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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.

corilon violins

The bow makers of Markneukirchen: Knopf, Pfretzschner, Rau

Markneukirchen bow makers and the origins of violin bow making in Germany

As the art of building stringed instruments flourished in Markneukirchen, it had several effects which not only included in a greater division of labour in violin making. In addition, related businesses evolved: manufacturers began producing strings, and bow makers opened studios which rank among the oldest and most important in Germany. Despite the fact that efforts to establish a separate guild of Markneukirchen bow makers failed in 1790 due to opposition from the violin makers' guild, this nevertheless reflects that manufacturing fine bows for stringed instruments had become its own distinct tradition in Markneukirchen.

strong>KnopfOne of the first to make bows in Germany was bow maker Christian Wilhelm Knopf (1767-1837), the pater familias of a large line of bow makers. As a brilliant master and the inventor of the metal eyelet for the frog, he continued the tradition of the European pioneers of bow makers, John Dodd (1752-1839) and François Xavier Tourte (1747–1835). C. W. Knopf's descendants went on to make names for themselves far beyond the Vogtland region; here special mention should be made of Heinrich "Henry" Knopf (*1860) and J. Wilhelm Knopf (b. 1835), whose contemporaries regarded him as the country's finest bow maker.

Knopf master violin bow

Master violin bow, Knopf, 19th century

Provenance: Markneukirchen
Maker: Knopf family
Weight: 56.5 g
Year: approx. 1890
Price: 3.000,00 €

August Rau: violin bow, Markneukirchen

Silver mounted violin bow by August Rau

Inventory No.: B215
Provenance: Markneukirchen
Maker: August Rau
Weight: 60.8 g
Year: 1910 circa

Pfretzschner: Markneukirchen bow maker Hermann Richard Pfretzschner (1857–1921), son of an important Markneukirchen family of violin makers and merchants, attained international acclaim: the last major student of J. B. Vuillaume was the pioneer of French bow making standards in Germany.

Markneukirchen bow maker August Rau (b. 1866) produced outstanding violin and cello bows which can hold their own in comparisons to French masterpieces. After his apprenticeship in Markneukirchen, August Rau studied under Wilhelm Knopf and A. R. Weichold in Dresden before returning to his hometown to open his own workshop. August Rau used his excellent craftsmanship to craft pernambuco wood into both light and heavy bows.

Related articles in our information archive:

On the history of the violin bow

Ludwig Bausch: the "German Tourte"

Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers

Fine violins of Germany and other countries

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • Fine German master violin bow by Franz Winkler, silver
  • Mittenwald violin, Neuner & Hornsteiner, approx. 1910
  • Excellent French violin bow, Morizot Frères (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • German violin, Bubenreuth, probably Framus 1970's
  • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED: Old French violin with a soloist tone, atelier Georges Coné, Lyon 1928
  • Excellent French violin, Collin-Mézin (fils), 1947, "Le Victorieux", No. 120
  • French master violin No. 89, Paul Beuscher, "special cremone", 1937
  • French violin No. 73, Chenantais & Le Lyonnais, Nantes, 1933
  • Magnificent French violin, François Caussin, Neufchateau approx. 1850 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • 19th century: Antique French Mirecourt violin, Pailliot, approx. 1820
  • 3/4 - Fine French 3/4 violin, approx. 1910
  • Fine 19th century Klingenthal master violin - warm, sweet, aged tone
  • H. Emile Blondelet workshop, old French violin, 1933  (Emile Blondelet)
  • Old, handmade Mittenwald orchestral violin, 1960's
  • Silver mounted Cello bow, Swiss Finkel workshop
  • French Ary cello bow, Mirecourt approx. 1980
  • French cello bow, Ary France - superior quality
  • Fine French violin bow by Charles Nicolas Bazin (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • Fine and powerful French violin bow, Marie Louis Piernot, Paris (certificate J. F. Raffin)
  • Franco Abanelli, Italian violin - Bologna, 1997
  • Contemporary Italian master violin, Virgilio Cremonini, 2012
  • Cremonese master violin, Piergiuseppe Esposti, 1998 (certificate Piergiuseppe Esposti)
  • Historically interesting French violin, by René Bazin, Lille 1936
  • Contemporary Italian violin, Gianni Norcia, Bologna