Herrburger Brooks
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Until 1998 Herrburger Brooks was the world's oldest established maker of piano actions, hammer heads, and keyboards. The company was originally founded in London in 1810 by Henry Brooks. In 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. His successor was his son-in-law Joseph Herrburger, who formed a New York branch in 1900. Twenty years later Brooks of London and Herrburger amalgamated, so the firm of Herrburger Brooks came into being. The Paris branch of Herrburger Brooks closed in 1953 and moved to Long Eaton, Nottingham.

In 1885 spring and loop actions in grands, sometimes incorrectly known as simplex actions, were being made by Herrburger Brooks. This action is a single escapement action.

Herrburger2.gif - 140801 Bytes These two companies soon become world leaders in quality piano actions and in 1920 amalgamated under the name of Herrburger Brooks. In 1953 the English company absorbed the Paris operation to become the largest manufacturer of piano actions in Europe. A new development took place in 1965 when Kimball International Inc. (formerly Jasper Corporation) took over Herrburger Brooks. A philosophy of continuous improvement has meant a regular updating of plants, equipment, and production methods. A research and development team that is in continuous liaison with the world's leading piano makers develops, tests, and evaluates new ideas and designs constantly. This ensures that the Schwander tradition of quality is never compromised.

Herrburger Brooks made action for many piano makes including:
  • 1954 Eavestaff says Long Eaton.
  • 1955 Knight Long Eaton.
  • 1957 Kemble Herrb. Brooks Notts.
  • 1957 Berry Notts.
  • 1960 Kemble Long Eaton.
  • 1963 Eavestaff marked Notts.
  • 1966 Eavestaff marked Nottingham.

The above date are taken from actions in pianos

On show at the 1963 Frankfurt Fair was a Herrburger Brooks Schwander action, with a brass sleeve, lined with P.T.F.E. plastic bushing instead of cloth bushing. The Amber Light Engineering Co. supplied this brass plastic bushing.

spring and loop action In 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. In the late 1920s Herrburger Brooks moved from London to Long Eaton. The company made piano actions for many piano manufacturers.

In October 1996 Kimball sold the action division, Herrburger Brooks, to Harmony Pianos of Hong Kong. In September 1998, Herrburger Brooks went into administrative receivership.

Herrburger3.gif - 99749 BytesThe 12th of April 1999 was the first day for a new company born from the ashes of Herrburger Brooks. The new company is called Langer Ltd. and was formed by David Martin and two other former directors of the old Herrburger Brooks. They have moved into smaller premises but have kept the machinery and fifty members of the old work force. They will continue to make actions and keys, but will no longer be making hammers.















If you are looking for piano parts please go to our piano parts page. The links are on the menu at the left.

If you are looking one note models please go to our piano accessories shop

If you are looking for some history on your piano with a Herrburger Brooks Schwander action, please use our piano history forum. to ask any questions.

Barrie Heaton, FABPT, FIMIT, AEWVH (Dip.), MMPTA, CGLI (hon.) (USA)

© copyright 2003.

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