including Gerhard Heintzman
Pianos made by: Heintzman Piano Company, Ltd., Beijing, China
Heintzman & Co. Ltd. was founded by Theodore August Heintzman in Toronto in 1866. By 1900, Heintzman was one of Toronto's larger manufacturing concerns, building 3,000 pianos per year and selling them throughout Canada and abroad through a network of company stores and other distributors. The pianos received high praise and won prizes at exhibitions. Even today, technicians frequently encounter old Heintzman pianos built in the early part of the 20th century and consider them to be of high quality. In the latter decades of the century, Heintzman, like other North American brands, struggled to compete with cheaper foreign imports. The factory finally closed its doors in 1986 and relocated to China. (For a few years thereafter, some pianos continued to be sold in Canada under the Heintzman and Gerhard Heintzman names.) At first the company was a joint venture with the Beijing Hsinghai Piano Group (see Beijing Hsinghai), but when the Chinese government began allowing foreign ownership of manufacturing concerns, the Canadian partner bought back majority ownership and took control.
The new company, known as Heintzman Piano Company, Ltd., is Canadian owned and managed and has a private, independent factory dedicated to producing Heintzman-brand pianos. Heintzman makes pianos to the original Canadian Heintzman designs and scales using some of the equipment from Canada. James Moffat, plant manager of the Canadian Heintzman factory for 40 years, has been retained as a consultant and visits the factory in China several times a year. The company even uses some components from Canada, such as Bolduc soundboards, in grands and larger verticals. The factory makes about 5,000 pianos per year.
The smallest vertical made under the Heintzman name is 43 1/2" tall, but pianos for export to North America typically start at 47 1/2" and contain a mixture of Chinese and imported parts, such as pinblocks and treble strings from Germany and Mapes bass strings from the U.S. Verticals 48 1/2" and taller use Renner Blue hammers, and the largest two sizes have Canadian Bolduc solid Eastern white spruce soundboards. All verticals have a middle pedal that operates a bass-sustain mechanism, as well as a Silent Switch that operates a mute bar for silent practice.
The grands--5' 6", 6' 2", 6' 8", and 9' in size--also use German pinblocks and strings, Mapes bass strings, Renner Blue hammers, and Canadian Bolduc soundboards. The 9' concert grand comes with a full Renner action and Kluge keys from Germany. A Renner action is a higher-priced option on the other models. All grands come with a sostenuto pedal. A 6' 2" model patterned on the old Heintzman model D was introduced in 2007. Heintzman is developing a 5'1" grand, to be introduced in 2009.
Heintzman Piano Company also makes the Gerhard Heintzman brand, intended to compete with less expensive Chinese-made pianos. Most of the pianos in this line are smaller than in the Heintzman line, and use less expensive materials and components, including Japanese hammers and a laminated spruce soundboard.
Warranty: Heintzman and Gerhard Heintzman--10 years, parts and labor, from the factory, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.
In Canada, contact Blüthner Agency, Canada at 416-236-8870
Pianos made by: Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik GmbH, Leipzig, Germany, and other factories (see text)
Irmler is a brand associated with Blüthner, which has recently reintroduced it to the market in two series: Studio and Professional. The Studio series is largely made in a factory Irmler owns in China. The pianos are then shipped to the Blüthner factory in Germany, where the Abel hammers are installed and the pianos are inspected, adjusted, and refined as needed prior to shipping to dealers. The pianos have Delignit pinblocks and veneer-laminated spruce soundboards. The grand rims are of Chinese oak and the grand actions are by Renner. The Studio series verticals include a number of models with interesting, modern cabinet designs by designer Ren Vindetti.
The Professional series, also known as Irmler Europe, is assembled in Germany using strung backs (structural and acoustical elements) made by Samick in Indonesia and cabinets from Poland (suppliers are subject to change). The pianos have Delignit pinblocks and solid spruce soundboards. Grands have rims of maple and beech, actions by Renner (U.S. distribution only), and duplex scaling. Vertical actions are by Detoa.
Irmler also manufactures a series marketed under the Schiller brand name. Prices are comparable to those for Irmler.
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, to original purchaser.
FALL 2009 -- page 161
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference