MAY BERLIN — See Schimmel.
MILLER, HENRY F.
Henry F. Miller
236 West Portal Avenue #568
San Francisco, California 94127
Henry F. Miller was the name of an old American piano maker, established in 1863 near Boston, which eventually became part of the Aeolian Corporation, and was discontinued in 1985. The name is now owned by the Sherman Clay chain of piano stores and is used on a mid-priced line of pianos carried by these and other major piano retailers around the country. Current Henry F. Miller pianos are made by Pearl River in China. The product line consists of five vertical models from 44" to 52" and four grand models from 4' 10" to 6' 2".
The Music Link
P.O. Box 57100
Hayward, California 94545
Although Palatino may be a relatively new name to the piano world, it is not a newcomer to the music business. For almost 20 years, parent company AXL has been manufacturing a full range of musical instruments under its own name and under a variety of other, recognizable brand names. The company has a highly automated factory, employing CNC routers from Japan and Germany, and importing high-quality materials and components for its pianos from around the world.
Palatino makes about 7,000 pianos annually in two categories: Classic and Professional. The Professional series includes the 50" vertical Messina model (PUP-126TU) and the 5' 9" grand Palermo model (PGD-59). The Classic series includes a number of models based on traditional designs. Features common to all Palatino pianos include solid spruce soundboard, high-quality Japanese hammers, hard rock maple bridges and pinblock, German Röslau strings, wet-sand-cast plate, Renner-style action, slow-close fallboard, solid brass hardware, and adjustable artist bench. In addition, Professional series pianos have higher-grade Canadian white solid spruce soundboards and German Abel hammers. Beginning in 2012, Palatino is offering a Renner action as an option in some models. The Renner vertical actions are assembled in Shanghai from German-made Renner parts under the supervision of Renner personnel.
Based on personal observation and dealer reports, Palatino pianos appear to have good quality control and are prepared well at the factory before being shipped to dealers. Our own reviewer tested a couple of the grand models and found them to be very musical and a pleasure to play (see review in the Fall 2009 issue).
Warranty: 10 years, parts and labor, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.
GW Distribution, LLC
135 Fisher Road
Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
Pianos made by: Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Group Ltd., Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
Established in 1954 through the consolidation of several piano-making facilities, Pearl River is now the largest piano manufacturer in the world, with a production of over 125,000 pianos annually by more than 4,000 workers. The government-owned company says the average length of service of its workers is 17 years. Pianos are made under the Pearl River and Ritmüller names, and under a few other names for OEM contracts with distributors, such as Cristofori (with Jordan Kitt’s), Henry F. Miller (with Sherman Clay) and Essex (with Steinway). (See separate listings under those names.) Pearl River is the best-selling piano brand in China, and is exported to more than 100 countries.
Over the past couple of years, Pearl River has revised and streamlined its model lineup with the assistance of Lothar Thomma, a well-respected German scale designer. Some new models have been introduced, and older models have been reviewed and modified. Currently, Pearl River verticals begin with the 42½" console model 108 in continental style (no legs) and a style with legs and toe blocks, and with the 43" model 110 in a variety of American furniture styles. They continue with a series of studio models, including the 45" model 115 in a traditional institutional style (legs with toe blocks), and the 45" model 115E in a school-friendly institutional style. Finally, there are the upright models, including the newly designed 48" model EU122 and the 51½" model 130, both in institutional style.