Piano making has a long tradition in the German province of Saxony, especially in Leipzig, where the citizens have always cared about musical culture. The St. Thomas choir has existed since the 12th century, the Gewandhaus orchestra was founded in the 17th century, as well as the Leipzig Opera, and Mendelssohn initiated a conservatory that soon became famous.

One of the best known piano makers of that time was Breitkopf & Hartel, still known today as a prominent music publisher. These were strong reasons for Julius Blüthner to start his piano making in Leipzig after having spent several years wandering from one piano maker to another to improve on his knowledge of the craft. In November 1853 he began with three men, and his instruments found immediate acclaim among the musical bourgeoisie.
Production grew quickly. Soon his premises had to be enlarged and in articles printed in newspapers and journals of these days Julius Blüthner talks with pride about new machines that were added to his production facilities or the fact that production was changed to steam-driven machinery.
Marketing in those days consisted of exhibiting instruments at fairs and exhibitions and to participate in competitions for highest quality. Blüthner's first fair was in Merseburg, a town in the neighborhood of Leipzig, but soon he participated in many foreign competitions, where his instruments won the highest praise.
It was also essential to furnish instruments to the royal courts and Blüthner took great pride in being appointed as official supplier to the royal court of many European countries, among which were the German Kaiser, Queen Victoria, the Russian Tsar, the Danish King, the Turkish Sultan and of course the King of Saxony.

Export was an early goal of Blüthner. Considering the fact that Germany and many other European counties were still young political structures, concentrated mainly on their home market, protected by customs barriers, it speaks for the foresight of Julius Blüthner to have created a distribution network spanning the whole world.
Many distributors are still flourishing, as for example the agency in Great Britain, founded in 1876 with which very strong ties still exist. Conforming with the wisdom that only thorough knowledge of the product assures excellence it was considered a necessity for the sons of Julius Blüthner to learn the trade from scratch. So one of his sons, Bruno Blüthner, was sent to the USA to work with Chickering to gather information about modern production techniques. His brother, Robert Blüthner, was to study jurisprudence, and Hans Blüthner worked with his father in the Leipzig factory. The first World War did only slight harm to Blüthner, as also did the great economic crisis in 1929.
In 1936 Blüthner scored tremendous public interest when the famous airship Hindenberg crossed the Atlantic for the first time with a Blüthner grand on board. For reasons of weight this instrument was made of aluminum, the outside covered with parchment and it served for the first broadcast of a piano recital from the air.
In 1932 Dr. Rudolf Blüthner-Haessler, the son-in-law, joined the firm and it was his difficult task to maneuver the firm through the turmoil of the Second World War.

In 1943 the factory was hit by an air raid and burned down and it was not until 1948 that production could be recommenced. However the limited possibilities under East Germany's socialistic system made it difficult to catch up with conditions on the world market. Sparse investments in production facilities and the utter lack of marketing made it difficult to line up with the rest of the world.

In 1972 the firm was finally nationalized but remained under the direction of Ingbert Blüthner, who succeeded his father in 1966. He served his years of apprenticeship in England and became a master piano maker in 1958. In 1990 the firm was given back to the family.
Today Ingbert Blüthner-Haessler manages the firm together with his two sons Christian and Knut. By their work they ensure that the tonal character of the instruments and the excellence of their hand-crafted manufacturing, numbers Blüthner instruments with the best on the market.


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