broadwood launches his first square piano.
1772 Backers, a pupil of Silbermann, invented the English Direct Grand Action (English Action). He worked on this project with Robert Stodart, the latter being a Broadwood apprentice.
1772 Backers invented the sustaining pedal.
1773 The first piano concert in New York.
1773 Clementi published the first music with understanding of the qualities of the piano.
1773 Stein invented the Viennese Action (German Action)
1774 Merlin, of London, patented the una-corda pedal, although the device was used by Backers in 1771.
1775 John Brent of Philadelphia made the first American piano
1777 Erard built his first piano.
1781 Broadwood’s first grand appeared. He also repositions the wrest plank at the back of the case in square pianos; this was to increase the volume of sound and to enhance tone.
1782 Hilderbrand invented the first down-striking action for a square piano.
1783 Broadwood patented the sustaining pedal, originally devised by Backers.
1786 John Geib invented the “Grasshopper” action for square pianos. This action was also called the English Double Action for square pianos.
1787 Tasken introduced the first bass monochords.
1788 Broadwood adopted divided bridge and also fixed the strike line.
1790 Broadwood extended the compass of the piano to five and a half octaves.
1792 Sebastien Erard came to London.
1794 Broadwood extended the compass to six octaves.
1796 Erard made his first grand piano
1799 Joseph Smith patented iron strengthening bars.
1800 John Isaac Hawkins produces the first proper upright piano in America.
1801 Edward Riley obtained a patent for a piano with a transposing keyboard.
1807 William Southwell made a cabinet piano which used the “sticker” action, which he had invented.
1808 Erard invented the stud or agraffe.
1808 James Shudi Broadwood added three iron tensioning bars to his grand pianos.
1809 Erard invented wrest pin bushings.
1810 Harpsichords no longer produced in significant numbers. The last instrument to be made in the Kirkmann workshop in London was in about 1809.
1810 Brookes founded in London - the first specialist piano action making business in the world.
1811 Wornum began to make cottage pianos.
1821 Erard invented the roller action.
1821 Samuel Herve, as an employee of Broadwood, fitted a metal hitch-pin plate to a square piano.
1825 Babcock, in America, invented the full iron frame. This was designed to support greater string tension in pianos.
1826 Pape began to use felt for piano hammerheads.
1827 Stuart patented return strings.
1828 Pape probably made the first overstrung piano.
1828 Bosendorfer established in Vienna.
1829 First under-damper pianos were made.
1830 Claude Montal - the first blind piano tuner.
1836 Pape used the half-blow mechanism.
1840 Chappell founded.
1842 Robert Wornum patented the tape-check action.
1843 Bord, of Paris, invented the pressure bar.
1844 Schwander piano action makers founded in Paris.
1846 The use of equal temperament adapted by Broadwoods.
1850 The compass of pianos usually now seven octaves.
1850 The end of the Classical period of piano making.
1853 Carey invented the spring and loop action.
1853 Steinway & Sons established in New York.
1853 C Bechstein established in Berlin.
1853 Bluthner established in Leipzig.
1855 Steinway introduces overstrung square piano.
1859 Steinway produced the first overstrung grand piano.
1860 Bord, of Paris, invented the spiral jack spring.
1860 Claude Montal exhibited his invention of the sostenuto pedal, which was latter bought by Steinway & Sons.
1863 First pneumatic player piano patented by Fourneaux.
1870 Keyboard compass often now extended to seven and a quarter octaves.
1872 Steinway patented duplex scaling.
1872 Bluthner patented aliquot stringing.
1874 Steinway patented Capo d’Astro Bar.
1874 Steinway perfected sostenuto pedal.
1876 Fletcher & Newman established.
1880 No more oblong wrest pins made, although instruments may have been produced using pins from current stocks.
1882 Renner action makers established.
1883 Heckscher and Company established.
1884 John Brinsmead invented his “Top Tuner”.
1885 “D” Type grand piano action was being made.
1887 Yamaha established in Japan. They made their first pianos soon after 1900.
1888 Broadwood produced his bar less steel frame.
1897 ES Votey patented his player piano. This was based on the system used by the Aeolian Company.
1903 Society of American Piano Manufacturers ceremonially burns a massive pile of square pianos at Atlantic City convention.
1904 Welte patented the “Mignon” reproducing piano.
1910 No more spring and loop upright piano actions made, apart from those with the additional spring on the jack.
1932 Construction, in England, of the miniature upright piano, leading to renewed popularity in the piano.