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Beyer, Adam

Piano, organ maker, and music seller at 44 Compton Street, Soho. (fl. before 1770-1798) It is believed that Adam Beyer may have been making square pianos for other makers or dealers before 1770.  The Westminster Rate Books show that he occupied the house in Compton Street from 1766 the same year as the earliest surviving Zumpe square piano.  These records also show an Adam Beyer at Kemps Court, Piccadilly in 1763 who may have been the same person.

Beyer was most likely born in England in 1729 or 1730 and not an immigrant as suggested by some reference books on piano makers. He married Ann Lewis in 1760. In 1770 Beyer was recorded as an organ builder and had an apprentice, Thomas Martin.  Lorence Beyer, pianoforte maker is also listed at the same address.

Many of Adam Beyer’s instruments were sold to the gentry and aristocracy although the cases were normally fairly plain and without decoration. He continued to use trestle stands for his instruments rather than the “French stand” until much later than other makers. Beyer was an important early maker of square pianos taking the quality of manufacture to a higher level of craftsmanship. He may have been the first maker of square pianos to use an internal cover in the instrument that is believed to act as a tone moderator. He also used pedals on some instruments and in particular a pedal, shaped like a hockey stick, for a lid swell where this device was fitted. Beyer made over 900 square pianos.

Adam Beyer died in January 1804 in his 75 year.

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