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Ernst Kaps Pianos

 

Ernst Kaps Piano Fabrik

Ernst Kaps Piano Fabrik AG a piano manufacturer founded in 1858 with the original piano factory at 20 to 22 seminarstrasse,Dresden, Germany .

 

History

 

The piano brand 'Kaps' or 'Ernst Kaps Pianofortefabrik' was founded and produced in Dresden Germany in 1858 by Ernest Wilhelm Kaps(1826-1887) Ernest Kaps was born on 6 December born in 1826 in chub ( Saxony). Kaps was appointed in 1879 as an Honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He died in 1887 succeeded by his sons Ernst Eugen(1864 to 1910 ) and Wilhelm Ernst (1872 to 1943), the company continued on at the Dresden factory until 1930. 

 

Models

In 1876, the company exhibited at the World Exhibition in Philadelphia. In 1922, the company then known as 'Ernst Kaps Piano Fabrik AG' merged with another company, owned and founded by 'Johann Kuhse', who's piano manufacturing business was originally founded in 1874. In 1925 factory then known as the 'Kaps / Kuhse Pianoforte AG', both made piano brands alongside each other. Prior to the progress of the German Empire in 1871 'Kaps' acquired the title of purveyor of the kingdom of Saxony.

The Dresden factory ceased manufacture in 1930, and at this point the company had reported its final serial number as No. 37500. The name and ethos of the company ‘Kaps’ was revived in 2011 by an Australian owned business 'CAPP Imports', the company's founder, Philip Hamilton Shayer is a piano tuner and builder, who trained in England at the Leeds College of Music, who applied a number of designs and improvements to a series of pianos currently in production. Final production is within Australia, the materials are sourced from Germany, China & Japan. With the labour intensive construction remaining With their partner factor, final production is completed in Byron Bay Australia.

The Dresden factory produced 37,500 well-known pianos and grand pianos and from 1885 a consistent manufacture of 1000 pianos per year is noted. The table below shows the assignment of serial numbers to year of manufacture.

 

 

Ernst Kaps Pianos

 

Ernst Kaps Piano Fabrik

Ernst Kaps Piano Fabrik AG a piano manufacturer founded in 1858 with the original piano factory at 20 to 22 seminarstrasse,Dresden, Germany .

 

 

 

 

As mentioned,'this device served to give increased resonance to the thinner tones of the soprano and higher registers for a significant boost and timbre, while providing a more consistent and defined ratio between the sound levels'. 

Other similar and ingenious/radical inventions were patented by Ernst Eugen Kaps, these also included a device that extended the soundboard in to the grand piano lid!  Although revolutionary, most were not economically practical and sadly were not commercially produced.

Baby grand

In 1865, Kaps built the first double overstrung grand piano. Named ‘the system Kaps’ which referred to a triple bridge arrangement to aid the awkward scaling design, limited by the previously unsuccessful, small sized grand, which were only about 1.50 m long. These, at the time were characterised as having ‘solidity and durability of tone’ as well as mention of, ‘a lovely yet powerful sound for such a small piano’!  Essentially, previous attempts at producing a successful small grand piano failed until this time and subsequently, the Kaps Double overstrung 5ft grand piano, quickly became a revelation. Hailed as the first successful small grand produced, later known and promoted by another maker as ‘The baby grand piano’, launched ‘Kaps pianos’ in to commercial success.

 

 

The 'Kaps' Piano Supplied to Percy Grainger

 

PERCY GRAINGER'S CHILDHOOD PIANO

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                      

PERCY GRAINGER learned to play on an upright parlour piano of Walnut veneer & ivory keys, made and supplied by Ernst Kaps of Dresden to Rose Grainger. He reported to have practiced on it for two hours a day, while his mother Rose Grainger, as his teacher, sat beside him. In 1895 the Graingers left for Germany when the piano was then sold to a Mr and Mrs Thomas P. Husband, who's family were also taught by Rose. They kept it for 40 years, before donating it to the Grainger Museum at the Melbourne University in 1935. The piano has now been restored and is housed on display at the 'Percy Grainger Museum Melbourne Australia' This piano was manufactured on or around March 1885, based on calculations derived from data available in Pierce Piano Atlas and Philip Shayer, current owner of the rights to Ernst Kaps Pianoforte.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once under treatment, the wood is closely monitored while it undergoes periods of dehumidifying and re-humidifying until an accurately measurable absorption level is reached, this can take from days to weeks before the desired results are achieved and depending on the type and density of the wood in question, from the sound board, belly bars and bracing ‘spruce sections’, to the action ‘hornbeam’ or the incredibly strong hard ‘rock maple’ bridges, care and passion beyond expectation go into the preparation of your Kaps piano

This amazing process transforms the carefully selected wood, into its new form, ready to be reborn and formed into the heart of the piano as the soundboard, and the integrity of the piano, as the action, outer case and bracings.

 

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Kaps Kiln drying process

 

Slow grown spruce is hand chosen for Kaps pianos. This perfect tonal wood finds its way into all of our hand built pianos, via our computer controlled kilns, where the wood is precisely treated and cured over a good deal of time to ensure longevity and rich warm sound.  After the timber has arrived, it goes through further and extensive examination prior to being carefully cut and prepared into uniform sections depending upon where on the piano it’s destined to spend its life.  

How do we build your piano?

Dehonit ® who manufacture for industries ranging
from ship building to aircraft propeller blades, have
been producing Wrest Planks (pin blocks) and
other integral parts, for almost all of the top branded pianos,
since the 1950’s.  These Include Steinway, Mason & Hamlin,
Estonia, Bosendofer, Petrof & many more. For us, this was the
natural choice for our pianos.  Fashioned from high pressure
bonded red beech, especially for Kaps, boasts the highest

made of 21 laminates, guaranteeing your piano, unparalleled tuning-

stability & longevity...  

The 'Wrest' plank/Tuning Pin block

Wrest Pins/ Tuning Pins

 

Well known in the industry as ‘best choice’, and to complement the fact that we use some of the finest materials in the world, we fit your Kaps piano with ‘digital production controlled’ high tensile Nippon Denro ® ultra consistent tuning pins.  After years of extensive testing and tuning we have not found any other to match these for being the strongest and most reliable tuning/wrest pin to date.  As with all high quality pianos, these high strength, chromium protected pins, are hand seated and additionally supported by individually crafted, beechwood collars.  We are immensely satisfied that this ensures an even and stable tuning, reducing the need for continued or repeated adjustment during and after the tuning process by your competent piano technician.  

Strings 


Roslau Stahldraht ® Germany, Nickel silver encapsulated piano wire is used for all the tenor and treble strings.   We employ a specialist, bespoke production of a nickel silver encapsulation process

 One of the best available internationally and used by the top piano producers Steinway, Bosendorfer, Mason & Hamlin and many others. To bolster the fact that we simply will not settle for second best, our Bass strings are also made at Mapes ® Tennesee. 

It is this, that makes the acoustic wire, used on your piano, the only natural choice in the marriage between the passion & craftsmanship breathed into Kaps Pianos and what brings music truly to life because these strings are simply the finest known in the world!

The heart of the Piano is 'Kaps all weald Action':

 

Traditional materials meet modern production engineering techniques. 

How do we build a Kaps action?

Our design, which hasn’t changed in over half a century, maintains a process which strictly excludes the use of any man made or molded materials in its integrity. With over 8000 parts, the only real difference in our production methods today is that we employ precision digital technology to assist in maintaining reliable perfection and the consistency expected in the cutting and tension measuring processes,  ensuring an even and responsive touch adding joy to your performance.

The all weald action rests over a key-bed and keys that are hand crafted from kiln cured and solid heart wood spruce, which are selected and quarter cut to ensure longevity and reliability.  The valuable significance of these high quality, hand chosen materials and methods, allows for the very important and accurate adjustment required to guarantee smooth playing performance, and the unyielding stability to keep it that way.  This also provides for ease of regulating by the technician for the future of the piano.   The key chasings and key bushings are all traditional high quality imported European compressed pure wool bushing cloth, these surround polished forged steel centre rail pins and front rail bat pins.  The capstans are of traditional solid brass and the springs are digitally tensioned to guarantee a consistently perfect touch and precise repetition designed especially to meet the rigorous demands of the competent performer.

 ‘Ernst Kaps’ high quality lightweight German, naturally cold pressed, laminate pure wool hammers formed over low density natural wool under-felt.  Seasoned Hornbeam hammer heads and shanks. Pure wool stitched European Damper felt. 

 

Each action is put through its paces with our auto play technology prior to passing several systems of strict quality control before being installed in to your piano.  

Renner action:

On our Kaps 210 XR performance grand piano and the 275RR concert series grand piano, the ‘Louis Renner action’ is installed, with German felt & hornbeam hammers and solid spruce keys.  These actions are also installed in the following historical piano makers instruments:

Estonia

Mason & Hamlin

Baldwin

Bösendorfer 
Steinway & Sons New York
Steinway & Sons Hamburg 

Grotrian-Steinweg

Schimmel

Steingräber & Söhne 

Bechstein
Blüthner 
Fazioli 
Feurich
Förster 
Petrof

 
 
 

 

Final Finish


As much as your piano must sound & perform in every way that you should expect from a high performance instrument such as Kaps… We also believe it is every bit asimportant, not only to have unsurpassed performance & tone, but also to express the aesthetic presence that this measure of quality deserves. 

 

 

 

 

We have taken every care to remain faithful to piano building tradition. This is why at Kaps all of our piano, solid timber outer rims and aesthetic features, enjoy hand crafted finishes that are both beautifully designed and opulent.  High grade natural wood veneers and the finest deep shines are afforded by our natural, high build, multi layered resin process.  With this, along with genuine solid brass accoutrements and aides, we are extremely proud to have created a look and feel that is designed to last for generations.  We’re confident that you will be just as proud to own one.