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Rädecker & Lunau Square Pianos

This webpage contains

  • contains information about the history of piano building in Lübeck ca. 1730–1880 
  • contains detail information about the firm Rädecker & Lunau (Lübeck) and their instruments
  • provides a documentation of one of the square pianos by Rädecker & Lunau 
(last update Summer 2016)

Square piano by Rädecker & Lunau, serial no. 2391

Clinkscale database entry: EP Number 7194

Current location of the instrument

Göteborg, Sweden

(please, click on each photo on this webpage to see an enlarged version. Quality of the photos may vary, though!)

Where Made

Country: Germany
Province: Schleswig-Holstein
City: Lübeck


1) Johann Dietrich Rädecker senior
    (Aug 21, 1765–June 17, 1848), Lübeck
    father of 2, stepfather of 3

2) Johann Diedrich Rädecker junior
    (November 29, 1802–October 27, 1835), Lübeck,
    son of 1, stepbrother of 3

3) Benjamin Heinrich Lunau
    (November 15, 1797–November 7, 1883), Lübeck,
    stepson of 1, stepbrother of 2

Firm history

Johann Diedrich Rädecker senior (born in Leese, northwest of Hanover) was active as a piano builder in Lübeck since 1801/02. Nothing is known about his education and when he actually moved to Lübeck. He apparently took over a more than half-a-century old  piano building tradition had been established in the Hanseatic town through the family of the Winter's.

Johann Conrad Winter (ca. 1705–April 1777) seems to have established the business. Nothing is known about his education. He had two sons who learnt the craft and trade from him:
Jürgen (Georg) Hinrich Winter (1726–after 1777/before 1798), and
Leonhard Conrad Winter (?–June 1777).

Jürgen (Georg) Hinrich W. worked together with a compagnon, Christian Wilhelm Meyer (1750- 1796) and established the firm "Winter & Meyer's".
Christian Wilhelm Meyer (1750- 1796), who acquired citizenship of Lübeck in March 1784, sometimes has been erroneusly been ascribed a compagnonship with J. D. Rädecker sr. and even with J. D. Rädecker jun. He can't have known Rädecker jun. of course, who was born after Meyer's death.
– In the last decade of the 18th century Johann Heinrich Winter (*07.02.1773–26.04.1801), son of Jürgen (Georg) Hinrich, took at first over his deceased father's position as compagnon, and was the sole owner of the firm after C. W. Meyer's death.

It appears, that Rädecker sr. was a previous journeyman at "Winter & Meyer's" and took over the Winter-firm in 1802 after Johann Heinrich Winter's death. He married the latter's widow in 1802.
Their son, Rädecker jr., learnt the trade of piano building with his father, and appears to have taken the lead in the workshop c. 1829/30.

The firm Rädecker & Lunau was founded in 1829/30 (according to private communication by Dr. Ulrich Althöfer, September 2012, based on his research in Lübeck archives), which would set the terminus post quem for determining the age of their instruments: Any Rädecker & Lunau instrument can not have been built before 1829/30.

Benjamin Heinrich Lunau was stepson resp. stepbrother in relation to the other two, because Rädecker sr. had married Lunau's mother 1807 in second marriage. Like his stepbrother B. H. Lunau had learned the craft and trade from his stepfather and became a co-partner of Rädecker junior.
After the latter's untimely death in October 1835, his father, Rädecker senior, now 70 years of age, stepped in as co-partner.
Lunau continued the firm "Rädecker & Lunau" even after Rädecker senior's death (1848) until 1852/53, before he established his own firm. (Source: Althöfer, 2000: p. 72-73). It appears that the ca. 150-year-old tradition of Winter-Meyer-Rädecker-Lunau died with him.


It is interesting that of the nineteen known square pianos of R&L, nine are outside of Germany.
R&L seems to have regularly delivered to Scandinavian customers, as a third of the extant similar instruments of the firm are or have been found at some time in Scandinavia (that includes the instrument serial no. 2020 now in Hong Kong, but not no. 2755 that came to Scandinavia only in autumn 2012).
Furthermore are seven out twelve instruments of both J. D. Rädecker senior and of B. H.  Lunau (after 1853) to be found in Scandinavia.  
While the Scandinavian market was of course geographically close to the firm R&L, the accumulation of R&L square pianos in Portugal is especially noteworthy (see table below).
The channels of distribution and sales of these piano builders at the Baltic Sea shores might be worth an extra study (of course the old Hanseatic town of Lübeck had a centuries-old tradition of trade with both the Scandinavian and the Iberian peninsulas).

Numbers and inscriptions

Serial no. 2391  punched in near the front lefthand corner:

A "13" is written with pencil on various parts of the structure.
An example: Under the wood behind the name board,

where it is hidden, handwritten under the soundboard apron behind the name board.

A "13" is also stamped in on the wrest plank (near the bass notes, right hand corner, keyboard side of the instrument).

Three explanations
  1. Order no.?
    My first idea was that these shorter nos. (which are not to be mixed up with the serial no.) could have been used during production in order to prepare and to keep track of parts for the same instrument among various commissioned instruments that are produced at the same time in the shop.
    I find the hypothesis of a production no. quite convincing, but serial no. 2439 seems to contradict it, since which carrys two different nos. We do not know, though, whether the nos. were place on the instrument at the same time, and it is possible that the instrument was turned in to the workshop for some unknown reason and thus was marked with a new order no. (of that year?)

  2. Model no.?
    Carey Beebe, who restored the Rädecker & Lunau now in Hongkong (s. below) suggests, however, that the "13" might be a model no. since the number occurs also on that instrument (also stamped in on the wrest plank near the bass tuning pins and handwritten under the soundboard apron).
    The hypothesis of model nos. is of course appealing. But serial nos. 2020 and 2391, which each carry a "13" are different enough to doubt that they were originating from the same model. In general it appears that R&L adapted instrument designs to some degree according to whishes of customers (as for example the compasses or various damper mechanisms seem to infer).

  3. Worker no.? A third idea is that the shorter nos. are codes for workers in the firm Rädecker & Lunau.
    I im not very convinced about the hypothesis of nos. that identify specific workers. A piano building workshop with a certain output had probably specialised workers for various parts or areas. One would expect in that case, that the same nos. appear over a number of years on similar parts of the instrument.
Readers are welcmed to contribute with ideas.

Keyboard area

Name board with name plate

"Rädecker & Lunau / Lübeck" engraved on brass lozenge-shaped plaque on the name board.

The nameboard has a brass string inlay:

- Compass: 6 octaves, F1 - f4

- The upper fifteen keys (d#3-f4, the undamped notes)
   are built separately on their own keyboard ("additional
   keys" a la Broadwood)

- Stichmaß (3 octaves, C-h1) = 476 mm)

The lower, larger part of the keyboard/s (F1-d3):

The additional keys (d#3-f4):

Strings (modern)

FF- d Brass (FF-E spun)
d - f4 iron

Original string sizes (for brass and iron) are written on the wrest plank as usual.

The tuning pins are rectangular shaped, at the top ca. 3 mm * 6 mm.
The pins are tapered: The thin side (at the top 3 mm) increases to ca. 5 mm at a distance of eleven millimeters below the top. 

The instrument is kept at a pitch of ca. 415 Hz for a'. 


English double action, like in this sketch

(source: Beurmann 2007, p. 130. Courtesy: Andreas E. Beurmann)

Key with attached hopper.
The English double action has been developed and patented in the 1780s by Geib, and Longman & Broderip and Broadwood continued to use this design, which remained in use until ca. the end of the 1830s. Rädecker & Lunau belong apparently to the last generation of piano builders, who used the English double action!

The adjustable hopper strikes the intermediate lever (below the hammer) which transmits the force to the hammer

Next photo: A raised key, carrying the hopper, that pushes up the intermediate lever:

(following two photos from the "additional keys"). In rest position:

Hammer raised by the intermediate lever below:

The hammers are ovally shaped, and leathered:

Detail from the hopper which sits on the back end of the key:

Music rest

attached to the name board and foldable behind it,

as to be seen here behind the name board.


Mopstick dampers

From below:


Vertical-grain crotch-figured mahogany case;

The name board could be made of rosewood (dalbergia. German: Palisander).

Turned and reeded legs with brass casters and caster cups.

Pedal action: Dampers and Moderator

Pedal lyre with two brass pedals.

Pedal action below the case:

- Right pedal: general damper lift:

  Part of the action (left inner side of case).

The spring acts to pull back the horizontal wood strip that lifts all dampers. Above the wooden strip one sees the indvidual damper action (activated by each key, from below), on which the mopstick dampers are fastened with a piece of leather:

General damper lift not activated:

All dampers are now resting on the strings:

When the general damper lift is activated,

all dampers are raised at once:

- Left pedal: piano/moderator.
  A slightly curved, woode
n strip with thin pieces of cloth
  is moved by the left-pedal action, and puts the cloth
  hammer and string
(the pieces of red thin cloth are new.)

detail around d3/d#3 (general damping ends with d3!)

The case in in very good condition, no warping, straight lines wherever one looks. 
The shellac is generally in well-preserved state (as one can see from the reflexions in the previous photos).

The ground plate seems to be very massive:
Three beams, estimated to be 7-8 cm thick.

Case measurements

Width: 174 cm
Depth: 67 cm
Height: 87 cm (29 cm without legs)

Age determination

It appears that the Rädecker's and B. H. Lunau, like other piano builders used a continuous system of serial nos. At this time (Aug. 2012) Rädecker & Lunau instruments are known with serial nos. between 2020 and 3490, which show in the development of compass, case measurements and a number of details, that the serial no. is an aid to assess the dates of the instruments (with caution). Instruments by one of the Rädeckers alone are pre R&L and have lower numbers, while instruments of B. H. Lunau alone (post-185/53) show higher nos.

The instrument no. 2391 can possibly be roughly dated to the first half of the 1830s or -at least- to the 1830s. May be mid 1830s is more likely, regarding the serial numbering applied in the firm.
Later instruments of R&L have a quite different design, and for example do not show the rhombic brass name plate with finely carved "Rädecker & Lunau" and (next line)  "Lübeck". The type of keyboard action, the double action (after Longman & Broderip) was on its way out by the 1830s.

Comparison to and basic data of other instruments of the same makers

Instruments by Rädecker & Lunau 

* Dates as suggested by various sources, as publications, owner's communication, information on websites of collections etc. All dates are estimates and in need of further verification. For discussions of single dates s. below.
** Serial no. and other data not yet obtained

Serial no. PlaceOwnerInventory no.
Tentative Date*CompassClinkscale no.
2020Hongkong (HK)
University ca. 1830
2224Katrineholm (SE)private  F1-f4 
Göteborg (SE)
private ---ca. 1835
2438Hamburg (DE)Beurmann coll.
ca 1835
2526 (?)Beja, Alentejo (PT)private compass seems to point to a date of ca. 1850 C1-a4-(sic!) 
2755Göteborg (SE)private ca. 1840
2909Bethersden (Kent/UK)Colt Clavier coll.S352RLGca. 1840-1845
F1-f4 2721
2956Lillehammar (NO)Maihaugen mus.
SS-37604ca. 1840-1845F1-f4

3009Copenhagen (DK)private ca. 1840-1845 C1-f4 
3029Trondheim (NO)
ca. 1840-1845F1-f4  
3035Stockholm (South Dakota, US!)private. 
Formerly in the The Schubert Club (St. Paul MN, USA)
 "ca. 1835", but probably later according to serial no.F1-f42722
3043Lisbon (PT)
Mus. da música
MM 466
MI/C 466, pfte 43 
ca. 1845
3341Lisbon (PT)
Mus. da músicaMM 724
ca. 1850
3450Lillehammar (NO)Maihaugen mus.
SS-37610ca. 1850

3490Lübeck (DE)
Museum f. Kunst u. Kulturgeschichte
ca. 1850
Lisbon (PT)Mus. da músicaMM 1343

**unknown (NO)
private  F1-f4 
unknownprivate between ca. 1840 and ca. 1850
unknown (NO)
private  C1-g4

Description, details

  • Hongkong, China, Hongkong University, Music Dept., serial No. 2020.
    This instrument additionally carries a stamped no. "13" (like instrument no. 2391. S. above).
    The instrument came to Hongkong from Denmark, where it had been restored in the early 1960s. The last restoration was carried out by Carey Beebe (Peakhurst, Sydney, NSW, Australia) in 1996.
    The nameboard of the Hongkong instrument has rounded terminations (and truncated accidentals at both ends of the keyboard to match). The Hongkong instrument and instrument no. 2391 are remarkably similar, except of the style of the legs, and the knee lever instead of the pedal lyre.
    (All information about the Hongkong instrument, courtesy of Carey Beebe)

  • Katrineholm, Sweden, serial no. 2224
    Name plate: rectangular, white, cardboard or thick paper, in a brass frame. Print "Rädecker & Lunau", below "LÜBECK". Signs of wear.
    Turned legs with brass casters and caster cups. 
    A "25" is stamped in on the wrest plank (near the bass notes, right hand corner, keyboard side of the instrument).
    Provenience: The present owner bought the instrument from a relative, who herself had inherited it from her father in the 1970s, who again had bought it around 1960 from an acquaintance from the town of Mjölby (SE, prov. Östergötland).

  • Göteborg, Sweden, private ownership. Serial no. 2391.
    See description above
    Latest restorations:
    - 2000, Linda Stråhle (Malmö):
    overhaul, restringing (strings by Malcolm Rose), with advice from HansErik Svensson (former curator of Stockholm, Musikmuseet)
    - 2012, Per-Anders Terning (Tollered):
    reglueing/fixing the soundboard bridge, which started to come off and threatened to rip the soundboard apart.
    It appeared that a part in the middle of the bridge (ca. 7 cm) never had been glued to the sound board from the beginning (ca. 1830s). At some point in its (modern) history the bridge as a whole has moreover been reglued with modern white glue
    , which formed a threat to the instrument. Terning has reglued the whole bridge (on its entire length of course), using historically appropriate glue.

  • Hamburg, Germany, Museen für Kunst und Gewerbe, Beurmann-collection, serial no. 2438.
    The instrument
    is dated in the literature to c. 1840, but on which grounds, I don't know. May be "1830s" (after 1831/32 in any case) is a better guess. The serial no. might indicate a slightly later production date than no. 2391
    Other nos.: "26" on the wrestplank, "15" on the keyboard frame (all nos. being punched in).
    It's measurements are pretty similar to the instrument no. 2391 which are just slightly larger (Beurmann 2007 width 169.9 cm;  depth 67.9 cm; height without legs 27.6 cm). Similar to no. 2391 it has the division with "additional keys" but apparently at d#3/e3.
    Beurmann's R&L has no pedals or knee levers, i.e. no general damper lift or moderator.
    The case is mahogany veneered.

  • Göteborg, Sweden, private ownership. Serial no. 2755.
    Other nos.:
    "14" punched in at the right hand corner (keyboard side) near the bass hitch pins. A "14" in pencil is also on the back of the Schalldeckel (a sound modifier, sometimes called  "dustcover"). 
    The instrument was until October 2012 located in Germany, near Kiel.
    Case measurements:
    lid: width 179.9 cm;  depth 73.5 cm;
    height without legs ca 29 cm, with legs ca. 85 cm
    Compass: C1-f4. (Six and a half octaves, 78 notes)
    Keyfall: ca. 6 mm
    C1-c3 (61 notes).
    Stichmaß (3 octaves, C-h1) = 488 mm)
    Scaling: c2 ca 283 mm (probably ca 2 mm longer due to measuring procedure)
    Strings: C1-E single strung (spun), F to f4 double strung. The spun strings look very much like the spun strings in no. 2909, which could be an indication of that they are from the same period or maker; - may be even original?
    Divided bridge, division between E/F.
    In the treble the bridge is slightly offset for the undamped notes (
    c#3-f4), like in no. 2909.
    Knee lever: One (general damper lift)
    Schalldeckel (a sound modifier, sometimes called  "dustcover"), painted green.
    Foldable music rest
    The name board could be made of rosewood (dalbergia. German: Palisander) and has a brass string inlay. It is slightly curved at each side with the name plate in the middle embedded in a opening in the wood (no further ornamentation).
    Name plate: rectangular (w: 14 cm, h: 4.8 cm), white, cardboard or thick paper, printed "RÄDECKER & Lunau" and below "LÜBECK". Signs of wear
    Action: English tapecheck. 
    The overall appearance of no. 2755 show similarities to no. 2909 in the Colt Clavier.  Collection (without the latter's iron hitchpin plate, though). The instrument has undergone some changes in the 20th century, possibly even earlier (for example it got modern tuning pins). The action appears to be well-working, but keyboard and action incl. the knee lever action/damper will need some adjustments in the future.
    I'll publish more (exact) data and photos within short time. 

  • Bethersden (Ashford, Kent), UKColt Clavier Collection in , serial no. 2909.
    Characterized in the catalog as "of Lübeck, English type, check action, c1820. Iron hitchpin plate but no bar."
    The date "c1820" from the earlier publications is definitely too early for reasons mentioned above.
    The iron hitchpin plate seems to have been applied for instruments later within R&L's output.
    According to the Clinkscale database the instrument displays the following features:
    Case from mahogany
    Action: English tapecheck
    Knee lever: One (general damper lift)

    Mahogany Schalldeckel (a sound modifier, sometimes called  "dustcover", unpainted.

    Foldable music rest
    (Clinkscale database, Colt 1969 and Colt 1981 [courtesy of Carey Beebe]).

    I visited the instrument on September 26, 2012:
    Case: Width 170.8 cm (lid 172.5); depth 70.5 cm; height with legs 85 cm resp. 85.3 cm, height w/o legs: 28.1-28.2 cm.
    Stichmaß (three-octave span, C-b1: 490 mm.)
    Strings: F
    1-E one string (spun), F-f4 double strung. The spun strings look very much like the spun strings in no. 2755, which could be an indication of that they are from the same period or maker; - may be even original? Also the other strings may be from the same period.
    Divided bridge, division between E/F.

    In the treble the bridge is slightly offset for the undamped notes (c#3-f4), like in no. 2755.
    Dampers: F1-c#3 (d3-f4 undamped)
    State of the action: Several keys do either not produce any sound or only distorted sound: From F1-A1 for example the cover is coming off, f4 and one or two notes in the middle don't work. (All deficits are minor though and could be easily restored by a professional restorer).
    Name board: slightly curved at each side (starting ca 25-26 cm from the side), with the name plate in the middle embedded in a opening in the wood, besides which there are brass inlay ornaments.
    Name plate: rectangular, white, cardboard or thick paper, printed "RÄDECKER & Lunau" and below "LÜBECK".
  • Lillehammar, Norway, Maihaugen museum, serial no. 2956.
    This instrument additionally displays a stamped no. "20" (s. above).
    Note the different style of the name plate, the legs, and the single pedal column!
    Name plate: Wooden, with rectangular brass frame (inlay?) and "Rädecker & Lunau", next line "LÜBECK".

  • Copenhagen, Denmark, private ownership (Mandrup-Poulsen), serial no. 3009.
    The instrument is well preserved. Data about the instrument from the owner's extensive documentation (January 2016) of which only a selection of data is presented here (courtesy).
    Minor restoration in 1982-83.
    A no. "6" is written in pencil (s. above) on the back left corner of the key frame, on a damper (no. 1, C) and on the back of the lowewr key-well batten.
    Case Width 175.8 cm (front), 176.0 cm (back); depth 78.1 cm (left), 77.9 cm (right); height without legs 31.2 cm (left) 31.5 cm (right).
    Action: Viennese "Prellmechanik" – this is the only known instrument with a Viennese action of Rädecker & Lunau! (There is one fortepiano by J. D. Rädecker with a Viennese action - s. below).   

  • Trondheim, Norway, private collection, serial no. 3029. 
    This instrument additionally displays a stamped no. "32" (s. above).
    Name board: slightly curved at each side.
    Name plate: Wooden, rectangular (brass frame inlay?) and "Rädecker & Lunau", next line "LÜBECK".
    Divided bridge, division between E/F.
    Iron hitchpin plate
    Action: English tapecheck
    This instrument has similarities with both nos. 2909 and 3043.
  • Stockholm (South Dakota, USA), private ownership
    Square piano by Rädecker & Lunau; formerly (1985-2011) housed in The Schubert Club, St. Paul (MN), USA.
    The date "ca. 1835" according to the Clinkscale database is probably somewhat too early. Regarding the serial no. the date can be expected to be in the early 1840s.
    Keyboard compass: 6 octaves (F1-f4).
  • Lisbon, Portugal, Museu da Música,
    Square piano,  serial no. 3043.
    Quite different design compared with no. 2391,
    Name plate: rectangular, white, (probably from cardboard or thick paper), printed "RÄDECKER & Lunau" and below "LÜBECK". .
    Iron hitchpin plate.
    Tuning pins behind the strings (seen from the keyboard).
    Pedal lyre with one pedal (presumably general damper lift).
    Width 172.5 cm; depth 72 cm; height with legs 86 cm.
    (source: Clinkscale database, Braga 2012, and courtesy of Helena Lopes Braga).

  • Lisbon, Portugal, Museu da Música
    Square piano, serial no. 3341.
    (Braga 2012 and courtesy of Helena Lopes Braga.)

  • Norway, Maihaugen museum in the town of Lillehammar,  serial no. 3450.
    Pedal in lyre form.
    The leg shape may be very similar to the above mentioned instrument (serial no. 2956) in Maihaugen. The serial no. may indicate a rather late date witin the production of R & L.

  • Lübeck, Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte (St. Annen-Museum), serial. no. 3490.
    Already the compass seems to point to a later model, the serial no. seem to confirm the hypothesis as well as the hexagonally shaped legs.
    The instrument may have belonged to the vicarage (Pfarrhaus) of St. Marien (St. Mary's) in Lübeck or it may have been a heirloom within the family of a previous preverend (Hauptpastor). The instrument has beautiful carvings to both sides of the name board and on the shades (Schleierbrett) that cover the front half of the instrument (seen from keyboard.)
    Case: Mahogany-veneered.
    Name plate: Rectangular,
    Width 190 cm; depth 83.5 cm; height incl. legs 89.5 cm. Keyboard height: 70.2 cm.
    Stichmaß: 49 cm.
    Iron hitchpinplate (cf. serial no. 2909!). Tuning pins behind the strings (seen from the keyboard).
    1-E one string (spun), F-f4 double strung. Divided bridge, division between E/F. Iron brace (Spreize) in treble.
    Pedal lyre (one pedal: damper lift).
    (Althöfer 2000, p. 72-73).

  • Lisbon, Portugal, Museu da Música, inventory no. MM 1343.
    Square piano.
    The instrument was only fairly recently donated to the museum.
    (Braga 2012)

  • unknown, Norway, private collection.
    Name board: slightly curved at each side.
    Name plate: Rectangular (brass frame inlay?) and "Rädecker & Lunau", next line "LÜBECK".

    Six octaves:
    Pedal lyre, one pedal (probably general damper lift)

  • Germany?, unknown, private
    This instrument was on sale on eBay. Compass according to photo C1-f4. Four legs, hexagonal. Pedal lyre (one pedal, probably general damper lift).
    Case: walnut (Nussbaum), burl wood (Wurzelholz).
    Width (according to seller): 180 cm, (depth) 80 cm, (height w/legs): 90 cm

  • Germany? unknown private:
    The seller of the previously mentioned instrument seems to own another R & L

    Scalings, gauges of Rädecker & Lunau instruments

    String lengths (speaking lengths in mm)

    *  The values for F1-c3, should be read as ca. 1mm (bass) - ca.3 mm (treble) too long, due to the measuring process (the tape measure had to be placed abve the dampers).
    ** Indicated as "ca." by Mats Krouthén.
    serial no.

    C1--------- ---1516---
    F1139014871451 * 14421410 1440
     * 13531336  
    C128412901295 * 12971277  
    F113911491168 * 12411160**  1244
     * 11261056
    944948966 * 1045960
    792 *  870790
    683672  *  638634
    c1591568562 *  547513 
    f1451427422 *  411400 
    a1358341  *  335 
    c2299288286* 283
    *  284270284
    f2219216213 *  210215
      *  170170 
    c3140143136 *  140143
    f310510596 99105
    a38386  8283
    c4707168 697068
    f4555747 535553

    Measurements taken by
    • Carey Beebe (no. 2020), documentation for restoration (pdf from his website)
    • HansErik Svensson/Linda Stråhle (no. 2391), documentation for the purpose of restringing
    • Andreas Beurmann (no. 2438), publication Beurmann 2007.
    • Ibo Ortgies (nos. 2755 and 2909), my own measurements and photos. Special thanks to Claudio di Veroli for his assistance in measuring no. 2909!
    • Private owner Copenhagen, documentation (no. 3009) 
    • Mats Krouthén (no. 3029), documentation.

    String gauges

    serial no.
    2/0 1/2
    h° (b)
    g#11/0 1/2
    a1 [13.]13.
    a2 not visible
    h2 (b)
    1 (?)
    b3 (b-flat)
    a31 1/2 (?)
    b3 (b-flat)
     not visible

    In no. 2755 (Göteborg) the markings are barely or hardly readable under the opaque varnish, but a comparison with no. 2909 (Bethersden, UK, Colt Collection) shows that the visible ones match the same positions as in no. 2909. One can assume that no. 2755 had the highest two markings (11. and 12.) at the same position as no. 2909. 

    • photos, Ibo Ortgies (nos. 2391, 2755 and 2909)

    Other instruments by either Rädecker or Lunau 


    *   Dates as suggested by various sources, as publications, owner's communication, information on websites of collections etc. All dates are estimates and in need of further verification. For discussions of single dates s. below.
    ** Serial no. and other data not yet obtained
    Serial no. BuilderPlaceOwnerInventory no.
    Date*CompassClinkscale no.
    1502J. D. RädeckerSchweich (DE), earlier in Sweden
    possibly identical with  the following item
     between 1815 and 1825F1-f4 
    1584J. D. RädeckerSöderhamn (SE)Klaverens husKH 109


    J.D. RädeckerStockholm (SE)
    MusikmuseetX5353pre 1829/30
    **J.D. RädeckerStuttgart (DE)Landesmuseum Württemberg

    "early 19th ct."
    **J. D. Rädecker
    Zabrze (PL)
    Fortepianarium "before 1830"
    **near Borlänge (SE)?


    3788B. H. Lunau
    Söderhamn (SE)Klaverens husKH 464
    3977B. H. LunauFrankfurt (Oder)
    Städtische Museen  C1-a4 
    5005 (?)
    B. H. LunauUtne (NO)
    Utne Hotel
     "c. 1840" (?)
    **B. H. Lunau
    Nürnberg (DE)
    Germanisches Nationalmuseum

    B. H. LunauGermany (?)


Description, details

Instruments by Johann Diedrich Rädecker (either father or son) 

  • Schweich, Germany, private collection. 
    The instrument was acquired from private ownership in Sweden – possibly it is identical with the following item on this list.
    Fortepiano, serial no. 1502, with the signature "Johann Dietrich Rädecker".
    Name plate: "J. D. Rädecker" and "Lübeck" engraved on brass lozenge-shaped plaque on the name board.
    Compass: F1-f4
    Pedal lyre with two pedals.
    Viennese action – until now
    the only instrument by J. D. Rädecker known to me with a Viennese action, though there is the Rädecker & Lunau with that kind of action, serial no. 3009 (see above).
    Mahogany case, veneer inside: rosewood (dalbergia. German: Palisander).
    Provenience: The instrument had be owned previously by Carin Malmlöf-Forssling (1916-2005), a Swedish composer. It
     was sold (in 2015 or 2016?) according to a website, bought probably already by a German customer as the present owner bought it soon afterwards from the previous owner, a German. 
    The instrument underwent a rebuilt in 1857, during which the hammer heads got a felt cover
    The instrument is currently being restored to its original state.

  • Söderhamn, Sweden, Klaverens husinventory no. KH 109.
    Square piano, serial no. 1584. 
    Date: "1810s". The date would in any case be reasonably after the fortepiano, serial no. 1502, i. e. possibly closer 1820-1825. 
    Compass: F1-f4.
    Case: Mahogany
    (source: "List of piano instruments made abroad")

  • Stockholm, Musikmuseet, inventory no. X5353
    Square piano, serial no. 1744,
     a product of pre-R&L times, and would therefore have to be dated to pre-1829/30.
    According to archival information the instrument was donated to the museum in 1991. The previous owner got the instrument in 1928 at an auction of the heritage of a chimney sweeper.
    The rhombic name plate continued to be in use by R&L; see above.
    According to the description on the museum's webpage this instrument probably originally had a "knäreglage" (a knee lever), which later was replaced by a pedal lyre with one pedal.
    Pencil mark below the back of the music rest: "Ao 18/1 78" samt "Ao 15/9 94".
    A "39" is written with pencil on the wood on the groundplate. 
    Width: 171.5 cm; depth 64.5 cm.
    (Information courtesy of Dan Johannson (intendent at Musikmuseet [now Scenkonstmuseet] until 2015)

  • Stuttgart, Germany, Landesmuseum Württemberg (previously Württembergische Landesgewerbemuseum)
    Vertical/upright piano
    Dated "Early 19th ce
    Keyboard compass: 6 octaves (F1-f4)
    Case: Walnut and decorated with maple and brass.
    Keyboard cover: rounded
    Strings: Double-strung throughout
    Pedals: Two pedals (keyboard shift, forte).
    Clinkscale database entry EP Number 2723.

  • Zabrze, Poland, Fortepianarium, a newly founded Silesian Center for the Preservation of Keyboard Instruments (Śląskiego Centrum Ochrony Dziedzictwa Instrumentów Klawiszowych)A square piano.

  • (Probably) near Borlänge, Sweden
    A grand piano in private ownership in Sweden.
    The instrument is the only one known to have a six-octave compass begining from A2.    

    Instruments by Benjamin Heinrich Lunau

  • Söderhamn, Sweden, Klaverens hus, inventory no. KH 464
    Square piano, serial no. 3788, built by Benjamin Heinrich Lunau.
    The date "ca. 1850" can be probably put more precisely as "post-1852/53" in view of B. H. Lunau's establishing his own firm 1852/1853.
    Compass: C1-g4.
    Case: Mahogany
    (source: "List of piano instruments made abroad")

  • Frankfurt (Oder/DE)Städtische Museen Junge Kunst und Viadrina.
    piano by B. H. Lunau, serial no. 3977, dated to c. 1870.
    According to the catalogue (Heyde 1989, p. 96-97), the instrument has a name plate "BH Lunau/Früher Rädecker & Lunau./ Lübeck" and on the wrest plank "BH Lunau/Lübeck/3977" (the latter being the serial no.) und "32" (possibly the model no.).
    The nameboard is veneered with rosewoood (German: Palisander), the case itself with mahogany.
    Compass: C1-a4
    Case measurements: Width = 1855 mm, depth = 830 mm, height = 315 mm (without lid and without ornamental moulding [Ziersims]).
    Heyde 1989 proposes that B. Lunau still used a proportional system to design the keyboard action and string scalings - which was a tradition definitely on its way out by that time.

  • Utne, Norway, Utne Hotel, square piano by B. H. Lunau, serial no. 5005 (?), in .
    The high serial no. reported by Clinkscale seems doubtful as well as the date "c. 1840". Both need to be checked, not only because of Lunau's establishing himself as independent builder only in 1852/53. The nearly identical case dimensions of serial no. 3977, the similar inscription indicates a somewhat earlier date within Lunau's output since it still mentions Rädecker & Lunau: "B. H. Lunau / früher / Rädecker & Lunau / Lübeck". Once established and having a reputation of his own, Lunau certainly did not need to display his former affiliation, which is confirmed by later pianos of this maker.
    Compass: C1-g4
    Case measurements: Width = 185.2 cm, depth = 82.5 cm, height = 30.5m; height incl. leg 78.5 cm.
    Case: "Walnut; fretwork panels cover top of the front of the case; fretwork to sides of keyboard surround, the rear part of which is curved; wide, mitred moulding on the under and upper sides of the lid; one bar (style of 1840 Rädeckers) ."
    Pedals: One pedal (forte).
    Clinkscale database entry EP Number 4680.
    (source: Clinkscale 1999, p. 240).

  • Trondheim, Norway, collection of a private company,
    piano by B. H. Lunau.
    Compass: C1-g4
    Pedal lyre, one pedal (probably general damper lift).
    The instrument looks very much like late Rädecker & Lunau instruments, which
    indicates a somewhat earlier date within Lunau's output since it still mentions Rädecker & Lunau: "B. H. Lunau / früher / Rädecker & Lunau / Lübeck". (se previous instrument in Utne, Norway with a probably doubtful serial no. 5005).

  • Nürnberg, Germany, Germanisches Nationalmuseum.
    Square piano, according to Henkel 2000. Huber 1989 doesn't list a Lunau (nor any piano of Lübeck production) which might indicate that the museum acquired the instrument between 1989 and 2000.
    I have not been able yet to obtain more information.

  • Denmark (originally?), unknown serial no., 
    Square piano of B. H. Lunau from c. 1855, that was for sale some time ago.
    Date: Ca. 1875. In view of the compass of seven octaves a rather late date within B. H. Lunau's production seems a reasonable assumtion. The quite large dimensions of the case point into the same direction.
    Inscription on name board: "B. H. Lunau / Lübeck"
    Compass: A2-a4, seven octaves, according to the photo on the webpage. 
    Width 207 cm; depth 93 cm; height with legs 93 cm.
    Pedal lyre with one pedal (presumably general damper lift).
    Interestingly this instrument has a connection to Southern scandinavia as the website claims that it resided once in a Danish manor house

Possibly/Probably not related instruments

A square piano in Lisbon, Portugal, Museu da Música, inventory no. MM 433. Serial no. 3644.
Built by a Carl Rädecker who worked in Hamburg. It has been doubted that Carl Rädecker is a relative of the Rädeckers from Lübeck (Braga 2012).
Clinkscale database entry EP Number 5054.

Sources and Literature

Personal communication with
  • Ulrich Althöfer, PhD, (August-September 2012)
  • Carey Beebe (June-July 2012), harpsichord maker and restorer, providing all kinds of helpful advice. 
  • Helena Lopes Braga (August 2012), researcher, musicologist, providing me with the serial nos. of the instruments in Portugal.
  • Dr. Andreas E. Beurmann (August-September 2012)
  • David Hackett (August 2012), http://www.friendsofsquarepianos.co.uk/
  • Mats Krouthén, curator of the Ringve Museum, national museum of music and musical instruments (October 2012)
  • Andrew Nolan (December 2011)
  • W. E. Spiers (August 2012), curator of the Colt Clavier Collection, providing me with the serial no. of the R&L in that collection.
  • Thomas Strange (August 2012), builder and restorer of early keyboard instruments, for providing helpful advice 

  • Private owner in Copenhagen (DK) (2016)
  • Private owner in Heilbronn (DE) (2016) 
  • Private owner in Stockholm (DE) (2015, 2016) 

  • Ulrich Althöfer: Von Zinken, Serpenten und Giraffenklavieren. 9. Juli bis 15. Oktober 2000, Behnhaus, Lübeck. Historische Musikinstrumente aus vier Jahrhunderten im Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck. Katalog zur Sonderausstellung und Sammlungsverzeichnis.
    Lübeck: Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck, 2000.

  • Andreas Beurmann: Das Buch vom Klavier.
    Hildesheim: Olms, 2007
    (very much recommended. Also available in paperback.)

  • Helena Lopes Braga: Rädecker & Lunau vs Rädecker - A partir de três pianos de mesa do Museu da Música. Conference Paper: I Encontro Iberoamericano de jovens musicólogos. February 2012, Lisbon.

  • C. F. Colt: The Colt Clavier Collection. Silver Jubilee, 1944-1969. Grosvenor Press, 1969

  • The Colt Clavier Collection. Golden Jubilee, 1944-1981. Bethersden (Kent), 1981

  • Hubert Henkel: Lexikon deutscher Klavierbauer. Bochinsky, 2000.

  • Herbert Heyde: Historische Musikinstrumente der Staatlichen Reka-Sammlung am Bezirksmuseum Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder).
    Leipzig: VEB Deutscher Verlag für Musik, 1989 (licensed ed.: Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1989).
    (The museum is now called: Städtische Museen Junge Kunst und Viadrina.

  • Martha Novak Clinkscale: Makers of the Piano. Volume 2: 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.