The craft had flourished, and during the late 19th and the early 20th century there were nearly 20 independent piano companies. The most notable of these manufacturers was Ernst Hiis-Ihse, whose handmade piano from 1893 became the prototype of the Estonia piano. After the WW II, Mr. Hiis was invited to establish a larger facility, known today as the Estonia Piano Factory.
They became prominent on concert stages throughout the East, and over 7 400 Concert Grand instruments have been made. Many great pianists, such as Sviatoslav Richter, Dmitry Shostakovitch, Emil Gilels and Claudio Arrau, among others, performed on these pianos. After Mr. Hiis’ death in 1964, however, the quality of the pianos gradually declined in part due to the scarcity of high quality parts and materials during the communist regime, and changes that were made to the production methods.
When the country regained its independence in 1991, the factory’s employees struggled to keep production going, and few years later bought the factory. Through the end of 1990’s, dr. Indrek Laul, an Estonian pianist, gradually purchased company stock and became its majority owner. With a team of managers he initiated the rise of the company. The instruments were redesigned through collaborating with foremost piano experts, aiming to create an instrument of the highest level.
— Kirk Burgett, President, RPT
The story of Mason & Hamlin began in 1854 when two brilliant idealists sought to accomplish one goal: to make the world’s finest musical instrument. A mechanic and a pianist, Emmons Hamlin and Henry Mason committed to create an uncompromising instrument using only the finest materials and innovative techniques. Due to their dedication to quality, it was not long before Mason & Hamlin established a worldwide reputation for excellence that has lasted generations.
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