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#326388 - 01/18/09 06:34 PM Amazing Bluthner rarity
David-G Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1228
Loc: London
To see something really interesting and different, take a look at this ebay listing .

It's a very early Bluthner square piano. I am aware of three of these in museums in Europe, but this is the first one I have come across in private hands.

Has anyone ever seen one of these? I know squares in general have a terrible reputation; can anyone tell from the photos whether this Bluthner is likely to suffer from the same problems, or might it be in some way better designed?

If anyone has any constructive comments I would be most interested.

Here is a Google-translation of the German description of the piano:

Historical keyboard instrument
Rarity / rarity

Table piano Blüthner
original panel Piano / Fortepiano

Built in 1861

Julius Blüthner Leipzig

Over 7 octaves keyboard with ivory keys

under the serial number 488
in the framework of patent temple "FORTE-PIANO FACTORY Julius Blüthner LEIPZIG Königl. Sächs. patentirte mechanics of patent July 6, 1856"
Wooden frames, partially metal verplattet

approximately 90 x 90 x 185 cm (whole body)

Total outward good state of preservation, is currently not playable instrument (attenuation and hammers probably partly restaurierungsbedürftig), all available strings, soundboard in order ungestimmt, veneer partly damaged (without disturbing the overall impression)

The history of piano table:

The panel is an early piano version of the pianoforte, in which the horizontal and transverse strings attached, so key, and associated string roughly perpendicular lost. This design allows for a rectangular shape of the cabinet in the form of a table. The instrument can fold into a state sideboard, etc. are used, and takes much less space in a wing. The idea of this specific design, however, was not new, but was already at the Virginal (Spinet) applied.

Table pianos were in the 19th Century, very popular. Famous musicians such as Franz Schubert, Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt played and composed their works on board pianos.

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#326389 - 01/18/09 08:36 PM Re: Amazing Bluthner rarity
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Thanks for the link. If it had been one of my ancestors who built this piano, I would snap it up... despite the idiotic description.
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

#326390 - 01/18/09 08:37 PM Re: Amazing Bluthner rarity
Avantgardenabi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 496
I saw some Erard square pianos, but never Bluthner squares. \:\)

Interesting to note is that there are so many square pianos in the United States, but seemingly not so many in Europe.

I may be wrong about this statement, for I am in the U.S...

Still, I never found a good picture of Pleyel square piano while searching through the internet. \:\)

#326391 - 01/19/09 01:43 AM Re: Amazing Bluthner rarity
kenny Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 7051
I would love to own that piano.

Bluethners really touch me and to have that piece of the company's history would be so cool.

According to Bluethner's website's age table the first year is 1853 and serial number 700 was built that year.
This conflicts with the ebay ad that says it was built in 1861.
I'd think a piano from the first year would be in high demand regardless of condition or design.


#326392 - 01/19/09 03:04 AM Re: Amazing Bluthner rarity
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Actually, the original German description is perfectly in order, it is just the machine translation that somehow went wrong ...

Question is whether the number really is the serial number since it is printed on the pin block, so it might only be an internal production reference (you find that on Bösendorfer grands, for example - at least older ones - that they have an internal number from production and then a serial number).
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

#326393 - 01/19/09 06:07 PM Re: Amazing Bluthner rarity
David-G Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1228
Loc: London
Originally posted by kenny:
I would love to own that piano.

Bluethners really touch me and to have that piece of the company's history would be so cool. http://www.bluthnerpiano.com/serial.html [/b]
Kenny, go for it! It might well go quite cheaply. It would be a challenge for your newly-learnt skills, and a wonderful complement to your concert grand!

There is a similar Bluthner square in the "Collezioni di Musicologia" of the University of Pavia. Their web site says of it: "This square piano (circa 1856) is one of the first built by Julius Blüthner Leipzig. The elegant rosewood instrument has a beautiful sound and the piano is perhaps the most valuable of the collection."

(Incidentally, there are similar instruments in the "Collezione Pianosound", Rimini, and in the Westfälischen Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster.)

I am reasonably sure that the number is indeed the serial number. The front left of the pinblock seems to be a standard place to find the serial number on early Bluthner grands. Also, the serial numbers of the museum examples I mentioned are similar: 739, 453, 1099.

Pavia's dating of circa 1856 for their no. 739 tends to confirm an even earlier date for this one!


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