1/2 Mittenwald violin, c. 1880
Mittenwald, Germany was established as a major center for violin making in the early 18th century when Mathias Klotz (1656-1743) settled there to build stringed instruments and raise his sons as luthiers. His second son, Sebastian Klotz (1696-c. 1775), became a highly skilled maker and taught his own sons the craft, who in turn continued the family's successful business through the beginning of the 19th century, and also trained numerous apprentices.
With the rise of the industrial revolution of the early 19th century, a period of mass production of stringed instruments built by assembly-line construction occurred in the violin making towns throughout Europe, including Mittenwald and Markneukirchen. As a reaction against the industrialization of instrument making, Maximilian II of Bavaria in 1858 established the Geigenbauschule in Mittenwald, an instrument making school, which helped restore the craft of violin making by individual artisans. Violin maker Ludwig Neuner (1840-1897) also contributed re-establishing violin making as an art form by bringing back to Mittenwald techniques he learned in Paris, in Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume's famous shop.
Today, Mittenwald is home to numerous professional violin makers, as well as students at the world-renowned Geigenbauschule. It is also a popular tour destination, where violin enthusiasts can visit the Violin Making Museum exhibiting the town's long history of violin making from Mathias Klotz to the present day.