SINCE 1885

Since 1885, it has been our passion to employ our artistic craftsmanship and knowledge to enable uncounted people to find their keys to happiness.

A look into the past shows that despite all the technical advances and the digital revolution, manufacturing an outstanding acoustic piano requires a conscious cultivation of tradition.

A love of piano making, a sense of tone colour, an understanding of motor skills, tireless creativity, craftsmanship, and steadfastness even in difficult times are essential.

1885 - Company foundation

„Qualität setzt sich durch“

The history of the Wilhelm Schimmel factory for pianos began on May 2, 1885. The first piano was built in a small workshop near Leipzig. For Wilhelm Schimmel, it was a bold undertaking. His young company took off rapidly in the following years. His instruments impress with advanced technology, excellent sound and contemporary design. The success proves him and his motto right: "Quality will prevail".

1893 - Fridolin Schimmel

Fridolin Schimmel founds his own factory in the USA

Fridolin Schimmel, younger brother of Wilhelm Schimmel, sets off for America in 1890 to stay there permanently. Like his brother, Fridolin Schimmel founded his own factory in Faribault (MN) three years later under the name Schimmel & Nelson. Until 1911, numerous pianos were produced for the American market under the Schimmel brand. Later, Fridolin Schimmel focuses more on furniture production.

1897 - First own factory

Rapid growth and first own factory

From 1885 to 1897, Wilhelm Schimmel and his company in Leipzig moved several times into new workshops in order to continuously expand production. In 1897 the time has come. Wilhelm Schimmel builds his first own factory, a spacious new building in Leipzig-Stötteritz, where the company remains its headquarter until 1928. In 1897, Wilhelm Schimmel is made an honoured citizen of the city of Leipzig for his services to piano manufacturing.

1898 - First award

First award for Schimmel piano

During an exhibition for industry and trade in Brüx ( Böhmen), Schimmel is awarded a first gold medal for its quality. Further awards will follow and are still a tradition at Schimmel today.

1899 - Royal Court Supplier

Schimmel becomes Royal Court Supplier

In 1899, fourteen years after the company was founded, Wilhelm Schimmel is allowed to deliver an instrument to the royal house of His Majesty the Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst Karl of Saxony Weimar-Eisenach. A greater honor for such a young company is hard to imagine in the surrounding of many important piano factories in Leipzig. In 1909 Wilhelm Schimmel is awarded with the title of Royal Romanian Purveyor to the Court.

1910 - Schimmel worldwide

Schimmel opens up sales markets abroad

The sons Arno and Arthur Schimmel became increasingly active in the company and supported their father. While Arno turned his attention to development and production, Arthur, a linguist, opened up further foreign markets, so that Schimmel was represented successfully worldwide by 1925.

1925 - 40th anniversary

The company is established worldwide after 40 years

On the occasion of the 40th anniversary, Wilhelm Schimmel hands over the management of the company to his sons and retires from the company two years later. The Wilhelm Schimmel Pianofortefabrik is one of the most respected manufacturers of grand and upright pianos in Germany. Wilhelm Schimmel is at the height of his time. Perfect designs and solid construction methods characterize the instruments. Advanced production methods ensure quality and competitiveness. The company is prepared well for the future. In the following years, which became politically and economically more difficult, Schimmel belongs to the small circle of renowned pianoforte factories that survived the first world war and also the years of inflation well.

1927 - New homeland Brunswick

Departure for a new homeland - Brunswick, the city of Henry the Lion

At the end of the 1920s, the economic environment deteriorated worldwide. "Black Friday" on October 24, 1927 is the beginning of a catastrophe for the entire piano industry. Unemployment on a massive scale and deflation spread. Numerous piano factories went bankrupt during the following years.

Schimmel Pianos joins a cooperation with seven other piano factories in 1929 in order to jointly use their potential and survive the difficult years. Arno Schimmel moves his upright piano production to Braunschweig, the grand piano production remains in Leipzig for the time being. He gets personally involved also in the management of the factory in Braunschweig, where several different brands are now manufactured. But already in 1932 the association of eight piano manufacturers dissolves and Arno Schimmel decides on October 15, 1932 to continue the production in Braunschweig on his own.

1932 - New beginning

New beginning in difficult times

Political developments make it difficult for Arno Schimmel to get the company in Braunschweig back on track. Despite the insecure times, 1932 Schimmel invests in setting up a new production facility in Braunschweig and also develops new models again. One outstanding development that made the company the largest German piano manufacturer over the following decades was an innovative small piano type, which was initially launched on the market under the name "Mini Royal". This was followed a short time later by the "smallest grand piano in the world". Instruments that initiated a new era in piano manufacturing.

1935 - Slim Line Concept

A new era in piano manufacturing begins

Based on the patented piano developed by Arno Schimmel, further innovations and patents followed. Increasingly small, so-called “without backposts” pianos, were developed, which were characterized by small dimensions and a powerful sound. Just in time for the 50th anniversary in May 1935, Schimmel was able to present this to the professional world.

1939 - New factory

Move to a new factory

Inspired by the new design idea, Schimmel moved into a new factory building in Braunschweig in 1939, which ideally suited the new production idea. But first the company was challenged to get through the difficult times of World War II. In October 1944, the building fell victim to a major fire as a result of a bombing attack on Braunschweig. Arno Schimmel and his employees were not discouraged by this, however, and by the end of the war in April 1945 they had provisionally restored the factory building, which unconsciously proved to be the basis for a rapid new start after the end of the war.

1945 - Economic Miracle

Turbulent Years & German Economic Miracle

After World War II, the Wilhelm Schimmel Pianofortefabrik primarily manufactures wood products, which were most urgently needed after the war. Piano production initially took a back seat, and only a few pianos are manufactured in the first few years.

The currency reform laid the foundation for the German economic miracle. From the beginning of the 1950s, the construction of pianos is again the top priority for Arno W. Schimmel. Sales, also internationally, are intensified, the company exhibits at trade fairs again and establishes new contacts. The basis for rapid growth is established.

1951 - Glass grand piano

Wilhelm Schimmel invents the glass grand piano

At the first German music fair in Düsseldorf in the fall of 1951, Arno Wilhelm Schimmel wants to present something very special and invents the world's first glass grand piano for this occasion. An acoustic grand piano in which the cabinet parts are made of acrylic glass, a new material at the time. The instrument is very well received and from then on becomes one of the trademarks of the company.

1952 - Slim Line Concept

The success story of the small piano

In 1952, Arno Wilhelm Schimmel introduced a special type of small piano to the market - the Capriccio model, the smallest Schimmel piano, which is based on the in the 1930th already patented design. Two years later, he combines this piano type with the Scandinavian design, which is very popular at the time. This new “Model 97 M” contributes to the sales success of the next decades, Schimmel becomes the largest piano manufacturer in the Federal Republic of Germany in the mid-1950s.

1958 - Albert Schweitzer

The Albert Schweitzer piano

In 1958, a piano is built especially for Albert Schweitzer, which has to withstand the difficult climatic conditions in his hospital in Lambarene (Gabun - West Africa). For this reason, numerous inventions are necessary to make the piano suitable for the tropics. The instrument leaves Braunschweig for Lambarene at the end of March 1958. In late summer of that year, the instrument reaches its destination. Albert Schweitzer enthusiastically writes a letter of thanks to Schimmel.

1967 - New factory

Modern production in a new factory

In the mid-1960s, the decision was made to build a new factory in which a modern, light-flooded production facility was constructed. Over a period of 15 years, this project is gradually realized by Nikolaus Wilhelm Schimmel, the third generation of the family.

1983 - Udo Jürgens

Udo Jürgens becomes a fan of Schimmel

A presentation of his new song release "Traumtänzer" leads to a first contact between Udo Jürgens, the superstar among German-speaking singers, and Nikolaus Wilhelm Schimmel. A glass grand piano is flown by helicopter to a glacier especially for the presentation. The instrument immediately inspired Udo Jürgens and from then on became his loyal companion.

1985 - CAPE

Schimmel reinvents itself

In the mid-1980s, almost exactly on the company's 100th anniversary, Nikolaus Wilhelm Schimmel senses that the piano industry is experiencing a significant change. Increasingly, "cheap pianos" from Asia are entering the world markets. Nikolaus Wilhelm Schimmel senses that there is more to offer than the strategy of the "excellent value for money piano". Modern production methods, new knowledge in materials research and also computer-aided development and production open up new possibilities in piano manufacturing. The company wants to use these in an innovative way. The company is developing its own software program, CAPE, which supports the engineering and design of new instruments. The company also invests heavily in research and development. First, existing designs are improved and further developed.

1995 - Luigi Colani

Design Liaison with Luigi Colani

During a visit by Luigi Colani to the Schimmel Manufaktur in Braunschweig, the idea of a collaboration is born. With a few brushstrokes, a first design is created that incorporates the pianist into the instruments, thus creating a closed energy circuit. Based on this, a futuristic design is created. Flowing, round and harmoniously merging forms. No right angle, no flat surface, instead pure elegance. A wing like a timelessly beautiful sculpture. The grand piano becomes, next to the Schimmel glass grand piano, another design icon in the piano world.

2000 - Konzert Concept

Entering a new millennium with a new strategy

After intensive research and development over a period of 15 years, it becomes clear towards the end of the 1990s that the findings and possibilities are so diverse that they want to create a new generation of instruments that also offer something new in the piano world. The idea of the "Konzert Concept" is born. The essence of the concept involves transferring all the ideal sound and playing characteristics (touch) of a large concert grand piano, where possible, uncompromisingly and identically to the smaller grand pianos and also uprights in terms of design, materials and manufacture process and methods. This is new in that manufacturers traditionally develop individual designs for each instrument size, based on numerous compromises. In addition to the existing models, the new "Schimmel Konzert" series of instruments is being created over a 12-year period. It includes 6 grand and 3 upright pianos. The novel concept was patented, and the models were received with great attention in the market. The existing constructions were continuously developed further and various findings from the concert series were also incorporated. Since then, these models have been marketed under the "Schimmel Classic" series, next to the “Konzert Series”.

2003 - Kalisz | Poland

Quality right from the start: A new production facility in Kalisz | Poland

Even though Schimmel in Braunschweig had realigned itself to the premium market with the Konzert and Classic series, the company still wants to offer to their "traditional Schimmel customers" quality instruments at affordable prices (good value for money). For this purpose, a separate manufacturing plant was established in the piano capital Kalisz in Poland. In addition to the Calisia piano factory and the Polish central school for piano technicians in Poland, there were also numerous restoration businesses for grand and upright pianos in the city of Kalisz. An ideal environment for the foundation of a new factory. Schimmel Pianos takes over a small restoration business, from which a respectable piano factory is being developed over a period of nine years. With a high degree of vertical integration and a small proportion of part and material supply from the factory in Braunschweig, grand and upright pianos are produced there under the instrument series "Wilhelm Schimmel". The instruments are based on older Schimmel designs and can be produced at somewhat lower manufacturing costs. A real alternative to many cheap Asian products. Quality from the beginning | Made in Europe | by Schimmel.

2010 - 125th anniversary

125th anniversary in a difficult year

The financial crisis at the end of 2008 hits Schimmel unexpectedly. Overnight, the American market, which at that time accounted for over 30% of the company's sales, collapsed. The company could not react that quickly with an increase in other sales markets to compensate for this. Schimmel got into economic difficulties, but was able to bring itself back into the market unchanged within 12 months through a planned insolvency procedure. Thanks to an unparalleled effort by the entire workforce and the worldwide dealer network, the company was able to emerge from the bailout on time for its 125th anniversary in May 2010 and stand on its own two feet again economically.

2016 - Strategic alliance

Financial strategic alliance with the world's largest piano manufacturer

One lesson learned from the financial crisis was to create less dependence on individual markets. Although the American market increasingly recovers for the company, the target is to spread economical risk by adding new sales markets. Sales activities in Asia are intensified and expanded, particularly in China, the largest piano market in the world. To this end, Schimmel Pianos enters into a strategic alliance with Pearl River, the largest piano manufacturer in the world. Pearl River is well positioned in China and successfully networked in the piano world. However, they do not have a premium product in their portfolio. The two companies complement each other in an ideal way. Schimmel Pianos founds its own sales company in China and was quickly able to successfully expand its sales network with the support of Pearl River. The strategy became quick successful. Today, Schimmel is well represented in all major piano playing regions of the world.

2018 - Fridolin Series

Fridolin Schimmel, young blood in the instrument portfolio

Until now, Schimmel Pianos was not represented in the entry-level segment with piano models. But in view of the piano market in China and a strategic partner like Pearl River, such considerations make sense for the first time. Such a project can only be realized with a production in Asia and requires the first-class knowledge of a large-scale production. This is new territory for Schimmel, as they only manufacture quality products in their factories in Germany and Poland. On the other hand, Schimmel Pianos has excellent know-how in design and from the decades of small piano production is also experienced with platform strategies, which can be used for this enterprise. The idea quickly matures into a concrete production. Older Schimmel designs are modified in such a way that they can be easily manufactured in large-scale production. The result is upright and grand pianos with European sound and touch at very affordable prices. These instruments are successfully introduced to the market under the series "Fridolin Schimmel" and complete the instrument portfolio of Schimmel Pianos. A product family with instruments for the most diverse customer groups at affordable prices. Always following the motto of the company founder: "Quality will prevail".

2020 - The mass reduced bridge

The mass reduced bridge - a new patent from Schimmel

Over the years, Schimmel has experimented again and again with the design of piano bridges. The part that transmits the string vibrations into the soundboard. By cutting a dynamic groove into the sides of the bridge, Schimmel achieves that the bridge becomes lighter and more flexible without reducing its stability. This allows the soundboard to vibrate more freely and produce even better timbres. This development received a patent and is used in all Schimmel instruments.

2023 - The pre-tensioned keybed

The pre-tensioned keybed for upright pianos - another Schimmel patent

The latest development at Schimmel Pianos integrates the upright keybed, the element on which the keyboard rests, into the sound generation by means of a tensioned keybed and an especially strong connection with the strungback to ensures an increase the sound colors and the possibility of interaction between instrument and pianist instrument. In addition, the development increases the climate resistance of the entire action even under difficult climatic conditions. A development so convincing that Schimmel Pianos also received a patent for it.

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