Bluthner Pianos

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Bluthner pianos are one of the leading quality European piano manufactuers.  We always have a good selection of traditional, reconditioned Bluthner uprights and grands in stock, and we frequently have a number of nearly new and modern models available.

Bluthner are well known for their three main characteristics; the Aliquot stringing system, and the Bluthner patent grand piano action, and the Bluthner upright overstrung damping mechanism.

In our opinion the Aliquot system was a novel idea. It is the use of extra, un-struck strings in the piano for the purpose of enriching the tone. Aliquot systems use an additional (hence fourth) string in each note of the top three piano octaves. This string is slightly higher than the other three strings so that it is not struck by the hammer. Whenever the hammer strikes the three conventional strings, the aliquot string vibrates sympathetically. 




Most of Bluthners earlier grands were built with the well-known and unique “Blüthner patent” action. Demand continued to grow for Blüthner’s grands and by 1900 he became the second largest manufacturer in Europe, building uprights as well. His over damper actions were regarded as being the finest of all time.


Blüthner produced 4 types of upright, the straight-strung, overdamper; the overstrung, overdamper; the straight-strung underdamper & the overstrung overdamper.
There would not appear to be any cut-off date when the overdamper gave way to the underdamper, but in general terms the underdamper action was introduced after the turn of the century, and the overdamper action was gradually phased out until WW1, after which only overstrung, underdamper uprights were made.

Current stock of Bluthner Pianos for sale at The Piano Gallery



 

More about Bluthner Pianos

Table of Contents

Model
Serial Numbers
History

Model

Current NEW Bluthner Classic Upright Piano Models
Model Width (cm) Depth (cm) Height (cm) Pedals Moontime Silent
Piano System
Bluthner
Evoluation System
Bluthner Model A 152 63 124 Soft, Practice, Sustain Option available Option available
Bluthner Model B 152 63 132 Soft, Practice, Sustain Option available Option available
Bluthner Model C 152 62 118 Soft, Practice, Sustain Option available Option available
Bluthner Model D 154 62 114 Soft, Practice, Sustain Option available Option available
Bluthner Model S 152 63 124 Soft, Practice, Sustain Option available Option available
 
Current NEW Bluthner Classic Grand Piano Models
Model Length Width (cm) Depth (cm) Pedals QRS PNOmation 
3 piano player
Moontime
Silent Piano
Bluthner Model 1
Concert Grand
9'2" 153 280      
Bluthner Model 2
Semi Concert Grand
7'10" 153 238      
Bluthner Model 4
Boudoir Grand
6'10" 153 210 Una corda, Sostenuto, Sustain Option available Option available
Bluthner Model 6 6'3" 153 190 Una corda, Sostenuto, Sustain Option available Option available
Bluthner Model 10
Baby Grand
5'5" 153 166      
Bluthner Model 11 baby grand  5'1" 153 154 Una corda, Sostenuto, Sustain Option available Option available
 
Other Bluthner Grand Piano Models
Model Length Width (cm) Depth (cm)
Bluthner Style 4 4'11"   150
Bluthner Style 4a 5'5"   165
Bluthner Style 5 5'9"   175
Bluthner Style 6 (Aliquot) 5'9"   175
Bluthner Style 7 6'3"   190
Bluthner Style 8 (Aliquot) 6'3"   190
Bluthner Style 9 6'7" - 6'11"   200-211
Bluthner Style 10 7'8"   234
Bluthner Style 11 9'   274
Bluthner Style 12 6'3"   190

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Serial Numbers

Bluthner Piano Serial Numbers
Year Number Year Number Year Number Year Number Year Number Year Number
1853 10 1904 65000 1924 10700 1946 128000 1966 138000 1986 147200
1862 500 1905 67500 1925 109000 1947 128100 1967 138500 1987 147500
1868 2000 1906 70000 1926 111000 1948 128200 1968 139000 1988 147750
1872 9200 1907 72500 1927 112000 1949 128500 1969 139500 1989 148000
1875 13200 1908 75000 1928 113000 1950 128800 1970 140000 1990 148150
1880 18500 1909 78000 1929 114000 1951 129000 1971 140500 1991 148300
1890 25000 1910 81000 1930 115000 1952 129400 1972 141000 1992 148500
1891 31000 1911 84000 1931 115000 1953 129800 1973 141500 1993 148750
1892 32000 1912 87000 1932 116000 1954 130400 1974 142000 1994 149000
1893 34000 1913 90000 1933 117000 1955 130800 1975 142500 1995 149250
1894 36000 1914 93000 1934 118000 1956 131400 1976 143000 1996 149500
1895 39000 1915 94000 1935 119500 1957 131800 1977 143500 1997 149750
1896 42000 1916 95000 1936 120700 1958 132400 1978 144000 1998 150025
1897 45000 1917 96000 1937 122500 1959 132800 1979 144400 1999 150300
1898 47000 1918 97000 1938 123500 1960 133400 1980 144800 2000 150575
1899 50000 1919 98000 1939 124500 1961 134000 1981 145200 2001 150850
1900 53000 1920 100000 1940 125500 1962 135000 1982 145600    
1901 58000 1921 101500 1942 126000 1963 136000 1983 146000    
1902 61000 1922 103000 1943 127000 1964 137000 1984 146400    
1903 63000 1923 105000 - - 1965 137500 1985 146800    

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History

BLÜTHNER PIANOS

Blüthner Pianos remains a family run business having been established by Julius Blüthner in a studio in Leipzig, 1853. Julius began manufacturing pianos with just three other craftsman but the success of their work meant that, by 1900, Blüthner had become the largest piano maker in Germany, producing some 5,000 instruments annually. In 1890 Blüthner built a new factory with space for1200 workers and while most competitors looked inwards, Julius Blüthner looked to export to the rest of Europe.
Blüthner has always been visually innovative, with an impressive range of Design Pianos and exquisite pianos such as the Blüthner PH Grand, but it has also been musically exploring the mechanics of tone such as with the creation of the Aliquot string, an added fourth string which vibrates sympathetically, cylindrical soundboards and angle cut hammers, creating Blüthner’s unique Gloden Tone.
  • 1876 - The company Whelpdate, Maxwell & Codd Ltd became the first UK agent for Julius Bluthner and soon after changing its name to Anglo Continental Piano Company to Bluthner & Company.
  • 1896 - The company became Purveyor to the Court of Queen Victoria with the title renewed even after the Queen's death, by Queen Alexandra. After Julius Bluthner died in 1910 the title was renewed again by the Royal Family in the year 1911 and there is an agreement continued from then committing Bluthner Leipzig to a delivery of a minimum of 700 instruments annually.
  • 1910 - Julius Bluthner died at the age of 86, in Leipzig. His sons were already managing the Bluthner factory and on their father's death, they inherited his shares in the company.
  • First world war - Shortly before the outbreak of the first work war, Julius Bluthner's sons sold their share to their English partners; a wise move as when war broke out, England immediately froze, and later confiscated, all company shares belonging to nationals of enemy states. It was decided that as the company was registered in England with English directors, no licene was required to trade, but the company could not trade with Germany. London was a cosmopolitan city that cast its spell on many famous artists. To have played in a concert there meant that one had "made it". Bluthner had many concert grands stationed there that were available for concert pianists. 
  • 1920s - After the first world war there was an initial decline in sales figures. England, like the rest of Europe, was feeling the economic after-effects of the war. It wasn't until 1920 that it once again became possible to import Blitthner instruments. At the beginning of the thirties relations once again became very close. In 1928 Blüthner had added small baby grands, 150 cm and 166 cm long, to its product range, and was making a special model for London that was relatively inexpensive and thus suitable for export. The records show that 300 instruments a year were delivered. Of course, there were also disputes. For example there are letters in which the London partners complain about surface imperfections or the finish of the cast iron frame. They add that the instruments are certainly very good value - otherwise it would have been impossible to sell them - but that they simply mustn't look cheap. The sound quality of the instruments however was always highly valued, which is why they continued to be played by a large number of international pianists.
  • 1939 - Rudolf Blüthner-Haessler paid another visit to his business partners in London retuning with an order for more than 300 instruments, obviously expecting that the political situation would improve. The joint declaration by Hitler and British Prime Minister Chamberlain on 30 September 1938 that their two nations would never again go to war with one another had fuelled hopes that the danger of war had been overcome. Blüthner instruments were still being sent all over the world via the London agents:
    • 3 July 1939 - offer submitted to the Shanghai Municipal Orchestra: concert grand 278 cm/case. lyre, lid solid/bridges, ribs and soundboard screwed/keyboard pinned/action sewn/incl. zinc shipping-case = 172 pounds.
    • 11 August 1939 - two grands shipped to the Maharaja of Bhopal, the shipping-cases were zinc-lined, as is usual in peacetime.
  • Second world war - The latest news from Germany strengthened hopes that relations between the two countries could once again become as good as they had always been on the private level; this is clearly shown by the last letter, sent from London on 26 August 1939, only a few days before the outbreak of war:
with regards to the political situation, we are glad to tell you that there seem to be slightly better feelings here to-day. The return of the British Ambassador from Berlin with a message from Herr Hitler gives the hope that the unfor-tunate difference between Germany on one side and Poland, France and England on the other, may be settled by negotiations. You can imagine how greatly we hope this will be so. Quite apart from general considerations the prospect of our relations with your good selves being again interfered with by war is positively unthinkable. Come what may, you may rest assured that nothing will interfere with our close personal relationship and the high esteem we hold your firm.

      But hopes were dashed when the war broke out on 1 September 1939, leading to the complete suspension of business relations with the        English partners. And things stayed that way until the war was over.

 
The effects of the Second World War - More than a year after the war ended, we find a document written by Mr Whelpdale, labeled "Secret"; it concerned the events of the years 1939 to 1945, and shows that the change to the firm was seen as a very serious problem.
On 2 April 1946, Arthur Whelpdale in London writes his first personal letter to Rudolf Blüthner-Haessler in Leipzig. There was still a ban on business letters. The British censors monitored the mail carefully, and the first business letter from the London agents was intercepted and returned to its sender. News also came from Leipzig, from the company's prokurists Louis Sechehaye and Alfred Gruber, who had remained in Leipzig throughout the war and its aftermath. They briefly portray the situation: "As for our own news, we must begin with a very sad announcement...
  • 1950s and 60s - In the fifties, despite all the adversities of the time, attempts were made to get business between Leipzig and London moving again. A letter dated 16 August 1950 vividly portrays the impossibility of importing and selling Blüthner pianos.
The writer of the letter, Arthur Whelpdale, had now been in business for fifty years. His nephew Jack Codd had in the meantime taken over the running of the firm, assisted by Dudley Orbell. In 1957, Rudolf Blüthner-Haessler’s son spent the first year of his apprenticeship in the Welmar factory and mutual relations thus turned full circle. Imports, too, once again became possible, although the numbers were nothing like those before the war. Relations were developing splendidly and regular meetings between Jack Codd and Dudley Orbell and Blüthner, especially during the Frankfurt Fair, reinforced the friendship between the two firms, as did the rising sales figures.
  • 1970s and 1980s - In London, in 1976 we celebrated our centenary, the one hundredth anniversary of our relations. In a memorable celebration in the Goldsmith Guild Hall our glorious past was examined; Jack Codd made a speech on our work together and I took the opportunity, in the name of all the guests, to thank the organisers for a wonderful evening. The salesrooms were in those days still in Conduit Street, but were transferred to Berkeley Square when the lease ran out in 1986.
  • 1990s - The year 1990 heralded the beginning of a difficult period for the London firm. Up until that year, not only Blüthner instruments were sold but also other inexpensive instruments from East Germany, which made up a considerable proportion of the business. But the political changes also made economic adjustments necessary, which meant that makes from the newly stirring eastern economy became much more expensive and thus lost their appeal for the British market. The London firm therefore decided to take over a small piano factory in the west of England, in which pianos of their own Welmar or Marshall & Rose makes could be produced. This was all the more advisable as the lease on the factory in Clapham was running out, which meant that production had to be relocated in any case. But the continuing decline of the English piano industry was inexorable.
  • To the present day - The imports from Asia, above all, continued to push their way onto the market, squeezing out the local makes. A small manufacturer could not compete with innovations in design and production methods required to successfully stand up to this highly efficient competition. The year 2003 brought with it the painful realization that it was impossible to continue production. The firm had to close. But this opened up new opportunities for Blüthner Leipzig. A new firm was immediately set up so as to be able to take over sales in London. On 1 August 2003 the new salesroom in Davies Street, not far from Berkeley Square, opened its doors. Thus, almost unnoticed by the public, our long-standing London agency is continuing its operations.

[Source: www.bluthner.co.uk]
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