Hupfeld Kreutzbach Phonola

S/N 43364

Patented By Hupfeld in 1902



Ludwig Hupfeld was established in 1880 in Leipzig, Germany. The company was one of the first manufacturers of the "Reproducing" pianos. Hupfeld won great acclaim for their complex "Orchestrions". These devices had multipleinstruments in one case, played by a perforated roll. After obtaining the elite status that their large instruments gave them, Hupfeld began manufacturing smaller instruments. These pianos first started out as 61 note players then eventually evolved to 85 note players.

The complexity of their "Reproducing"instruments carried over into their development of player pianos. The mechanisms in Hupfeld's players are one of the most complex of any of their contemporaries.

In 1918 Hupfeld joined forces with Ronisch Piano Company. In addition to the Phonola, they also manufactured the Phonoliszt, Violano, Triphonola, and Violano-Virtuoso.

Upon initiating work on this instrument, I contacted sources both in this country and in Europe trying to obtain schematics of this particular player action. I could not locate any. I found tracker scales for things like the Phonoliszt and DEA but nothing for the Phonola. I then contacted The Hupfeld company and was told that all of that data was destroyed after WWI. Since this instrument had been previously worked on by another person and that person had modified some of the mechanisms, the task of getting this wonderful and complex piano functioning was daunting.

We persevered and struggled with the complexity of the "Phonola" and in the end, the instrument came out just great! Because of the previous modifications, we did have to install an external vacuum source to operate this instrument. Fortunately the owner had a great chest in which to install the vacuum and its controls. The player functions very well.

The sound and the functions go to show the quality that Hupfeld once had and now has.

I am pleased to have worked on this fine instrument.

Here are some photographs showing the refurbishment of this instrument.



Case In Stripping




Stripping Bench Lid



Measuring Old Decal



Testing Old Surface Before Stripping




Lower Player Mechanism Removed



Player Mechanisms Before Removal






Player Stack Before Repair



Primary Pouches




Old "Pillow" Pouches




Making New "Pillow" Pouches




Making New Pneumatic Boards



Pouches, Valves, & Valve Seats




Assembling Lower Doors



Installing & Leveling Keys



Regulating Action


Hupfeld Name Inlay



Hupfeld Complete

Hupfeld & Vacuum Chest