In Frauenberg near Kratzau in Sudetenland (Bohemia), the farmer August Riemer was busy in his spare time repairing watches. One day he managed to get his hands on a barrel organ originating from the Black Forest and was absolutely fascinated by it. He began to build barrel organs himself. These instruments became popular and well known and soon his three sons, August, Bernhard and Joseph joined the business of manufacturing organs.
Factory Complex in Kratzau, Bohemia
The company was entered into the commercial register.
The company now employed 20 workers; the production operated with steam.
After the death of their father August, the three brothers built a factory complex in Chrastava, which was popularly known as “die Orgelburg", or loosely translated “The Organ Castle". Shortly afterwards, the brothers August and Josef withdrew from the business, leaving Bernhard to run the production alone.
"Gebrüder Riemer" Catalogue and Pricelist
Bernhard Riemer handed down the company, now called "Gebrüder Riemer" or translated “Riemer Brothers”, to his three sons, Robert, Julius and Heinrich. They expanded the business further and using the latest technology, dedicated themselves to the production of music machines and barrel organs. From this point onwards, the works were not only delivered within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but also to Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, America and Russia. From the small beginnings, the company had now become international.
The company "Gebrüder Riemer" recognized the sign of the times and instead of just making piped barrel organs with a pinned roll, they switched to producing self-playing pianos and orchestrions with perforated paper sheets. With the perforated music rolls one could play an unlimited amount of pieces on one and the same barrel organ. In addition, they also produced orchestrions with trumpets, mandolins, percussion and light effects. At the height of this development, the company received the gold medal at the Industrial Exhibition in Aussig in 1903, in addition to the registration of an own patent for orchestrions with built-in mandolins.
The company employed 70 workers. The workshops were equipped with the latest electrical machines.
"Gebrüder Riemer" Barrel Orgen Production 1908 Kratzau,
Electrical music works of all kinds were produced, the largest of which could replace an entire music band.
At this time, „Gebrüder Riemer“ were building electric pianos of such quality that, up to 1930, rhythm and articulation were hardly distinguishable from a hand-played piano. The tracks for this were recorded by a piano specially built for this purpose.
However, with the increasing popularity of radio and records, these electric pianos gradually dissappeared. From 1925 the factory produced two models of hand-played pianos in the sizes 105cm and 120cm.
06.01.1867 - 20.04.1934
Robert and Heinrich leave the company. Julius continued to run the factory with his two sons, Julius and Otto, until his death in 1934.
After the war, the brothers Otto and Julius began to rebuild the company in Bavaria, according to the old family tradition.
24.05.1905 - 21.06.1978
The company „Gebrüder Riemer“ finally gained a foothold in Ingolstadt. It was now a piano house and shop for musical instruments. In 1960 Julius retired from the company.
The company moved into its current premises in Theresienstrasse 18, Ingolstadt.
After the death of Otto Riemer in 1978, his son, Wolfgang Riemer, took over the business. He continued to run it with his wife, Helga Riemer, until the end of December 2013.
After 36 years, Wolfgang Riemer handed down the business to his son, Bernhard, who now runs the company „Gebrüder Riemer“ in the sixth generation.