History of the piano manufacture in San-Petersburg (XIX century)


Appearance of European keyboard musical instruments in Russia


Before the XIX century European keyboard musical instrument in Russia was a casual phenomenon and its occurrence was very rare. Sometimes these instruments were brought to Moscow by embassies of the West-European states or foreign visitors. The first keyboard instrument brought to Russia was organ. It was used for divine services by foreigners. The Russian Orthodox Church never used musical instruments, their use in a temple was not authorized. The Church authority kept Russian people apart from acquisition of foreign musical instruments.

According to numerous documents and evidences, even Russian national instruments were pursued by church in medieval Russia. Therefore national instrumental music had no stimulus to develop for a long time. Only during an epoch of tsar Ioann IV (1530-1584), when communications with the West-European states became more intensive and regular, some musical instruments together with other subjects of a life and culture could be brought to Moscow. Organs and harpsichords appeared in the tsar’s court in the second half of 16-th century and perceived there as curious wonders.

The first time Russian people in Moscow got acquainted with the West-European keyboard instruments in 1490, when organist Johann Salvator, a monk of Augustian order, arrived to Moscow. The organist appearance coincides with an epoch of updating of the Moscow court by the new forms and customs borrowed from foreign models. Approximately at the same time the special court chapel was established, which was reorganized further in the civil service of choirmans. In the 1585 the English nobleman Ieremija Gorsey, that lived in Moscow at that time, received the assignment from boyar Boris Godunov, the brother of tsarina Irina. This assignment was to buy organs, clavichords and other musical instruments for the Moscow court. A year after he came back from England and brought the ordered foreign novelties together with gifts, that were sent to Moscow tsar and tsarina from Queen Elizabeth. Gorsey wrote: “Tsarina also was invited to look things; especially she was surprised at organs and clavichords gilt and decorated with enamel, that she never had seen before; she marveled their loud musical sound. Thousands of people crowded near a palace; they also wanted to listen to music. My servants, which can play musical instruments, were frequently accepted in such society, where I could not enter …”

Considering indication of Gorsej on a loud sound of instruments, and also meaning musical culture of England of that time (an epoch of queen Elizabeth 1533-1603) it is possible to assume, that to Moscow then has been delivered virginals.

Occurrence of the West-European keyboard instruments is reflected in graphic art of Russian miniaturists and illustrators of books. In Makarievskie Tshet’I Minei (1540) and in Godunov’s Psalter (1594) it is possible to meet a number of images of similar musical instruments.

Despite of these isolated facts, neither church, nor a court yard did not encourage to playing on these instruments; therefore they had no value in development of musical culture of Russia that time and have been distributed on advantage at foreigners, living in "overseas" villages near Moscow. By the end of 17 centuries only some more advanced boyars (Morozov’s, Naryshkin’s, Romanov’s and others) have got the West-European musical instruments, including keyboard instruments.

It was kept very few instruments of this early epoch. Spinet by the Italian master Brunetto (1532), taking place in a collection of the State institute of theatre, music and the cinematography, the second - also Italian, masters Mark Jadra (1565) - to be in the Central museum of musical culture named after M. Glinka. However both of these instruments have got to Russia much later, most likely, in the beginning of 19 century.

More the great interest in string keyboard instruments in Russia is noticed only in the beginning of 18 centuries. The reforms which have been lead by Peter the Great, have attached tops of a society to the West-European culture and its products, in particular to string keyboard instruments which start to be imported regularly from abroad and a little bit later to be produced by the masters living in Russia. So, for example, it is known, that in 18 century the Moscow organists (mainly foreigners) started to produce harpsichords and clavichords and sold them in new capital - Petersburg - and in a province.


Distribution of keyboard instruments in 18 century.

From the beginning of 18 centuries the center of a cultural life of Russia has moved to Petersburg. Therefore here has concentrated most of all manufacturers and sellers of keyboard instruments.

It is a lot of information on construction of instruments we find in unique 18 centuries issued in Petersburg newspaper - «the St.-Petersburg sheets». 

The first printed announcement of sale of keyboard musical instruments appears in 1729. The organist of the main church of St. Ekaterina in Danzig Pheofil Folkman suggested to buy from him organs, harpsichords and a clavichord, having arrived for the specified instruments to Danzig.

In Petersburg the first master and the dealer, apparently, has appeared in 1747. The announcement in « the St.-Petersburg sheets »: « On Bolshaja Morskaja street at instrumental master Ioahim Bernard Vilde are sold clavicimbals and clavichords. » First time in Petersburg basically were on sale clavichords, playing on which was noticeably distributed in society. There are data that one of the largest officials of a Peter epoch, the son of the organist of lutheran church in Moscow, general-public prosecutor P.I.Jaguzhinsky (1683-1736) was the big fan of music and well played on clavichords. Noteable Russian clavichordist was  princess M. J.Cherkasskaja (dead in 1747). Only in 1765 we meet already with sale of "fluegel" and «pantaleons», and the first news about a piano appears in 1771: « Made of the whacking master the instrument, a piano named, is sold on island Vasilevsky in 10-th line in the house of secretary Givners where fans of this music about the price can ask ».

Here some masters, which names appeared in periodicals of 18 centuries: Albert (1779-1784), Ber (1797), Betge (1785-1798), Bich (1797), Braunschweig (1773-1779), Vilde (1747-1752), Gabran (1785), Gilot (1797), Ginz (or Ganz; 1780-1795), Engof (1772), Sin (1794), Kalix (1779-1792), Kirsching (1792), Kleis (1775), Rackwiz (1788), Skose Nicolas (it Shkor; 1768-1772), Utgof (1780-1799), Ferster (1765).

George Sebastian, the pianist and the composer, also was engaged in building of clavichords. He was born in the middle of 18-th century in Mainz, lives in Gotha, and in 70th years has moved to Russia, first to Petersburg where he by the way issued (1778) notes and sold instruments «for performance of the own creations»; in Petersburg George has put the 2-act opera « Sailor's jokes » (1780), also was staged in Moscow where he has finally moved and has died in the beginning of 19-th century. His son J.P. George was the professor of music in Moscow.

Since 1772 it is possible to notice occurrence of a fashion for a piano from mahogany. From other materials for a piano there is a nut. Also «the simple tree» (which it was not specified, but it was opposed to mahogany) is mentioned. Also the ornament of instruments has been distributed by bronze. Interestingly, for example, such notice from the state commercial-board: «His imperial majesty highestly to enjoin has deigned a piano and claviers at which not on cases, but on the locks for strengthening bronze is applied, with a capture of duties will be imposed, to pass free ».

Demand for instruments increases, and appears a new condition at sale: master Nikolaus Shkoh sells clavicimbals, claviers and English pianos from mahogany and undertakes to correct within a year them free-of-charge.

But also this condition - to an annual guarantee - became insufficiently, it was necessary to name the master; if he did not name on a surname he was defined as «most famous» or «the first in Paris the master», etc. Further it was necessary to specify a place of manufacture; before all we have collided Stockholm – claviers by master Gotlib Rosenau in 4 ½ octaves. English instruments began to be appreciated, and frequently was mentioned only «brought from England pianos, clavicimbals and spinets»; in 1780th years in Petersburg appears pianos of English factories Zumpiel (Zumpe), Bayer, Stodart, Buntebart and others. Public gets used to understand quality, marks and firms of instruments.

Publications of last decade of 18 centuries are mentioned instrumental masters Ivan Prach, Jacob Seidlez, Betge, Gabran, Rackvic, Kirshing, Sin, Fridrich Christian Bich, Ber, Gilot, Kunst.

In the beginning of 19 century there was a fashion for the Viennese instruments. This was promoted by the announcement which has appeared in 1803 of instrumental master Ludwig Kester which « informed the most respectable public, that he makes the pianos known under the name Viennese, which by most noble Mozart are recognized for the perfect». Mozart's authority should force to prefer the Viennese pianoes, with their easy mechanism in playing, to instruments of other systems. Instruments of firms Schanz, Keller, Teihert and especially M.Miller were popular.

Except for the numerous foreign masters who have arrived to Petersburg, here has lodged and began to produce clavichords well-known violin and guitar master, the former serf of earl Sheremetiev - Ivan Andreevich Batov (1767-1839); to this art he was taught at master Gauk.


19 century. Occurrence of piano factories.

In the beginning of 19 centuries the piano is actively distributed. In Petersburg the Viennese pianos, both grand-pianos and table-pianos are regularly sold. Pianos was built by masters Ludwig Kester (1803), Schanz (1804), Harimatis (1805). In 1806 appears a profession of the piano tuner. Up to that duties of tuning assume usually the master, produced and selling them.

Demand for instrument strongly increases, appears necessity for occurrence of the large enterprises making a piano.

Activity of two outstanding piano masters concerns to a transitive epoch of the beginning of factory construction of a piano in Petersburg - Alexey Nechaev and Johann August Tischner (1774 - 1852). Instruments of these masters, in a small amount kept, differ very high quality. «Tischner at that time was the best master in Petersburg, and the mechanism of his grand pianos supposed an opportunity to play extremely distinctly » - recollects M.I.Glinka in "Notes". Instrument by Tischner belonged to Michael Ivanovich Glinka in 1824-1856, the composer used him during the composition of an opera «The Life for the Tsar».

Popularity which instruments by Tischner used has caused occurrence of fakes. Therefore the master has been compelled to publish such announcement in 1819: «It is noticed by me, that since some time another's pianos are sold by false image, ostensibly made at my factory. Between other persons, thereby forgery taken advantage is one musician about which name I hold back here for the especial reasons, which, having ordered in the Moscow factories pianos has sent these to Kiev with an inscription on a board: J.A.Tishhner in St.-Petersburg. I am therefore induced to warn respectable public, informing that from my factory on this time no instruments have been sent in the Moscow factories or a bench for sale. Johann August Tischner, the piano master and a merchant in St.-Petersburg».

Archival materials of Petersburg craft board testify that in 1831 - 1868 among departments on a speciality appeared «clavichord department». (In Russia pianos for a long time was named old-fashionly “clavichords”). Masters and workers of a piano affair concerned to it, obviously. In the middle of 19 century the quantity of workers of this department was big enough, and presence in it both Russian and foreign workers had induced Craft board to issue in 1856 the instruction on “ceremonies of Russian and foreign clavichord department». Since 1862 clavichord department is united with watch-makers department. After 1869 data on reception in clavichord-watch department and about dismissal from it does not meet.


The first piano factory - Diderichs.

The first piano factory in Russia appears in 1810 in Petersburg. It was established by native of Braunschweig duchy Fridrich (in Russia – Fiodor Fiodorovich) Diderichs (1779 - 1846). Firstly the factory represented small workshop where the owner and one more worker worked. The workshop borrowed a tiny premise in the house № 47/13 (nowadays the house №41) at a corner of 2-nd line and the Sredniy prospectus of island Vasilevskiy.

From the very beginning affair have gone so successfully, that in two years Diderichs has increased number of workers up to 15 persons, and in 1822 he got the whole house in the full property. Here he placed the factory where were already 30 workers.

The first instruments made by Diderichs, were exact copies of the Viennese samples. Besides the factory putted out table-pianos. One of such instruments (without the indication of a date of issue) is stored at number 284 in a museum of the Petersburg institute of theatre, music and cinematography.

In May, 1829 Diderichs has exposed h is pianos at the first All-Russian manufactory exhibition in Petersburg. The price of the instrument was extremely low on those times - it cost 500 roubles while other masters estimated the products from one and a half up to four thousand.

The jury of an exhibition noted, that the instrument exposed by Diderichs, «works good and strong; only for playing it is heavy, why it is ranked in the second category, however, this instrument is more dear than the price appointed to it » (Magazine of manufactories and trade, 1829, № 4).

In 1840 Diderichs again expanded industrial premises of the factory. A four-storeyed big building, and also a building in a court yard had been constructed near to existing earlier two buildings along the Sredniy prospectus and 2-nd line.

In 1846, after death of the founder of the factory, business was passed to his widow – E .A .Diderichs, and in 22 years it was passed to his son Robert Fyodorovich,  (1836 - 1893) who had received a special technical education. Robert Diderichs at once undertook improvement of instruments and technologies of their manufacture. Soon it managed to become successful - on All-Russian manufactory exhibition of 1870 his instrument was awarded with a honourable response.

Subsequently his younger brother Andrey Fyodorovich Diderichs joined Robert (1838 - 1904) which also was the expert on piano manufacture and brought the appreciable contribution to improvement of quality of instruments. With 1878 factory began to be called «Brothers Р. and A.Diderihs». The big shop in the house №8 on the Vladimir prospectus appeared, at the same time brothers had got the building next to factory - the house №43 on 2-nd line. The same year brothers bought a site on 13-th line of island Vasilevskiy. In the June of the next year they received the sanction on «construction of a two-storeyed stone building for clavichord workshops» from the city board; and in August, 1880 they began construction of an extension. Soon the Office of the Petersburg town governor gave out to Diderichs the sanction on manufacture of works in a new premise.

After move to the new building, productivity of the factory increased considerably. In the beginning of 70th years here was issued 40 – 50

instruments in a year, and in 1881 - 200 grand pianos and the upright-piano. In manufacture 50 workers have been borrowed has been established

The steam machine was established at the factory. The capacity of this machine was 6 horsepowers. Since 1882 the firm began to put on the market concert grand pianos in 7 1\4 octaves of the american design with cross strings and the mechanism of double repetition. Salon and cabinet grand pianos and the upright-pianos were issued also.

In the summer of 1882 the All-Russian industrial-art exhibition took place in Moscow. «Mr.Diderichs exhibited some grand pianos of good, full tone in which the big success of the manufacture is seen,” - wrote magazine  " Music world " (1882, №1).

Up to the end of 80th years instruments of brothers Diderichs over and over again were marked at domestic and foreign exhibitions where they received three gold, three silver and one bronze medal.

In August, 1893 R.Diderichs died, and his younger brother became the individual owner of the firm. He continued to expand the manufacture, and in 1895 - 1898 made full reconstruction of the enterprise: the new four-storeyed factory building, some additional buildings were built, the new heating system, the elevating machine were arranged. Capacity of the steam engine by 1895 has been increased twice. A.Diderihs appointed highly skilled piano master F.E.Kalning as a technical director of the enterprise.

By 1899 productivity was increased three times in comparison with 1893, thus the cost of one instrument had a little decrease. Achievements of the firm after reorganization were highly appreciated on a number of industrial exhibitions. In 1896 the firm received the highest award for merits in the domestic industry - the State emblem sign.

At the World industrial exhibition in Paris in 1900 the instrument of factory was awarded with Grand prix, and its owner was awarded with an order.

After A.Diderichs death the factory management was passed to his sons - to Andrey and Fyodor. They had already sufficient operational experience at the  factory. The technical part of an affair still was guided by F. E. Kalning.

During the next decade, up to the beginning of the first world war, the firm successfully continued the activity, constantly expanding the manufacture. By 1908 200 persons worked at the factory.

In 1910 Andrey Andreevich Diderichs  left the firm to base his own business. His firm was only trading, under name "Andrey Diderihs". It was settled down in the house №60 on the Liteinyi prospectus. Here was opened the shop for sale and hire of keyboard instruments, repair shop and a small concert hall was open. A.Diderihs undertook representation of well-known Berlin piano firm "Bechstein" and factory of musical instruments «L.G.Adler's Successors», located in Rostov-na-Donu. Also he engaged in the organization of concerts in Petersburg, in particular Lamond, Skryabin.

In the latest years of existence of the firm the skilled master, the pupil of known piano master J.Bljutnera took part in work of the factory - Ernest Hijz (Ize). He had his own factory till 1914 transferred then in Tallinn.

When the first world war began, manufacture at the Diderichs factory was reduced noticeably. To 1917 on it worked only 27 person, and in April of the next year it was closed.


The second large piano enterprise in time of occurrence was factory of Schröder based in 1818.

Long before it, in 1783, the Petersburg public met surname Schröder - the piano master offered instruments of own manufacturing. Whether had this Schröder any attitude to Johann Fridrich Schröder, to the founder of the factory, it is not known.

It is curious, that simultaneously with Johann Fridrich in Petersburg worked piano master Andreas Christian Schröder whom earlier wrongly recognize as ancestor of Schröder. A.H.Schröder opened the workshop in house of Folbaum (the Bolshaja Liteinaja street) in 1820. He declared, that at him are sold «a various grade of a pianos … with full and pleasant tone; he cherish hopes, that experts will approve his work». As contemporaries marked, it was the interesting person, from those people, «who the nature uncontrollably attracts to inventions ». In nine years the newspaper «Tifliss Sheets» informed, that he «by means of long-term experiences, arrived to improvement of ordinary grand pianos», having applied a cast iron frame and steel strings in a bass. The newspaper specified essential advantages of this instrument in comparison with others: use of the cast-iron frame gave the opportunity to take away from under the deck thick wooden beams because of what tone of the instrument became incomparably more cleanly and more full, the sound began to keep much longer, than in ordinary grand pianos. Furthermore influence of temperature and humidity felt less, accordingly tune kept longer and «tuning hardly is required two times a year». For this invention A.H.Schröder received the exclusive privilege (i.e. the patent) on manufacture «Imperial grand-pianos” within 10 years. Known journalist Faddej Bulgarin wrote in 30th years of 19 century about the new instrument made by Schröder. He wrote about it: «You hear a sound of harp and meanwhile play on keys. The advantage of Schröder’s invention also is obvious: to play on his instrument is incomparably easier and more pleasant, than on harp and besides it is not necessary to study especially: it is enough to be able to play on a piano». Apparently, talk was about the instrument of type of claviharp, which have been at that time distributed in Europe. Schröder has presented such instrument to emperor Nikolay I.   

Bulgarin specifies also the address of Schröder: Malaja Sadovaja street, in the house of merchant Kupriyanov №20.

Johann Fridrich Schröder, the native of Saxony opened in the beginning small workshop in the Bolshaja Messhanskaja street where he made rectangular pianos. Products of Schröder were good-quality and reliable, that has brought to their founder popularity in capital. Schröder quickly expanded business. He bought a site at a corner of Bolshaja Messhanskaja and Voznesenskiy prospectus where the building of factory was constructed and the shop was open.

Later 20 years after the basis of factory instrument by Schröder received his first unassuming award: in 1839 at the All-Russian manufactory exhibition in Petersburg the piano by Schröder was awarded with a medal «For diligence and art».

In 1852, after J.F.Schröder's death, the enterprise has passed to his son, Karl Ivanovich who managed to expand considerably manufacture and to improve quality of instruments.

K.I.Schröder was the big expert on a piano affair, he watched closely the technical innovations introduced by abroad, and successfully applied them at the factory. In 1862 he, the first in Russia, started to put cast iron frames in grand pianos. For some models he used the american design of whole-bent cases, more perfect system of the mechanism, the device of "a treble bell» for improvement of a timbre of the top register, system of cross strings and many other innovations. He ordered the best masters and experts from abroad and to the sons - to Karl and Johann - gave an opportunity to study thoroughly modern piano manufacture in the western countries.

In 1862 factory by Schröder was already the largest in capital by number of workers and by output. Only in 1862 year 170 instruments have been made, and the quantity of workers was increased from 50 up to 82 person. And in 1870 at factory worked already 100 person, and 300 grand pianos and the upright-pianos was produced.

In 60th years K.I.Schröder has expanded industrial premises of the enterprise. Now factory borrowed the big five-floor brick building. The ground floor has been entirely given under warehouse, on other four settled down workshops. Cases of instruments was made on the fifth floor, then by means of the special mechanism lowered in ground floors. There carried out assembly, furnish and tuning of instruments. Ready grand pianos acted in a hall of shop which was in the next building looked by a facade on Bolshaja Messhanskaja street.

Instruments by Schröder began to get the increasing popularity - all over again in Petersburg, then in the country, and then in the international market. In 1861 Schröder presented the instruments at the All-Russian exhibition of the manufactory industry in Petersburg where he took so-called «the Public praise». In 1865 the instrument by Schröder was shown at a similar exhibition in Moscow where has received a medal «For diligence and art». The exhibition past in Kassel in 1870 had brought to firm one more well-deserved reward. But instruments by Schröder have received an original recognition at the Petersburg industrial exhibition of the same year. The firm took on it the maximum award - the State Emblem. Experts marked: « Best of all grand pianos which are taking place at an exhibition, indoubtedly recognizes a concert grand piano of the local Petersburg manufacturer Mr. Schröder both on solidity and carefulness of work, and for an equal elastic touch and for unusually full, melodious, equal tone in all registers. A grand piano by Mr. Schröder it is made on the american system which at last Parisian exhibition is recognized as the best; instruments of this exhibit differ that distinctness of a fabrication which we find only in grand pianos of two well-known London factories Broadwood and Collard. Except for this grand piano Mr. Schröder has exposed also the upright-piano (of rosewood) which on flatness, on pleasantness of tone, on melodiousness can be safely ranked to exemplary. It is a pity, that Mr. Schröder has not exposed the small grand pianos which differ with the durability and wonderfully pleasant tone ». (Sheets of the St.-Petersburg city police, 1870, on September, 7.)

K.I.Schröder was possible to keep a victory over eighteen other Russian piano masters who have sent production on the Petersburg exhibition.

However, the best Petersburg piano factory of that time - "J.Bekker" did not accept participation in an exhibition. And nevertheless it was triumph. In opinion of experts, «Mr. Schröder has made recently unusual successes, and he can go far if he will continue, all the more his factory has all resources with which can be reached every possible improvements ». (The Warsaw Diary, 1870, 15 (27) June.)

In 1872 on the World's fair in London instrument of Schröder received one of the highest awards. The next spring the Petersburg magazine wrote: «Grand pianos by Mr. Schröder were preferably selected many of the first class pianists for concerts during a present season… Mr. Schröder watches all modern improvements in a design of grand pianos … His grand pianos, undoubtedly, far surpass grand-pianos other our masters». (Literary addition to «Nouvellist», 1873, May.)

In September, 1873 K.Schröder at last managed to be won over his main competitor among the Russian manufacturers - the owner of the firm "J.Bekker". At the World industrial exhibition in Vienna Schröders factory was awarded with the Big gold medal «For the prosperity», and well-knownBekkers firm received only honourable diploma. Besides Gold medal Schröder awarded with the orden of  Franz-Joseph. The press asserted: «Grand piano by Schröder with fullness, grace, melodiousness, duration of a sound, extremely easy and thin touch, uniformity of stroke and tone, durability of work and carefulness of furnish … has met with the fullest approval both artists, and the first masters of an affair ». (the same magazine, December, 1873.)

The success at the Viennese exhibition promoted growth of popularity of Schröders instruments. It has induced the owner of factory to continue expansion of the manufacture. In 1874 Schröder had got the big site on the Petersburg party and in the same year he built on it the big five-floor building equipped by last word of modern techniques. Here, for the first time in Russia, Schröder has applied to piano manufacturing force of the steam engines putting in action the machines and mechanisms. Now the basic building of factory was located on quay of Bolshaja Nevka, in the house №34. Here Schröder transferred all manufacture, having left on an old place only trading premises, the warehouse and the office.

The new factory building began to function since April, 1875. However, it was not fated to exist long to it. On the night of September, 5th, 1878 at factory there was a big fire which began in a joiner's premise where cases for grand pianos were made. In two hours all huge five-floor building was on fire, in spite of active and fast actions of firemen it was not possible to rescue anything. «The factory was insured in 126 thousand roubles by silver, - informed magazine "Niva".-Obviously, Mr. Schröder had incurred the huge loss as down about hundred ready grand pianos and  upright-pianos and about four hundred instruments being in work and uncompleted were burned. Fortunately, the main hothouse with a huge stock of the wood was spared by fire, it was very far from a building of factory. The steam boiler was also spared. were left. Schröder kept all the workers up to 150 person until renewal of works on September, 15 in a new huge factory taken temporarily in rent on the Vyborg party». (1878, №39, page 720.)

Despite of the large losses caused by a fire, Schröder had not lost a courage. Soon he had got a site in the Bolshaja Vulfovaja street at the Petersburg party, where he constructed new factory in a very short term. The sizes and the technical equipment of this factory was not conceded to the enterprise that was destroyed by a fire. In a year after a fire new factory started the activity. From this time it began to be called as “1-st Russian piano steam factory K.M.Schröder ".

At new factory there were already two steam machines operated simultaneously, their general capacity was more than 40 horsepowers. By the moment of start-up of the enterprise in 1879 170 workers were registered on it. By 1885 their number has grown up to 200 person, and annual manufacture of instruments reached 500-550.

At the end of 70th years Schröders factory produced big concert grand pianos of the american design with a range in seven and a half of octaves, concert and salon grand pianos in seven octaves with the mechanism of double repetition, cabinet grand pianos with a metal frame and cross strings and seven-octave upright-pianos.

At the World's fair of 1878 in Paris K.I.Schröder achieved one more big success: his grand piano received Grand prix, and he himself got an order of the Honourable legion. In June, 1880 he received a rank «the Supplier of a court yard of His Majesty». In addition to this, rather prestigious in those days, rank Schröder was the supplier of the German court yard and female educational institutions of the department of Empress Maria, and since December, 1875 officially was called as the supplier of the Petersburg conservatory which used his instruments since 1866.

At the All-Russian industrial exhibition in Moscow in July, 1882 firm "K.M.Schröder", alongside with firm " J.Bekker ", participated out of concours. The Ministry of Finance appointed representatives of these firms as official experts of the exhibition.

In the beginning of 80th years Schröder had got the house №52 on the Nevskiy prospectus for a shop of musical instruments. Before in this building was placed the well-known in city restaurant and the hotel of Palkin. Ceremonial opening of the shop took place on March, 27, 1883. «… All Petersburg music world was present at consecration of a new lodgement of shops of the famous piano factory "K.M.Schröder", - wrote magazine "Nouvellist" (1883, № 5). - Shops of the factory were transferred from the Kazanskaja street to the Nevskiy prospectus in own house, where Mr. Schröder arranged a magnificent appartments with the big concert hall. From stars of music world there was A. G. Rubinstein. After consecration and wishes for long life, executed by a large choir, the address signed by professors of the Petersburg conservatory and the best Petersburg artists was brought to K.I.Schröder, in which huge progress of activity of the Schröder’s factory for last years was ascertained. The address was read by professor Kross. Then director of the Petersburg conservatory brought to Mr. Schröder bread and salt … finally, magnificent breakfasts was served, during which many toasts were proclaimed and some telegrams from province and abroad were received.

Schröder’s instruments obtained on the native land a true recognition and started to get the increasing popularity in the West. At the London World industrial exhibition of 1885 the grand piano exposed by Schröder, caused general interest and was highly appreciated. «The special attention of local public and experts … was turned on a grand piano of firm " K.M.Schröder " … the Petersburg pianist Mr. Kor-de-Las gave on it two concerts … In entr'acte we have heard from different directions only most flatter responses about his grand piano », - wrote magazine "Nouvellist", 1883, №5.

One of Schröder’s grand pianos at number 6701, which belonged to A. P. Borodin till last days his life, is stored now in a museum of the Petersburg institute of theatre, music and cinematography.

After K. I. Schröder's death in 1889 owners of firm became his sons - Karl, Johann and Oscar. The eldest brother, Karl Karlovich, worked long time at the largest foreign piano factories. Having headed technical plant management, he continued to improve instruments which, as well as during lifetime of his father, were marked on world's fairs by the highest awards.

In 1900 brothers based "K.M.Schröder's" trading house for operation of factory and trading institutions which had the branches in Warsaw and Odessa.

In the spring of 1903 Karl Karlovich left the enterprise and bought the factory of grand pianos "J.Bekker". The technical management of Schröder’s factory passed to Ivan (Johann) Karlovich who was less experienced in piano manufacture than the senior brother. Some new models of grand pianos and the upright-pianos appeared less successful and undermined reputation of the firm, whose production was appreciated very high by Liszt, Rubinstein and many other largest musicians. But the best traditions were still strong; despite of the general decrease in quality well-known Schröder’s instruments, they much more surpassed an average level. Many pianists still preferred Schröder’s grand pianos for the concerts.

K.I.Schröder's successors continued expansion of manufacture. In 1890 the factory produced 700 grand pianos and the upright-pianos, after four years – 850 per year. Before the First World War mid-annual productivity of firm was 1200 instruments. The number of workers at the factory increased also. In 1913 there were 325 persons total.

By the end of 1890th years at factory there was a smithy, small fitting-turning and joiner's branch, in which the basic manufacture was concentrated. 18 turning, milling, boring machines functioned at the enterprise. In the first years of 20-th century the equipment of factory was entirely renew, new instruments and machines was installed, capacity of the steam engine was increased to 80 horsepowers. In 1910 started to operate portable engine, and general capacity of engines available at that time was 200 horsepowers.

During the First World War brothers Schröder was compelled to reduce manufacture down to 100 instruments in a year and to engage in execution of military orders of Petrograd military-industrial committee and the Main military-technical management. On the night of May, 19, 1917  flashed the fire in the equipped quickly fitting-mechanical workshop on manufacture of remote fuses and primer fuses for the manual pomegranates. Fire completely destroyed a sawmill and a part of the basic industrial building.

In 1918 factory "K.M.Schröder" was nationalized by the Advice of a national economy of Northern area.



One of the famous piano masters of the second quarter of 19 centuries was Johann Wirth. Here is information about from the encyclopedic dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron, S.-Petersburg, 1892: «Wirth - the manufacturer of grand pianos, known in Russia in due time (1825 - 1852). In 30 and 40th years factory of Wirth was considered the first in Russia; it produced only grand pianos. For 27 years of existence the factory makes 2700 grand pianos … Grand pianos by Wirth was propagandized by Henselt, Kontsky, Gerke, Karl Mayer. But Liszt, in the stay in Petersburg, played on grand pianos of Lichtental. Instruments by Wirth differed a remarkable fortress and a good tone. There are instruments of Mr. Wirth in many houses till now ».

V.F.Odoevsky wrote in 1837 about Leopold Mayer's concert: « Both force, and grace, both simplicity, and luxury! We shall mention as difference of new school: extraordinary work for the big finger and a little finger, almost incessant use of the left pedal in dolce, and such strong accent on keys in marcato, that here in Petersburg only pianos of master Wirth could resist under fingers of Mr. fon-Mayer; this strong accent gives a piano sonority and melodiousness what hitherto was not suspected in this instrument. Messrs dilettanti! Have a kind to change your piano if you do not want to lag behind new school». «… we shall hear once again Leopold Mayer - this magic thunder-storm of pianists and - pianos! However, we are sure, that some of the first will stand for themselves as have resisted pianos of master Wirth».

The Wirth’s grand piano was in P. I. Tchaikovskiy's family down to the finishing a conservatory by him. A grand piano of the firm of Wirth at number 2292 (about 1846 of release) belonged also to A. S. Dargomyzhskiy.

N.I.Kompanejsky in «the Russian Musical Newspaper» in 1906 wrote: « Once at O.A.Petrov in 1875 Musorgsky played his works … Difficultly to present, that he made from «Glorify, glorify». Old Wirth’s keys hooted, as bells and rattled, as a copper orchestra».

The name of one more piano firm in Russia is connected with name of Wirth, retired to Germany in 1852. He had left in the inheritance to Russia one of his best pupil, the former journeyman who managed the factory - Fridrich Schiller. He became the independent owner of the factory in 1848 or 1850, continuing construction of grand pianos after method of Wirth.

Schiller's factory settled down in the Bolshaja Morskaja street, 18. It borrowed three floors and had fifteen workshops. At factory, against other workshops of that time, had been entered narrow specialization. Dispatching in a province the announcement of sale of his instruments, F. V. Schiller wrote: « I think not superfluous to notice to the most respectable public, that due to the excellent organization of my factory, in particular, as much as possible advanced by machines, I am in a condition to supply gentlemen buyers with the instruments favorable as on excellent qualities, recognized by many artists and experts in music, and under reasonable prices ».

For the activity F. V. Schiller acquired the right to be the supplier of a piano for Management of Imperial theatres and teaching and educational institutions of prince of Oldenburg. Composer A. N. Serov played frequently on Schiller’s grand pianos during staging of his opera «Rogneda», and as he wrote, «I constantly admired flatness of their tone, long keeping of the tuning and all practical advantages of these products. From conversations with known pianist Alexander Dreischok I have learned, that he also extremely sympathizes with products of this firm”. A. N. Serov also liked very much «an extremely pleasant, noble and together brilliant tone in general, crystal in the top octaves and especial force in the bass register – here are qualities which in Schiller's grand pianos are appreciable even from the first sounds».

In 1876 F.V.Schiller, after survey of grand piano by Steinway in the Anitchkov palace, made a prolongement pedal. Under available data, the factory existed also in 1881. It is not clear yet, what happens with it then.



Belgian piano master Henry Herman Lihtental worked in the same time with Wirth in Petersburg. He was ruined in the homeland during revolution on August, 25, 1830. After that Lihtental liquidated the factory in Brussels and moved to Petersburg. Here he based in 1840 the small piano factory on Fontanka, corner of Apraskin pereulok, in Schmidt's house.

Lichtental rendered on the Petersburg piano construction big and beneficial influence and was the initiator of many innovations.

The inventive master constructed many original instruments, for example bowed piano (1838), a combination of the bowed piano and a piano (it was patented in 1843), a grand-piano of the small size and a square grand-piano (1845), "imperial-grand-piano" (1846) with the cross strings, differed from contemporary instruments with the big force of a sound. Lichtental was the first piano master in Petersburg used cross strings in instruments. In 1851 he exposed on a World's fair in London a grand piano with cross strings and a grand piano with two resonant decks.

After death of Lichtental in 1854 his factory had been got by the Petersburg merchants Schiller and Beck. The firm puted out grand pianos and the upright-pianos some time under their leading. Afterwards Beck left this enterprise, and Schiller continued some time to produce instruments. The factory stopped the existence at the end of 19 century.



For the first time the name of piano master Bekker meets in 1800. It is known, that there was several Bekkers in Petersburg, and they even competed among themselves.

In 1841 piano master Jacob Bekker (in Russia - Jacov Davydovich), the native of German princedom Pfalz, founds in S.-Petersburg the big factory which subsequently becomes, probably, the most well-known in Russia. In the beginning the factory represented workshop which produced 20 instruments in a year. The workshop was in the Italian street, in the house №31. Here were issued mostly small grand pianos using raised demand at that time, in comparison with rectangular pianoes and the upright-piano. J.Bekker was the big expert in a contemporary piano affair, and boldly entered into a design of the instruments all technical innovations.

Already in the middle of 40th years the Petersburg magazine informed the readers: «… excellent master J.Bekker has made rather important improvement that all keys in a piano gave sounds corresponding to impact». The essence of the invention has consisted in a way of regulation of keys with lateral pieces of wood with screws, drawing in and establishing exact width of apertures in key-chases. For this invention Bekker took the patent that gave beginning of growth of well-being and prosperity of his firm. After a while Bekker has tried to modernize the English mechanism, having applied the bridge for adjustment the position of the jack. Also he applied inverted downwards pinblock (1848). He believed to improve tone of the top register with the last invention. However difficulties of the tuning and in particular the inconveniences with replacement of bursted strings, have forced to refuse such design soon.

Bekker's grand pianos began to be renowned and became a wide recognition. The Petersburg publisher and pianist M. I. Bernard wrote: « Bekker's instruments are especially remarkable now. He has deserved general popularity with his talents, diligence and conscientiousness. His grand pianos on durability and beauty of work do not concede Erard instruments, and by force, fullness and charm of a sound, undoubtedly, surpass them». (Literary addition to «Nouvellist», 1849, №4). The flatter response was given also by one of critics: « During this year I  had a case not once to speak about grand-pianos of Bekker because his instruments have been used almost exclusively in the concerts … Two main advantages of his grand-pianos are the following: tone is strong, but pleasant and longsounded, and durability of the mechanism; on the intricate simplification of their mechanism based at the newest opening of acoustics, it is possible to warrant safely, that grand-pianos by Mr. Bekker will be incomparably longer kept, than all previous instruments. Bekker has reached in his grand-pianos pure and longsounded tone … he placed strings not above the boards as it is ordinarily done, but from below. Thus, it is impossible for a string to leave appropriate position … Every key is supplied with double screws with which help keys can be given bigger or smaller tightness in accordance with a strength of the player».

In the beginning of 50th years Bekker’s grand pianos had drawn F. V. Bulgarin's attention, who placed in the newspaper «Severnaja Ptchela» the letter of Polish pianist A. Kontsky to J. Bekker: « Mr. Bekker! I do not want to leave Petersburg, not having expressed you in writing that pleasure which I felt, playing four last concerts on your excellent piano. Among excellent qualities of instruments of your work are especially remarkable unusual cleanliness of sounds, surprising flatness of the keyboard and that high advantage, that the instrument firmly keeps a chord or tuning» (1853, on May, 9). Respecting recommendation of A. Kontsky F. Bulgarin visited Bekker’s workshop. There the journalist could make sure personally in advantages of Bekker’s instruments and noted, that «Mr. Bekker … is continually in the workshop and does not start up any key in business while personally will not make sure, that it is made as should be».

Since 1854, Bekker's name began to appear in clauses of musical critic F. M. Tolstoi. He wrote: « the best grand pianos, on sonority, durability and furnish, recently were products of workshop by Wirth. Nowadays Mr. Wirth left Petersburg and, apparently, for ever. On mine meaning, superiority now in a piano fabrication belongs to Mr. Bekker (on the Italian street, opposite Michailovskiy manege). His grand pianos differ a fine, full sound; the top registers are especially remarkable … Over all masterful, gentle furnish, durability and stability in a tuning … force us to prefer now grand pianos of Mr. Bekker » (Severnaja Ptchela, 1854, on September, 30).

In second half 50th years Bekker's grand pianos are marked by experts especially. «The St.-Petersburg sheets» at the end of 1885 wrote: «Whether it was a lot of concerts of the past season have done without grand pianos of Mr . Bekker? If we are not mistaken, local and visitors virtuosos-pianists played all concerts on Bekker's grand pianos, and in general in each a little remarkable concert where the grand piano was required, almost likely on a stage appears the grand piano nobody's another, as Mr. Bekker’s. We saw already in former instruments of Mr. Bekker connection of qualities of the Viennese and English instruments. Now Mr. Bekker had time to bring a touch of his instruments into unusual lightness. At the fastest playing keys repeats with amazing flatness and clearness. The second improvement in grand pianos of Mr. Bekker consists in duration of a sound … Mr. Bekker reached it by means of some changes in the mechanism, changes rather simple, if to take in attention how some foreign masters, also looking for lengthenings of a sound complicate the mechanism» (November, 13).

Nobody of piano masters received such brilliant responses in Russia. But it was only the first success.

In 1871 the factory has passed to M. A. Bitepazh and P. L. Peterson. From this time activity of the firm gets larger calibres. New owners kept the old name of firm in memory of the former merits. At an industrial exhibition in Moscow in 1872 their instrument was awarded with the highest award - the Honourable diploma and a Gold medal. Development of new model of the instrument began: in Bekker’s design had been brought a number of essential changes. According to the newspaper "Golos", the purpose of these changes was «to make playing on the instrument more light and comfortable with some increase in compass of the instrument (from 7 octaves up to 7 ¼); to ennoble beauty of tone and to strengthen durability of the instrument which, however, long since makes one of characteristic qualities of Bekker’s grand pianos » (1872, on December, 19).

On March, 5, 1873 on new Bekker’s grand piano played N. G. Rubinstein. P. I. Tchaikovsky was at this concert and gave very high estimation for the instrument: «In the concert Mr. Rubinstein played on the new instrument of known Petersburg firm of Bekker. Recently Berlin manufacturer Bechstein was the dangerous competitor of this firm and became in our both capitals such popularity, that Mr. Bekker was threatened with danger to be in short time completely left and overlooked. But it is known, that in a perfection of any affair nothing influences so beneficially for improvement of manufacture, as a competition. Touched the right chord the Petersburg manufacturer reigned in our piano market before occurrence of Mr. Bechstein undividedly, used all efforts to not only to be made even, but if it is possible to surpass the contender. These diligences have crowned the uttermost success. The instrument chosen of Mr. Rubinstein for the concert, represents a remarkable combination of brilliance, force, steelness and together with it melodiousness of tone. I find however, at all not denying really excellent qualities of instruments Bechstein, that for big halls it is necessary to prefer new Bekker’s grand pianos as being soft and pleasant on the tone, they are at the same time differ remarkable force of a sound » (Musical critiques).

Bitepazh and Peterson not stopped on achieved results and continued to improve the instruments. Only for five years - from 1872 to 1876 - they created 20 various, very expensive models demanded from the firm many expenses. Owners of the enterprise aspired to expand the manufacture even more. They increased number of workers up to 100 person and built a new spacious four-storied building on the Petersburg party. Now the factory located on quay of Bolshaja Nevka, in the house № 36. In the Italian street was left only the shop of the firm.

The Bekker’s factory differed from other piano enterprises that absolutely all details of the instruments were made in it. In a ground floor was located the metalwork workshop, a smithy, an engine room with steam machine in 25 horsepowers. In 2-nd and 3-rd floors was made cases and small wooden details, assembled ready instruments. All top floor borrowed a warehouse with wood of various breeds. From an assembly department instruments moved with the help of the special elevating machine to the big hall for tuning. In some years here was equipped pig-iron and copper-foundry workshops, was constructed new premises for a warehouse and hothouse for woods. Soon the shop of firm had been transferred to a corner of the Nevskiy prospectus and the Kazanskaja square. In his huge halls has constantly been exposed up to 150 instruments.

By 1889 at the factory worked already about 300 person, operated more than 100 various machine instruments and mechanisms. The fire flashed in the summer of this year has destroyed the main factory case, a part of machines and many ready instruments. only workshops located in wings and a warehouse of a timber had escaped. However activity of the factory proceeded - during first time in the escaped workshops, and later in the big building rented on the next site. By the autumn it was possible to establish the new machines ordered from abroad and machine instruments on which worked the experienced workers who have not left factory. Soon after a fire Peterson left an affair, and the firm was passed to full property of Bitepazh. In the beginning of 1890 he got a new premise - the house № 63 on 8-th line of Vasilievskiy Island. There was about fifty machine instruments and the machines, three forge chimney, one crucible, cupola for fusion of the pig-iron, two presses, six various saws, 170 workbenches, 28 vice, two steam machines and two steam boiler worked in again equipped premise of a five-floor stone building.

A year later after opening new factory output has reached a former level. Last years of 19 century manufacture grew especially intensively. The quality of products continued to improve. Instruments of the firm became a wide recognition not only in Russia, but also abroad. After the World Parisian exhibition of 1878 the European musical newspapers put down to credit to factory application of a huge number of the improvements promoting the further development of a piano affair.

Last decade a century instruments of the firm "J. Bekker" repeatedly received the maximum awards at the international and All-Russian industrial exhibitions; in 1893 in Chicago the diploma and a medal, a year after in Antwerpen - Grand prix, in 1896 - the State Emblem in Nizhniy Novgorod, in 1897 - in Stockholm a Gold medal and a rank «The Supplier of a court yard of king Swedish and Norwegian», in 1900 - Grand prix in Paris (here Bitepazh was awarded with an order of the Honourable legion) have been received. The firm carried ranks of the supplier of the All-Russian and Austrian emperors, all Russian grand dukes, Russian Musical Society, the Petersburg and Moscow Conservatories.

The known Russian and European pianists played on grand pianos of the firm and assessed a very high quality of the instruments - F. Liszt, K. Saint-Saens, K. Schumann, G. Bülow, А. and N. Rubinstein, M. Balakirev, S. Taneev.

Responses of musicians and experts were fine. «During thirty years, - wrote in 1894 A. G. Rubinstein, - I play in Russia exclusively on Bekker's grand pianos. Except of fullness of sound and distinctness of the mechanism these instruments possess rare ability of modulation of a sound which I did not find in any other grand pianos» (Ves’ Petersburg, 1894). After the World's fair in Antwerpen where firm "J.Bekker" became the award «for the best and unique manufacture of grand pianos », the expert from the USA E. Carpenter wrote to the owner of the firm: «I had a case many times to show your grand pianos to my American friends and I find that is excessive to tell you about up to what degree they have liked them. I think, that you could teach Americans for a too much, at least, in business of manufacturing of grand pianos » (Niva, 1894, № 45).

K. K. Schröder, who has headed in 1903 a management of the factory, successfully developed Bekker’s traditions. At an exhibition of 1905 in Milan the grand piano of firm "J. Bekker" took the Grand prix. The new owner has considerably expanded manufacture. The stone two-storied edifice was built in territory of factory along 8-th line. Two years later was overbuilt all obverse and outdoor buildings therefore the huge six-storied industrial edifice with wings was formed. In 1912 K. K. Schröder built on and converted a hothouse for woods, located in depth of a court yard, but in October, 1913 the building of the hothouse was destroyed by a fire, and it was never managed to be restored.

During the First World War the factory continued working, however it was necessary to reduce the manufacture strongly. If in 1913 at factory worked 400 person, in 1914 - about 300 in 1915 remained only 123 workers. In 1916 because of fuel crisis manufacture was reduced even more. In January, 1, 1917 here was registered only 19 workers. In 1918 the factory of grand pianos "J. Bekker" was nationalized.



Workshop (later the factory) by Mühlbach was open in 1856 in Petersburg in the house №3 on Ofizerskaja Street (nowadays Dekabristov Street). Franz-Adolf (in Russia Fyodor Mihailovich) Mühlbach arrived to Petersburg from Revel, some time worked as the master at Wirth and Bekker. When he saved enough means, he decided to begin own business. Firstly workshop by Mühlbach produced only grand pianos. Materials was ordered from abroad and manufacturing of mechanisms, assembly, adjustment and tuning of instruments were made on a workshop. On a design production Mühlbachа was in many respects similar to instruments of his teacher - J.Bekker. During the first time only three workers, besides his owner, worked here, but manufacture began gradually to extend.

Prior to the beginning of 70th years name of Mühlbach as piano maker was poorly known. His instruments involved attention of wide musical circles only on the All-Russian manufactory exhibition of 1870 which took place in Petersburg where the grand piano by Mühlbach’s manufacture was exhibited.

The magazine “Muzykalniy Svet” (Musical Light) wrote about production by Mühlbach: «the English Design warrants for durability and promotes that tuning kept long; a sound is light, metal (the main condition for a concert grand piano), the perfect flatness during the seven-octave keyboard; basses have a timbre of organ, the top notes of a treble sound metallicly, without that woodness that we meet in instruments of other masters; a touché is convenient and pleasant; lifting and sinking of pedals is not accompanied by a unpleasant sound that is very important now when pedals serve as means for transfer of various effects of piano playing… upright-pianos he make only under the order as, in his opinion (as it is fair), instruments of this sort cannot correspond to all requirements. The prices rather inexpensive if to take in a reason durability and beauty of a sound» (1870, №2).

Factory by Mühlbach produced by this moment up to 50 instruments in a year in a quite wide assortment. Concert, salon, cabinet grand pianos, and also upright- pianos, were rather inexpensive. Cases of instruments were made from nut or rosewood; the mechanism was an English design, compass of the keyboard - 7 octaves. Sale occured directly in a building of the factory.

In 1878 son of F.M.Mühlbach, Fyodor Fyodorovich, became to be co-owner and the manager of factory. He learned piano manufacture in Leipzig. He entered a number of valuable improvements into a design of instruments making use of the experience saved up in Germany. He possesses a merit of creation of a grand piano such as "Minion". This small grand piano used huge demand due to the compactness and pleasant sounding.

In the beginning of 80th years father and son Mühlbach have bought the ground area between 5-th and 6-th Rota’s of Izmailovskiy Polk (nowadays streets Krasnoarmejskie). the three-tier factory edifice was built on a site and the stone four-storied building was capitally reconstructed. In a new premise was established the steam engine by capacity of 10 horsepower.

After move to a new premise productivity of factory began to grow quickly. High acoustic qualities, stability and durability of Mühlbach’s instruments promoted increase in number of orders. This growth became especially considerable from the middle of 90th years. By the end of a century the annual turnover of factory has made 200 thousand roubles. Number of workers grew also: 150 person worked at the enterprise by 1898.

In last quarter of a century instruments by Mühlbach repeatedly became the highest awards at the international exhibitions: the firm received 16 medals among which were 10 gold. In 1893 in Chicago instrument by Mühlbach awarded Grand prix, 1896 in Nizhni Novgorod - the State Emblem. A high estimation for Mühlbach’s grand pianos distances the Russian pianist A. N. Yesipova both the Polish pianists I. Paderevsky and J. Hoffmann.

In 1902 factory "F. Mühlbach" passed into the hands of A. F. Nating. A. I. Nating, the expert on piano manufacture operated the manufacture. In 1905 was constructed the big five-floor building on a place of old structures from the side of 5-th Rota, and in 1912 - a building from the side of 6-th Rota. Annual production rate of the factory those years was equaled to 270 thousand roubles. The firm had warehouses of integrated products in all provincial cities of Russian empire.

In the spring of 1914 the factory has produced the new advanced model of a cabinet grand piano such as «Steinway», with the bent, integral sides of the case, “treble bells” and the mechanism of double repetition. Unfortunately, such grand pianos outstanding on quality, was possible to made only four.

During the war manufacture at the factory was reduced to a minimum. By the end of December, 1916 here it was totaled only 12 workers. The enterprise was closed on December, 22, 1917.


Some other factories.

Except for above mentioned, in Petersburg there was a number of less large factories and workshops. We shall tell a little about them.

In 1850 based the factory of Christian Gentsch which name was known to mainly rather poor people. In one of sources it was written: «Products of the factory of Mr. Gentsch are finished with that perfection, that the society founded in 1856 in London in memory of national and world's fairs recently has awarded Mr. Gentsch with a gold medal for products of his workshop. He has also a medal from the manufactory exhibition of 1861. Instruments satisfactory in every respect are left this modest workshop and sold nevertheless more cheaply, than somewhere». It is known, that in 1861 annual manufacture of the firm of Gentsch made 15 - 50 instruments in cost, on the average, on 400 rubles. The workers borrowed in manufacture were 20 - 25 persons. By 1870 the institution has increased producing. This year it made up to 70 instruments in a year, and in 9 years had grown twice, making 140 grand pianos and the upright-pianos in a year, for the sum of 52 500 roubles. Workers were already 63 persons there. At the All-Russian manufactory exhibition of 1870 H.Gentsch's instruments were marked by an honorable response. In 1882 Gentsch patented the second resonant deck, connected to the basic with a number of connecting cores. In 1891 the factory is already in its own house, on the 7-th Rota. There was also a shop on the Liteiniy prospectus, the house 51. The factory produced basically small grand pianos. The firm stopped the existence at the end of 19 century.

Herman Meyer's piano factory began to work in 1871.

In 1874 based the small factory by V. K. Reingardt which was existed not for a long time and produced only upright-pianos.

In 1878 there was the piano workshop by Askolin which produced a small amount of inexpensive grand pianos and upright-pianos.

In 1880 was established the factory of Getze.

The factory of the upright-piano of Smith and Vegener was constructed in the same year. This enterprise putted out up to 500 upright-pianos in a year, with 150 workers. It was produced instruments mainly two sizes - average and big (so-called "concert").

1888 – the factory by Leppenberg.

1890 – small factory by A. G. Hergens. A. G. Hergens worked earlier at the factory of Bechstein in Berlin. Though instruments of this factory were quite satisfactory and possessed pleasant tone and the touch, however business could not be considerably expanded because of absence at the owner of a necessary working capital.

In 1892 began to work Rudolf Ratke’s factory transferred from Derpt (Tartu, it was based in 1867). This enterprise had 100 workers and putted out up to 400 instruments in a year. In the beginning of war of 1914 the factory was liquidated (subsequently business had been transferred to Berlin).

Factory by A.Rauzer and A.Bitepazh was based in 1894.

In 1898 firm K. Rönisch by Dresden opened the branch, considering the Russian market favorable for selling good instruments. Instruments here partly gathered from details brought from Dresden and semifinished items; a part of details and units, mainly cases, were produced in Petersburg. Before the World War the factory putted out 900 instruments in a year, having 200 workers.

In 1900-1901 was constructed the factory of the upright-piano of brothers Offenbacher. It was exemplary organized, electricificated enterprise constructed by last word of techniques. The firm produced upright-pianos of various models and styles of furnish. Last years before War by factory was developed models of grand pianos such as "minion" and big concert (in the last was applied the design of a "open" frame).

In 1903 Ernest Hijz (Изе), pupil of Julius Blüthner later working as the master at factory of brothers Diderichs, organized his own business. The factory which produced a small amount of high-quality cabinet grand pianos and upright-piano of the different sizes, was existed till 1914 (subsequently enterprise was transferred in Tallinn).







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Stolpianskiy P. N. Music and playing music in old Petersburg. Pbg, 1923

Hand-written album about J. Wirth made by V. Gorodilina in Tchaikovskiy museum in Alapaevsk. 1974-91

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