The Phonola

The Phonola Piano Player - Ludwig Hupfeld A.G., Leipzig, August 1902 onwards.

Invention and Public Launch of the Phonola
The trade fairs held at Leipzig in Germany have heralded many technical and artistic innovations throughout the commercial world, so it is hardly surprising that German manufacturers of player pianos should have regarded the Leipziger Messe as an ideal opportunity to bring their latest inventions before the public. Ludwig Hupfeld's Phonola demonstrated its first music rolls at the Leipzig Autumn Fair of 1902, and was reported in the trade press in late August of that year.

The Hupfeld Factory in Ludwig-Hupfeld-Strasse, Leipzig, Germany.

An initial Phonola factory close by the Berliner Bahnhof (Berlin Station) was soon outgrown, and substantial new premises were erected at Böhlitz-Ehrenberg, a few miles west of the city, the firm moving there in June 1911. As can be seen, the words Hupfeld and Phonola were a feature of the impressive factory tower, and these were illuminated during the hours of darkness, providing an advertising beacon to the travellers on the nearby Thüringen railway line. Unusually, the Hupfeld factory premises still exist, having been used until the 1990s for the construction of normal pianos, mostly during the time of the German Democratic Republic.

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