The Musical Kirkmans originated around mid 1500's in Niederoesch, Switzerland. In the mid 1600's the family moved from Switzerland to the village of Bischwiller, Alsace (then in Germany but now in France). Around 1650 Hans Peter Kirchmann established himself in Bischwiller. At that time he was a weaver by trade. He married Marie Branget who was of Huguenot origins.
In 1710 Jacob, his grandson, was born. Jacob Kirchman emigrated to London in the early 1730s and became the foreman for the eminent harpsichord manufacturer Hermann Tabel. When Tabel died in 1738, Jacob married his widow, formed a partnership with his nephew Abraham, anglicised their names and took over the business.
During the 18th century, the Kirckmans manufactured 1,000 to 2,000 harpsichords. Famed for excellence, the Kirckmans sold harpsichords until 1809, notably to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III; Virginia tobacco planter Thomas Jefferson, and a pre-revolutionary governor of Virginia.
The Kirkmans switched to manufacturing pianos when they became the premier keyboard supplier, in the early 19th century. The family’s piano manufactory at Dufours Place was