A Little Workshop In Göttingen
For a company known to be one of the first manufacturers of pianos in Göttingen, Germany, there is a dearth of public records regarding its lineage. What is notable must be culled from accounts in old German history annals, scraps of counterfactual entries in books on piano makers, and the like—which points to a rich, as yet undiscovered narrative. What we can gather, like most piano origins, is quite fascinating.
Toward the late 18th century (before the addition of pianos), the production of lutes, guitars and harps began in the workshop of Andreas Georg Ritmüller and his son, Gotlieb Wilhelm Ritmüller (1770/72-1828/29), and established a firm reputation for exemplary instrument making. A shift toward the building of pianos began in 1895 (which marks the official birthdate of the company), and the name G. W. Ritmüller became the official signet some time after the father’s death (c. 1800).
A marriage between Gottlieb Wilhelm Ritmüller and Dorothea Schenterlein produced two children, Johann Wilhelm (b. 1802) & Johann Martin (b. 1803), who would eventually succeed their father; and upon Wilhelm senior’s death (c1828/1829), the company became W. Ritmüller & Sons.
After much success, the company bought Hard Hof, an estate on Ritterplan, that became a center for cultural life in Göttingen, in which artists and musicians gathered to make music and engage in lively discussions.
Schröder From Magdeburg
In 1860, the eldest son left the company to his brother, Johann Martin, reverting the company name to W. Ritmüller & Son. By 1891, after nearly a century of recognition and production, the company became insolvent and had to be bought out by Bernhard Schröder from Magdeburg, reverting once again the name to W. Ritmüller & Sons.
During 1884 and 1885, the company’s grand pianos and uprights received twelve medals and diplomas in Germany and London.
Re-Engineered For The 21st Century
Since 2007, under the leadership of Pearl River, Ritmüller stands poised to restore its lost connection to the past by committing itself to a standard of excellence that offers German precision craftsmanship and the latest technology in manufacturing.
After more than 30 years providing professional consultation to 20 major piano brands, master piano designer (and piano teacher), Lothar Thomma, has created a collection of Italian style upright and grand pianos that "characterize the warm, rich tone" of the Euro Sound, while also maintaining affordability. With the incorporation of "Roslau strings, Louis Renner premium hammers from Germany, ebony wood sharps, and solid, music grade spruce for its soundboards," the new Ritmüller Premium combines the best of "old world tradition and state-of-the-art computerized manufacturing."
In February, 2015, Pearl River announced a joint venture with Steingraeber & Söhne to increase the cooperation between Germany and Beijing, continuing their dedication to improved standards in the Ritmüller brand.
Soundboards – Comprised of aged, music grade spruce, "cured and matched for color and grain."
Hammers – Imported Louis Renner premium hammers from Germany.
Piano Action – All-wood, European Hornbeam construction and no composite parts, with "buckskin, premier French damper felt, and English woven felts."
Sand Cast Plates – Heavier than plates utilizing vacuum processing, making them "almost acoustically dead," the curing involves a more intensive finishing that involves a "natural cooling/aging process," thus eliminating unwanted overtones.
Keys & Key Bed – With keys made of "select, straight-grained spruce," a bed built of "Euro-designed butcher-block construction (with no plastic or Styrofoam components)," and sharps from ebony wood, the resulting strength and stability provide extraordinary touch and response.
Roslau Music Wire – The finest premium quality music wire in an appropriate guage for lower-tension scales, with base strings made of solid copper, hand-wound.