The sound of tradition
170 years of making pianos at Seiler
1849 – 1895
The founding father
In 1849, Eduard Seiler founds the “Pianoforte-Fabrik” at Liegnitz (Legnica). His vision: he wants to provide pianos and grands as well for professional use as for middle classes to allow them to explore the world of music. The first Seiler piano is already characterized by the unique, transparent Seiler sound. A lot of work is put in the construction and assembly of the first instruments, handmade from best materials in small workshops. The aim is clear: to reach perfection.
The efforts lead to success – In 1872, for example, Seiler receives a gold medal at Moscow for the outstanding quality. Thus, the workshops soon become too small. The Pianoforte-Fabrik therefore moves to Steinmarkt no. 3 in 1860 and opens showrooms in Goldbergerstraße. The two sons, Paul and Max are more and more supporting their father. After some years with troubles such as the wars of 1864, 1866 and 1870/71, a new business increase follows that makes Eduard Seiler have a new steam-powered factory built in 1873, where more than
100 workers start producing in spring of 1874. Eduard Seiler dies soon afterwards in autumn of 1875.
The first successors
The company is run by the sons Paul and Max for the next four years, before both die young in 1879.
In the meantime, the younger brother Johannes Seiler has finished his apprenticeship in the craft of piano making. He does not only gather experiences in his father’s factory, but also works in other well-known factories during some years of travelling through Europe. Therefore, Johannes Seiler becomes technical director in1879, his brothers-in-law August Lauterbach and Oswald Kasig joining
the company as sales managers.
Due to these three managers, Seiler piano company becomes one of Germany’s and the World’s foremost piano makers. Prizes and awards from Vienna, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Chicago, Berlin and Milan form the basis of Seiler’s worldwide renown. In 1882, own action and keyboard production starts.
The wood yards have the extent of whole quarters.
1896 – 1944
1896 and 1907, big new factory buildings are built;
so that now 350 workers are employed. More than 40 of them have been working for Seiler for more than 25 years, which helps to assure consistent quality of the instruments. The annual production at that time is about 2.000 grands and pianinos (Italian for “small piano”, which then was the usual term for what we today call “upright piano”).
After Johannes Seiler’s death in 1907, his nephew Robert Lauterbach becomes head of the company, Ludwig Lauterbach becoming Sales Director.
Seiler becomes an international company
Since 1893, Seiler runs a big dependency at Berlin that is managed by Dr. Richard Stern. In 1907, a
dependency opens at Breslau (Wroclaw) that is run by a long-term employee and general manager, Willy Heinze. The London dependency is run by the gentlemen Barnes and Mullins who distribute Seiler pianos in England and its colonies, as Seiler instruments are extremely stable under tropic climate conditions. Seiler pianos and grands are state of the art: their nice sound and the easy touch are unsurpassed. At the best educational institutions, such as the Royal Conservatory at Berlin and other leading universities, conservatories in Germany and abroad, Seiler pianinos and grands are in use.
In 1923 Anton Seiler-Dütz, the son-in-law of Johannes Seiler, becomes head of the company and continues its successful development – 430 employees make the company “Eastern Germany’s largest piano manufacturer”. World-famous artists and pianists like Enrico Caruso, Arthur Nikisch and Ruggero Leoncavallo are using Seiler instruments during their career. Seilers can also be found at the Bayreuth festival and in concert halls all over the world.
1945 – 2007
At the end of the World War II, Seiler loses its production facilities and the headquarters in Liegnitz (Legnica). Luckily, the knowledge gained by 100 years of piano construction is not lost. Steffen Seiler, the son of Anton Seiler-Dütz, decides to dare a new start. In the dead of night and at the risk of his own life he secures the iron cast and scale designs. He then starts production of pianos based on Liegnitz models anew, first in Denmark, then, from 1961 onward, in the Bavarian town of Kitzingen. With his pioneer spirit and creativity, Steffen Seiler systematically develops the characteristic Seiler sound. His use of the Super Magnet Repetition (SMR) is trend-setting, his development of the DuoVox system – an acoustic silencer and digital connection of the piano – is revolutionary and builds the musical bridge into the 21st century.
In 1998 Steffen Seiler dies unexpectedly and his wife Ursula takes over the management. But the German piano-making business is in transition. The European markets are saturated and many well-known piano manufacturers do not manage to reposition themselves in time.
“It is our yearning for the soul, for that special sound, which motivates us to continue developing and improving our grand and upright pianos with the sum total of our experience, with an unbroken pioneering spirit, with an immensity of passion and with a desire for perfection right down to the last detail.”
Steffen Seiler (1923 – 1998)
2008 – today
Consistency and change
In 2008, the Korean Group Samick, until today one of the largest manufacturers of musical instruments worldwide, becomes Seiler’s new owner. All Samick and Seiler instruments get a fresh branding. In addition, the German-Asian piano makers invest in a continuous quality improvement. Samick talks about reasonable synergies, but emphasizes that the instruments will always be manufactured separately. Samick continues to produce in Indonesia, while Seiler continues to stand for best quality "Made in Germany".
Seiler has arrived in the here and now. Our grand and upright pianos are now exported to over 30 countries on every continent. The success of the company is still based on tradition-conscious production and quality control in Kitzingen, Bavaria. The musical interior of the Seiler instruments is framed with cabinets that absorb and influence the taste of the time. The great expertise in processing has made Seiler a trendsetter in the market worldwide. Our instruments are among the finest in today’s piano business and the transparent Seiler sound is and will remain unmistakable.