Klingenthaler violin makers: Dörffel, Glass, Meisel and other important families of violin makers
The tradition of the large Hopf family has become synonymous with the art of violin making in Klingenthal, but from the very beginning the town's history was also honoured and carried forward by other significant dynasties of violin makers as well. This page briefly presents three other families, while other points of reference can be found in the PDF file of our overview (which is certainly not complete) of Klingenthal violin makers (approx. 140 KB).
The Dörffel family was among the Bohemian immigrants who established Klingenthal violin making. Whereas Caspar Hopf was assumed to be the first violin making master in his family, at least two other Dörffel relatives – Johann Georg (the first) and Michael – pursued their art in Graslitz (Kraslice, Czech Republic). Johann Andreas Dörffel, who was active in the first half of the 18th century, is ranked among the finest violin makers in Klingenthal. His instruments can be found in numerous collections.
Documents confirm that the Glass family of violin makers lived in Klingenthal from the 18th century onward. Their instruments earned a solid reputation which at times even approached the ranks of the legendary Hopf violins. Many members of the family worked outside Klingenthal and became ambassadors of the art of Vogtland violin making, on an international level as well. In the late 18th century, Christian Friedrich Glass began making bows in Klingenthal.
In some regards, the Meisels, the great family of instrument makers, represented the process of Klingenthal violin making opening to new influences. Starting in the late 18th century, important members of the family broke with the distinctively Vogtland-based Hopf tradition and began to imitate Italian models. These craftsmen included Amand Meisel (1828-1893), who became an internationally renowned master and settled in Silesia in the mid-19th century. Johann Christian Friedrich Meisel (d. 1803) first produced strings in Klingenthal.