Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Family of Rueckers

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Famous organ and piano-forte builders of Antwerp. Hans Rueckers, the founder, lived in Amsterdam at the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, where he became a member of the Guild of St. Luke and was active principally as organ-builder. He died in 1640 or 1641. In what year the house which he established in Amsterdam was transferred to Antwerp is not known, but it was in the latter city that it attained its renown. Hans Rueckers originated a spinet (forerunner of the piano-forte) with two keyboards, which could be played singly or simultaneously. They could be coupled, a higher octave on one keyboard, with a lower octave on the other, thereby doubling the sonority. Hans Rueckers' son, Andreas, b. in 1579, still further perfected the mechanism of their instruments, which gained world-wide celebrity under Andreas the Younger during the second half of the seventeenth century, their importance continuing under his successors throughout the greater part of the eighteenth. Rueckers' pianos were exported to foreign countries, particularly to England, and sold for the price, in those days fabulous, of 3000 francs. Many of these instruments were decorated by famous painters, which caused some of them to be destroyed so that the paintings might be preserved.

RIMBAULT, The Pianoforte, its Origin, Progress, and Construction (London, 1860); HOPKINS, Old Keyboard Instruments (London, 1887); Musikalisches Konversationslexikon (Berlin, 1877).

JOSEPH OTTEN