Here you can learn interesting facts about the history of piano manufacturing in Eisenberg (Thuringia)
Adolph Geyer – founder and at the same time father of the Eisenberg piano industry was born on 23.11.1846 as the third son of the piano leather manufacturer Eduard Geyer in Eisenberg. He attended school at the former Zenker Institute in Jena. From here, Adolph Geyer was apprenticed to the piano factory of Hoellering & Spangenberg in Zeitz, which was already flourishing at the time, and later expanded his knowledge in several larger German piano factories.
However, in order to achieve greater things and expand his knowledge, Adolf Geyer decided to emigrate to America. He had the opportunity to further his education in piano building in Canada and New York, as well as to gain rich experience. Here he was able to further perfect his knowledge as a constructor and engineer in the field of piano making.
Rich in experience, he returned to his hometown Eisenberg in 1877 and founded his piano factory here on 02.12.1877.
Robert Weissbrod was born on March 16, 1860 in Gerhardtsgereuth in the Schleusingen district. Like his siblings, he had to work in his parents’ small farm, which he did not really enjoy. His thoughts always went in a different direction: His interest was in wood and its treatment and processing. Very soon after his confirmation, he went to Apolda to apprentice with his uncle, who ran a building and furniture carpentry shop.
Later he was placed in Jena in the pianoforte factory of C. Weiding, here he inclined his whole interest to piano building. From Jena, the young Weissbrod went to Leipzig, where he succeeded in finding employment in the large piano factories as a valued assembler.
His ambition to do a good job led Weissbrod to Eisenberg. With the founder of the piano industry there, Adolph Geyer, he soon became a ready piano expert, familiar with the smallest external and internal particles, with the body and soul of the piano.
Robert Weissbrod was animated by the urge for independence. Carried by a rich practical experience and trusting in restless work, Robert Weissbrod, in connection with an employee of the then Geyers factory Mr. August Pape, began on 01.08.1884 with the independent construction of pianos.
The grand piano and piano factory ,,Fuchs & Möhr“ was founded on 01.01.1921 in Eisenberg (Thuringia). The founders and partners of this company are: Gustav Robert Hermann Fuchs, born 11.02.1871 (foreman in Friedrichstanneck) and Ernst Karl Walter Möhr, born 19.09.1897 (merchant in Eisenberg).
According to the entry in the commercial register A2/ S 121 No. 218, the company is run as a general partnership from 01.01.1921. The instruments, built according to the latest system, were characterized by their “extraordinary richness of sound” as well as the “particularly light and pleasant way of playing“. They were truly handcrafted products – the manufactured upright and grand pianos.
Already in 1925, Fuchs & Möhr pianos were awarded the “Golden State Medal” due to their excellent quality and favorable price. The number of buyers increased from year to year. According to the address book of 1928, the company Fuchs & Möhr was located at Jenaische Strafe 2a. At that time, the company employed about 20 people, of whom it is fair to say that they belonged to a tribe of long-time experienced professionals. The last pianos manufactured for Sweden were sunk in the Baltic Sea during the crossing in 1940.
As in other companies, Fuchs & Möhr had sales problems with pianos during the time of the 2nd World War. In the short term the production was changed and they shifted to the manufacture of soles for wooden slippers.
On 15.01.1952 the co-founder of the company, Mr. Gustav Robert Hermann Fuchs, passed away at the blessed age of 81.
His son, Hermann Fuchs, a master piano maker, took his place in the company.
The managing partner remains Walter Möhr (It. Commercial Register A / 35 164 No. 379).
After 1945, the Adolph Geyer Strasse and Bahnhofsstrasse were used for the production of pianos and precious woods for the civilian sector under the name “Adolph Geyer Nachf. GmbH”. In the former piano factory, two-door closets for the resettlers, as well as radio cabinets and pianos were manufactured on a larger scale as a reparation service.
The tradition-bound piano building was thus continued. In 1947, the first 50 pianos of the “Geyer” brand were manufactured. The annual target for reparations in piano construction for 1948 had already been met by July. By order
of the SMAD, the company was transferred to national ownership in 1948 and renamed “VEB Pianofabrik Eisenberg”. The increasing demand for pianos made it necessary to move to the vacated production halls (formerly Robert Weissbrod)
in Mozartstraße. A large-scale production of pianos was established and state-subsidized. The piano maker training center also found its home in Eisenberg and was attached to the company. Thus a practical training could take
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a new era also began for the piano industry in Eisenberg. Whereas in GDR times, the aim was to manufacture instruments for the broad mass of the population, now other criteria are decisive.
On 01.01.1993 Mr. Helmut Altmeyer acquires the “Eisenberger Pianofortefabrik” from the Treuhand and leads the company with a completely new set up and new designed product line into the market. This includes the new name “Wilh- Steinberg AG”.
Since then, Wilh. Steinberg has continued the traditions that originated in the pianoforte factory founded by Adolph Geyer in 1877. But also representative for a number of companies like Weissbrod, Fuchs & Möhr, Finger and many others, which already gained world-wide reputation in their time and made Eisenberg known as a city of piano building far beyond its borders.