Sébastien Érard was an apprentice harpsichord maker. He made his first piano-forte in 1777. The success of his pianos led him to become the king’s piano maker. Fleeing the revolution, he opened a production workshop in London in 1792 with his brother and produced pianos there in 1796. In the years that followed, he invented the piano, and filed numerous patents for inventions concerning its action; this system, incorrectly named double escapement in 1808, allowed a note to be replayed without waiting for the key to come completely back up, allowing much faster playing. This patent was improved in 1822 and 1833 by Pierre Erard. Sébastien Erard also invented the agraffe on the frame to hold the strings in place in 1808, and added pedals to grand pianos in 1810. The company was at its height at the end of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, Érard’s success began to wane. In 1960, the company merged with Gaveau and closed altogether in 1965. The company name was brought back under license at one time by Schimmel.