Today I finalized my last page of a brochure, containing information of the International Exhibition in Amsterdam 1883. The brochure is now 67 pages in German.
And due to mentioning it on several places on the net, today I was called by telephone about the whereabouts of a full and complete Catalog of this Exhibition. So I will be able to make a copy of that.
The result of my brochure is only the Musical Instruments department of the Exhibtion. And since ist was 1883, there is almost nothing about reed organ and Harmonium.
Never the less, I went on, because it is very interesting stuff.
Below is a copy of the Introduction page in the brochure, showing my intentions with a series of brochures in forthcoming time. The introduction is in English, while the brochure itself is merely copying and compiling of existing German text. And oh my, what a dose of nationalism I had to retype :-)
This year, 2011, is a Celebration year. Three centuries of building keyboard instruments, starting with Balthasar Schiedmayer in a continuous line till this day.
Due to my love for the harmonium and its history I became interested in the history of the Schiedmayer company.
To people interested in the history of the harmonium, the German periodical “Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau“ is like the Holy Grail. Maybe the English “Musical Opinion” is close to that too, however, the never defeated Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau was, is and will be the King of historical data on keyboard musical instruments.
Founded in 1880 by Oscar Laffert, the magazine started in 1880 published by Paul de Wit. The ZfIb became the ultimate German magazine about building musical instruments. Publication ceased in 1943. At that final issue of ZfIb, about 55.160 pages were filled over a period of 63 years. During this period, Germany encountered some extremely turbulent periods. I have used the number of pages in a year to create a graphic chart, inserted in this Acrobat file.
ZfIb was successful due to the approach of the publisher. Starting the magazine in the early days of industrial building of musical instruments, De Wit decided to start his publication. Originally meant to be the internal journal of the associated builders and retailers. The editorial staff chose to insert historical data, the history of building musical instruments. Furthermore, the business of supplier of parts was featured in depth. Inventions (and the patents thereof) were presented and commented. Last but not least, the Zeitschrift proved to be a superb medium for advertising in this era of industrialization.
The publisher endured for a period of 63 years. In my graphic chart some special events are highlighted. Around 1890 the start of industrial building of suction reed organs in Germany, marked with a red arrow. From there the ZfIb becomes bigger and bigger and more influential. Almost 35 years later, the trend is broken by World War I. After this war, the 1919-1928 is the most successful period. The Annual volume growing to over 1500 pages a year. The next dip in the trend is the Great Depression of 1929. Almost instantaneous followed by the Third Reich era. Resulting in an increasing number of pages each next year. The last year 97 pages only. End of an era.
It has been said that we only have one full set of magazines available in the world. The original magazines are extremely fragile and cannot be browsed. Hence we have to study digital versions of the magazine. Now the reed organ adept can view and read all 63 Volumes. Alas, there is no searching tool available. To study the harmonium you must endure and invest a lot of time, browsing through 55.160 pages in Acrobat.
Due to the Celebration of 300 Years of Schiedmayer I came to the idea to compile a collection of clips from the Zfib. Whenever the name “Schiedmayer “is found, the article is added to the compilation. The compilation is presented to be shown on a widescreen monitor.
This compilation was made as a token of my appreciation of the Schiedmayer company and its vast history through almost 3 centuries of building musical instruments.
Frans van der Grijn (* 1954)