Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Knight Piano Co

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of Granville Park Works, Brettenham Road, Upper Edmonton, London, N18. Telephone: Tottenham 6716 (2 lines).

1931 Alfred Knight set up a new business, Booker and Knight, at a factory in Carysfort Road, Stoke Newington. This bold step in the most severe years of the depression was rewarded with success.

By 1935 Knight was able to buy out Booker and set up his own business, Knight Piano Co

By 1939 the firm was making 1,000 instruments a year.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Modern Small Pianos. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. C.1500) [1]

1955 The Knight Piano Company moved to a new factory at Loughton in Essex, and there the firm concentrated on a range of standard upright models. A small grand piano was made for a short time by the firm, but it was unsuccessful and was withdrawn. The uprights were of good quality and many hundreds survived in the demanding environment of schools, and even troops' canteens, testifying to their durability. They also continued to satisfy a considerable demand from the domestic market.

Knight is noted chiefly for his innovation in the use of plastics in place of wood in piano construction, and it is significant that in a number of reference books on the piano, it is almost only in this connection that he is mentioned. By personal research he developed a nylon impregnated with glass fibre and graphite as the main material which could give stability in a wide range of hostile environments. His lead in the development of piano actions was significant, and the world dominance of actions by Herrburger, Brooks and other American firms was successfully challenged by the setting up of British Piano Actions at Llanelli in south Wales, a company of which Knight was a director.

1974 Knight died at his home, 26 Wellfields, Loughton, Essex, on 3 September. Sylvia Florence - Alfred's daughter - married John York, a director of Alfred Knight Ltd, and succeeded to the chairmanship of the company on her father's death. They had two children together, Gillian and Michael. Gillian worked for the company until her marriage, and after taking charge of the technical side of the firm, their son, Michael, became the company's general manager.


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