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' 1", 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' 1" model patterned on the old Heintzman model D was introduced in 2007.
Heintzman Piano Company also makes the slightly less expensive Gerhard Heintzman brand. This line uses less expensive materials and components, such as Japanese hammers and a veneer-laminated spruce soundboard in the verticals (a Bolduc soundboard in some of the grands). The polished ebony grands have a silver plate and trim.
Warranty: Heintzman and Gerhard Heintzman—10 years, parts and labor, from the factory, transferable to future owners within the warranty period.
Blüthner USA LLC
5660 W. Grand River
Lansing, Michigan 48906
In Canada, contact Bluethner Piano Canada Inc.
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 line is in development, so specifications may occasionally vary from those given here. The Studio series is largely made in China, including at a factory Blüthner owns there. The pianos are then shipped to the Blüthner factory in Germany, where further work is done on them 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 made with Renner parts. The Studio series verticals include a number of models with interesting, modern cabinet designs.
The Professional series is largely made by Samick in Indonesia. The pianos are then shipped to the Blüthner factory in Germany, where further work is done on them as needed prior to shipping to dealers. The pianos have Delignit pinblocks and solid spruce soundboards. Grands have rims of maple and beech, action parts by Renner (U.S. distribution only), and duplex scaling.
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.
SPRING 2010 -- page 185
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Hybrid & Player Pianos
New-Piano Buyers’ Reference