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Jacob Weimes  in Prag  1803 
(same as a 1790 Viennese grand)


5 octaves - FF-g'''

3 Kneelevers : Dampers lift - Moderator - Bassoon



Outside Vienna specially in Germany where the tradition of its

great master J.A. Stein was still in fashion, pianos were made

around 1800 more old fashioned than Viennese pianos made in Vienna , in other

words they adopted the new changes in compass, seize of body,

hammers etc. several years later. So this 1803 dated 5 octave piano

is similar in its structure, details and sound to a piano

made in Vienna around 1790! 

The body looks like a Stein, Hammers are mixture of Stein and

Walter in shape, check are in Schanz' style and the sound of  course a Mixtur of

Stein's transparency but also some more

power through the influence of Walter.


So this 5 octave piano is not at all a more developed and different piano

than Mozart period pianos. The seize of the piano, weight of hammers, 

layers of hammerhead leathers, the overal weight of the piano etc. are 

the same as a 1785-95 piano in Vienna.


Vienna was the center of Viennese type fortepiano which were developing

fast in seize and compass. The other German cities were following the tradition

and new designs but with a much slower tempo. So this 1808 fortepiano which

has got 5 and half octaves is similar to an up to date Viennese fortepiano of

ca.1795-1800 in Vienna! Another example of Weimes from 1803 with 5 octaves

and from Schiedmeyer in Nürnberg also from the same date and with 5 octaves

and many other similar examples show that they still were making music a bit

more old fashioned and Viennese looked more forward to newer inventions or

developments and additions to the Viennese fortepiano!


Weimes fortepianos were very popular in Prag.

The writes ''Die rege Nachfrage nach

preisgünstigen Klavieren führte auch außerhalb Wiens

zur Gründung von Werkstätten, von denen mehrere eine

über den lokalen Wirkungskreis hinausgehende Bekanntheit

erlangten. In Prag waren die Instrumente von Jakob Weimes

(1767–1830) sehr gesucht.'' 



We should remember that Prague and Vienna were two of the most important

central European cities. Mozart composed several important works in or for

Prague taste (Don Giovanni and Prague symphony) and it was a German city

not a part of Czech yet!

In Germany fortepianos were made almost only after Stein's model, up to

ca.1800 and thereafter Walter type became more popular because of its

cantabile singing quality, power of sound and robust structure in comparison

to very light, transparent sound of Stein-style fortepianos which were followed

by his family Nannette and Andre Stein.



Weimes was born in Duisburg (Germany) in 1767 and used to make

fortepianos as a Bürger in Prague from 1798. He was first in 

the committee of fortepiano and organ makers (they gave 

license to those who wanted to work officially as fortepiano makers) 

and then he became the chairman of this committee.







Here another text from the free library ''Manufacture of pianos in the Czech Republic: yesterday and today'' :


The production of pianos, upright and grand, has a relatively long tradition in the Czech Lands. Together let us look back to the 18th century and the origins and development of a field that is today a significant part of the Czech music industry. Let us compare the joys and woes of piano makers of the past with those of present-day manufacturers, and briefly consider at least some of the difficulties faced by current Czech producers especially as a result of the uncontrollable boom in Asian competition which abides by absolutely none of the traditional trading and manufacturing rules. 


Pianos were made in Bohemia and Moravia from as early as the end of the 18th century and the number of manufactories and small workshops producing and repairing pianos gradually increased to the order of hundreds. The first grand piano builders at the end of the 18th century included for example Jan Zelinka from 1796 in Prague or Jacob Weimes from 1798, while in Brno the important Buchta family business was established from 1770 and the Ignatz Spitzka firm in 1785. Czech instrument makers were also strongly represented in Vienna. 


The nineteenth century, especially the latter half, brought a real "boom" in the foundation of new firms producing grand and upright pianos. Many small workshops were opened which gradually expanded production and by the end of the 19th century there was a settled stratification of producers by size. There were small workshops composed of just the owners and a few assistants, who apart from making instruments mainly provided service--tuning and repairs; then there were medium-sized entrepreneurs operating on the basis of a license for the production and repair of grand and upright pianos and finally quite large producers, whose factories were nationalised by the communists in 1948 and placed under the single state concern Tovarny na piana [Piano Factories], later Ceskoslovenske hudebni nastroje [Czechoslovak Musical Instruments].

Fortepiano Hammerflügel
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