November 26 is the 155th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig Hupfeld, the founder of Ludwig Hupfeld AG
On November 26, we are marking the 155th birth anniversary of Ludwig Hupfeld, a brilliant master mechanic who created mechanical musical instruments, the founder of Ludwig Hupfeld AG, German company, the leading manufacturer of player pianos, orchestrions and paper music rolls in 1892-1930.
The history of Ludwig Hupfeld AG milestones:
In 1892, L. Hupfeld acquired the music trading company J. M. Grob & Co., based in Leipzig, which was originally a music store and a manufacturer of mechanical instruments.
In 1894, Hupfeld was the first to create orchestrion - small concert organs.
In 1899, the first factory producing musical mechanical instruments was opened in Leipzig near the Berlin railway station.
In 1902, “Phonola” – the first console to piano with paper music roll and pneumatic operation system was developed.
In 1904, the first electric piano “Phonoliszt” that partially reproduced the performer's manner of playing was created.
In 1904, the company was transformed into the private company limited by shares - Ludwig Hupfeld AG.
In 1907, “Phonoliszt-Violina” was designed – the first self-playing instrument that combined piano and three violins.
In 1910, the Hupfeld House was built. It featured a concert hall and exposition site for more than 200 instruments.
In 1910-1911, a new factory was built in the city of Beelitz-Ehrenberg, which employed 1,300 people. In 1912, King Frederick Augustus of Saxony visited it.
After the First World War, the factory resumed production, half of it - was exported.
In 1918, Ludwig Hupfeld acquired Carl Rönisch Pianos of Dresden, which produced 3,000 pianos a year.
In 1920, A.H. Grunert of Johanngeorgenstadt with a production volume of 2000 pianos a year was purchased, and in 1924 - a Steck company with a volume of 6000 pianos a year. Thus, Hupfeld’s distribution network had grown up to a global scale - his company had representation offices in Dresden, Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Vienna, The Hague, Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Turin and Buenos Aires.
In 1925, Ludwig Hupfeld AG merged with Gebr. Zimmermann AG Leipzig.
In 1926, Leipzig Pianoforte and the Phonola factories of Hupfeld - Gebr. Zimmermann AG became the largest enterprises producing musical mechanical instruments in Europe with the production volume of 20,000 pianos per year.
The world economic crisis of 1929, as well as the advent of gramophone records and radio put an end to the possibility of further development of traditional electric pianos. In 1930, the production was transferred to a smaller factory, and the main production was making popular products, such as film projectors, gramophones, radios, billiard tables and home furniture.
In 1946, Ludwig Hupfeld retired. Leipziger Pianofortefabrik was founded. In 1947, Hupfeld's only son, Gunther, initiated the development of small pianos.
In 1949, Ludwig Hupfeld passed away.
In 1954, the production of small-sized pianos amounted to 710 instruments per year, and by 1960, it had grown up to 2000. In 1964, 4,170 of them were produced per year, while the number of traditional pianos decreased to 144.
In 1967, the Deutschen Piano-Union Leipzig was formed as a result of the amalgamation, and by 1985, the production reached 21,000 small-sized and 1,300 traditional grand pianos per year. In 1987, the former Hupfeld-Fabrik again became the Germany's largest piano manufacturer with the 80% export share.
For the anniversary of the outstanding master mechanic and designer, we prepared a thematic photo album and a musical selection recorded from perforated music rolls suitable for one of the 11 instruments created by Ludwig Hupfeld AG that are stored in the museum Collection.