History of Franke, violin maker family

We carry the craftsmanship of the fourth generation luthier family.

The beginnings (1st Generation)

Great – grandfather: Max Franke 1880 – 1965
(Junior brother of Paul Franke 1876 – 1947, also a violinmaker in Nürnberg)

Max Franke studied violin making with Otto Jäger in Frankfurt/Oder, Germany, from 1894 – 1898. Between 1898 – 1900, he worked in the workshop of Heinrich Kessler (Mannheim) and Richard Heberlein (Nürnberg). He was the first assistant of Albin Wilfer in Leipzig from 1900 – 1921. On 1st April 1921, he started his own business in Leipzig. His work received awards on numerous occasions. In 1938, he won the gold medal in a competition with all violinmakers from all over Germany.

His invaluable working experience in different workshops had earned him adroit skills in restoring stringed instruments. New stringed instruments made by him, namely violins, violas, celli and violas da gamba were also in great demand.

His four sons Rodolf, Herbert, Bernhard and Joachim, did the apprenticeship with him. That provided a firm foundation for a dynasty of great violinmakers.

2nd Generation

First son: Rudolf Franke 1908-1977
He had his workshop in Wiesbaden; his son Michael Franke then took over the business.

Second son: Herbert Franke 1909-1994
He had his workshop in Mannheim. Upon retirement, Thomas Upoff took over the business. His son Lothar Franke (1932-2002) settled down his workshop in Darmstadt. Upon retirement, his son Jörg Franke, who was born in 1963, took over the business.

Third son: Bernhard Franke 1919-1993
He had his workshop in Stuttgart. After his retirement, Autvant Miller took over the shop.

Fourth son: Joachim Franke born 2nd Feb 1926
He took over the workshop in Leipzig from his father in 1959.

3rd Generation

Wolfgang Franke 1951 - now
(Son of Joachim Franke)

Wolfgang Franke did apprenticeship with his father Joachim in 1965-1968. In 1974, Wolfgang settled down his own business in Leipzig. On 5th November 1978, Andreas (Andy) Franke, the son of Wolfgang, was born.