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Friday, 22 August 2014

Bluthner Pianos

At Leipzig, in 1853 Julius Bluthner began making pianos. The qualities of Bluthner Pianos soon won them recognition among the great names of the piano trade and among the Royal Courts of numerous countries - Queen Victoria, the Russian Tsar and many others owned Bluthner Pianos!

Julius Bluthner worked hard at creating a network of international contacts to ensure he could establish a truly global demand for his pianos. Here in the UK, Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd was founded in 1876 - purely to import Bluthner Pianos.

After surviving the First World War, and then the Great Depression, the business suffered a severe blow when, during the Second World War, their factory was bombed in an air raid in 1943. The difficult, East German politics of the time meant recovery was very slow. However, production of Bluthner Pianos began once more in 1948.

The firm was nationalised in the 1970s but in 1990, the business was given back to the Bluthner family.

People still talk about the ‘Bluthner’ tone! The beauty of a good piano is found in its tone - Somehow, the Bluthner pianos, more often than not, seemed to get it right! Solidly built to last, many Bluthner pianos, 100 years old or more, are still being used and often still sounding as clear and pure as ever.

For a while Bluthners used their own Patent Action - vastly different from what has become the standard ‘roller’ action. These patent actions used a slightly shallower touch, but when working properly are, even now, a delight to play! 

Another notable innovation was the ‘Aliquot’ system: a 4th string was given to the upper two thirds of the treble strings. This 4th string was not struck by the hammer but was left to pick up the vibrations of the notes ‘sympathetically’ - the result was a very subtle extra layer of harmonic overtones. Quality has a voice of its own! In a Bluthner Piano, this voice is always in good form!

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