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Violin bow by Pfretzschner c.1860


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Violin Bow by Pfretzschner, possibly Carl Richard c.1860

Hermann Richard Pfretzschner, son of the bow and string maker Carl Richard Pfretzschner, established 1880 the company H. R. PFRETZSCHNER in Markneukirchen, the bohemian-saxonian “Musikwinkel”, where the craft of bowmaking in Germany has its origin.

Hermann Richard learned the craft of bowmaking from his father Carl Richard in Markneukirchen. After the finish of his apprenticeship he decided to study the craft of bowmaking in Paris, where the bowmaking was very high developed at that time. He became 1873 the last pupil of the famous violin- and bowmaker Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875) in Paris. Vuillaume worked after the tradition of the great french master Franz X. Tourte (1747-1835) who gave bows the todays form and used at first time pernambuco wood.

This short time of learning should give Hermann Richard new ways of influence for his following life and should influence the whole german bowmaking.

Hermann Richard founded his own company in Markneukirchen 1880, which he had been leading very successfully. He received in 1901 the famous title “Königlich Sächsischer Hoflieferant” (purveyor to the court of Saxony). From now on he was allowed to stamp the “king’s coat of arms” on the frogs of his bows. 1911 he also received the title “Großherzoglich Sächsischer Hoflieferant” from the “Großherzog of Sachsen Weimar”.

He probably had been the only master of bowmaking ever, who received those kind of titles.

The bows from his early working period (before 1900) usually show the influence of the models from F. N. Voirin.

After this time, he made bows following a number of French and English models without, however, losing his own style.

A number of his many bow models were named after famous musicians of this time and he was particular fond of his so-called Wilhelmj-model. The completition of the violinbow found Hermann Richard Pfretzschner in cooperation with the famous violinplayer Prof. August Wilhelmj (1845-1908). Together they developed the Wilhelmj-model after their meeting in 1903.

Later on, Hermann Richard patented this model name.

In the year 1914 he turned over his firm to his two sons Hermann and Berthold Pfretzschner; both learned the craft of bowmaking from their father.

In the workshop at that time, there were made a remarkable amount of bows of different quality and price categories. Additionally from the beginning on there were made a lot of bassbows after different models, which have still been requested a lot until today.

After the death of his uncle Hermann, Horst Pfretzschner, who learned the craft of bowmaking from his father Berthold, took over 1958 the company.

After the more and more difficult development for independent craftmen in the former eastern part of Germany DDR, Horst was forced to put his company in the PGH Sinfonia, which was a organisation led by the state.

This organisation turned over in 1972 to the VEB Sinfonia, a so called “Volkseigener Betrieb” (company controlled and lead by the government), which joined together 1985 to the VEB Musima.

The brothers Heinz and Richard learned then from their father Horst and grandfather Berthold in the family workshop in Markneukirchen the craft of bowmaking.

The bows of the workshop have always been stamped from generation to generation with the traditional familystamp “H. R. PFRETZSCHNER” and the Saxonian king’s coat of arms in the frog.

The octagonal stick of a dark orange-brown colour, silver mounted ebony frog inlaid with Parisian eye, three part silver adjuster inlaid with pearl eye.



  • Weight 61 grams

Additional information

Weight 0.28 kg
Dimensions 79 × 4.5 × 4.5 cm


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