1910 Bluthner


Greg's Antique Piano Collection

Julius Blüthner started the Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik in Leipzig, Germany in 1853. He lived from 1824 to 1910. The factory was burned to the ground during World War II. It was rebuilt and opened in the same location in Leipzig. (which was East Germany) Today, the company is being run by the great-great-grandson of Julius. Blüthner pianos are known around the world for their extremely high quality and degree of workmanship. Blüthner pianos are still mostly handmade instruments, and it is estimated that the total number of Blüthners ever manufactured is around 150,000 instruments. (Compare that with the 100,000+ manufactured each year by makers such as Yamaha!) Blüthner also manufactured some of the most beautiful Grand Pianos ever made.
The Blüthner piano that I have was made in 1910. Blüthner pianos are considered by many to be one of the best made pianos available. Johannes Brahms is known to have played on a Blüthner (among other makes) in concert. This instrument has a wonderful sound and extremely deep bass for an upright. It is Mahogany, but has an ebony finish. The inside of this instrument is very colorful, with different bright colored felts, and polished brass plates covering the pinblock. The fallboard has the Blüthner name script made out of inlaid brass.
This instrument is fitted with a Hupfeld player, and was known as the "Phonola". This player only plays 73 notes, from lower F to upper F. Hupfeld built some of the best players ever, but they are not well known outside of Europe. My piano is one of a few Bluthner upright pianos that were fitted with Hupfeld players, and were sent to London in 1910. These instruments caused a considerable amount of interest from player piano fans at the time. Also, at the 1910 World's Fair in Brussels, Belgium Hupfeld displayed many of its instruments. Hupfeld at this time made a large number of different automatic musical instruments, including the "Phonoliszt-Violina", a player piano with as many as 4 self playing violins. My piano has a large orange decal on the soundboard that reads: "Brussels 1910" which leads me to wonder if this instrument was one of the ones displayed in Brussels. The 73 note rolls are quite hard to come by in the U.S. I am lucky to have a small collection of about 50 rolls for this instrument. This instrument was brought to the US from Austria in the mid '80s and I have owned it for over two years.
We have completed all of the mechanical restoration work, and it plays wonderfully. Here is a cutaway view of the piano, from a technical leaflet circa 1911.

Click on an image for a full size photo:

Interior of Bluthner with action and player removedImage of Bluthner logoView of player mechanism - removed from pianoView of Bluthner - inlaid brass on fallboard View of front with upper panel removedView of front showing player and hammers

Bluthner ready to playFull view of keyboardview of Bluthner name of fallboardCloseup of Hupfeld roll in pianoView of final inspection signature and serial number


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1918 Hamilton 1925 Fischer 1818 Gibson & Davis 1910 Bluthner 1966 Aeolian Books links 1907 Lester 1898 Starr 1881 Vose & Sons 1925 Hobart M Cable 1850 Boardman & Gray 1870 Taylor & Farley 1927 Fischer 1820 Thomas Gibson

Copyright 2008 Greg Flannagan. Please feel free to use my pictures, after sending me an e-mail of intent to greg@oldpianos.com