PETROF: Europe’s largest maker of acoustic pianos

Photo: Michal Kobrle, PETROF

Czech piano manufacturer PETROF is unquestionably one of Czechia’s best known brands. The company, based in the town of Hradec Králové, produced its first piano already in 1864. Today PETROF is the largest manufacturer of acoustic pianos in Europe and their instruments are played by musicians all over the world, among them Billie Eilish or Paul McCartney.

The company was founded in 1864 in Hradec Králové by Antonín Petrof, who trained as a cabinet maker in his father’s workshop. The fact that he turned into a piano maker was most likely due to chance.

A local choir master is said to have asked his father to repair his old furniture. He sent his son to inspect the job but his attention was immediately drawn to the choirmaster’s piano.

Ivana Petrofová is a great-great-granddaughter of Antonín Petrof and head of the Petrof Museum in Hradec Králové, located in the former factory in close proximity to the Cathedral of the Holy Ghost:

“Antonín followed his uncle to Vienna to learn how to make pianos. After five years he became a certified piano builder. He then took a job at two renowned Austrian companies, Schweighoffer and Egrbar, to further his knowledge and learn more about company management.”

At the age of 25, Antonín Petrof returned to his hometown and converted his father’s joinery workshop into a piano manufacture. In 1864, he built his very first grand piano, equipped with the so-called Viennese mechanics. A year later, Antonín Petrof was granted a trade licence and officially established his piano-making business. He secured his financial situation by marrying Maria Götzová, the daughter of a wealthy Hradec Králové tanner. She stood by his side and supported him not only in family life, but also in the company as a skilled proxy and her husband’s representative.

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Author: Ruth Fraňková