Harp makers are a very special group of craftsmen. The oldest harp maker in the world is Lyon & Healy, headquartered in Chicago, IL.
When I first got my Lyon & Healy pedal harp, it was transported from Loveland, CO to Minneapolis, MN – in an ice storm! When I uncrated it, I realized the elbow joint was cracked 3/8” at the widest point, going into a hair-line fracture. I was devastated. Luckily, I had insured the harp for $90 and the company who transported it would pay for all the repairs.
I rented a van, loaded up the instrument and drove to downtown Chicago to Lyon & Healy’s home office. When they assessed the damage, they estimated it would be $5,000 to make the repairs. In the meantime, they asked me if I’d like to take a tour of their manufacturing facility. Of course, I said “YES!”
An interesting thing about Lyon & Healy is it really is a manufacturing process. In other words, an expert focuses on one part of the manufacturing – sanding the column, stringing it, inserting the pegs and/or levers (on folk harps), installing the pedals on pedal harps, etc.
This manufacturing process is quite different than a harp maker who builds the entire harp from start to finish. All are craftsmen with very different approaches and areas of expertise.
While my pedal harp was made by a manufacturing process, my folk harp and therapy harp are made by a one-man craftsman; my PeaceHarp is made by a female craftsperson. I feel appreciative for all of these amazing craftspeople who have developed special expertise in a very specialized instrument.