The family-owned business Küng Blockflöten was founded back in 1933. Though much has changed since then, our location and our goal of producing beautifully sounding, high quality, and beautifully shaped recorders have always remained the same and are not going to change. Learn more about our corporate history.
Franz Küng – born in Schaffhausen in 1906 – was a piano maker before buying the villa on Grabenstrasse in Schaffhausen to found a music store there in 1933. A few years later, he started building recorders since those were impossible to get from Germany during the war. He found his attempts of copying the old German recorders so fascinating that he dedicated himself entirely to the development of well-tuned and beautiful recorders from then onwards.
Franz Küng had focused entirely on the further development of his recorders during the first few years. Only on the request of Basel’s Music Academy Schola Cantorum Basiliensis did he start building the first soprano and alto school recorders in 415 Hz in the late 1940s. He won first prizes with his alto and bass recorders in 1951. Expansion of the size range and use of exotic woods such as palisander, grenadilla, or rosewood as working material marked the following years.
Good contacts into the USA made his export business flourish, leading to a production of about 70,000 recorders per year in the 1960s. A great change happened in the late 1960s, when the school recorders in German fingering were dropped from the range, cutting the production volume in half.
The 1960s were a time of pervasive change in other areas as well. An additional floor was added to the factory building and Thomas Küng, the owner’s younger son, became a precision mechanic and flute-maker’s apprentice in his father’s business. The older son Andreas took up studies of recorder and old music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
The manufactory started developing the subbass CLASSICA, launched on the market after just a few years. One by one, further historically inspired models were created, all in 415 and 440 Hz: the sopranino, sixthflute, soprano (also according to Haka), flûte du quatre, alto, and flûte de voix.
Franz Küng died at the age of 77. Instead of retiring, he had continued to work day in and day out, even after his sons Thomas and Andreas had become fully part of his enterprise. The sons managed the company together after his death. First, they had to polish up their reputation again, as the recorders’ quality had started to suffer in the years before. A re-designed corporate identity, use of modern machines, and newly developed models rang in a new era.
1984 – 2007
The Küng recorder range was strongly streamlined during this period. The STUDIO and SUPERIO were developed, as were the now-discontinued CLASSICA and HISTORIA series. The offering was expanded as well. Development of the SUPERIO subbass was a particularly important step that turned out to be the right direction for the company.
These changes gradually improved the company’s image. Thomas Küng always worked on optimising the processes and production basics. He invested in modern, precise computer-controlled machines. Market shares in Germany and the USA gradually improved again as a result of this.
Küng Blockflöten celebrated its 75th anniversary; recorders were more popular than ever. Since making music together in ensembles or orchestras was in vogue, Küng Blockflöten chose to renew its popular ensemble instruments, the SUPERIO greatbass and subbass.
Development of a special new alto recorder in cooperation with external experts was an interesting project from this year. The unique, sophisticated instrument for advanced players was later named the It stands out with its powerful, space-filling sound from low to high registers, clearly differing from the recorders built before.
Andreas Küng sold his shares in the company to Thomas before his son Stefan joined the family business as the third generation in spring 2015. The trained polymechanic and industrial engineer brought new know-how to the company and had the company’s image redesigned in 2021 as its managing director.