The Beginning

"Built in the Heart of Bavaria"

Framus biggest exports had this addition on the body"s nameplate for decades when leaving the factory located in the Frankish town of Bubenreuth. But Framus doesn´t play a role there anymore: the renowned company filed for bankruptcy in the mid seventies and today almost nothing remains of the once biggest European guitar factory that stood in this vocal village from the Erlangen district for many decades.

It is wrong that this center has faded into the past because Fred Wilfer - the founder of "Frankonian musical instruments manufacturing" - played a big part in the creation of the musical instrument center Bubenreuth. After all, the young entrepreneur from Sudetenland was the first who founded a company in Baviera after the Second World War devoted to the manufacturing and trading of violins and guitars. He was the one that lobbied for the settlement of his Egerland countrymen in the Erlangen district after they were expelled from the tradition-rich musical city of Schönbach in 1946.

Hans-Peter Wilfer followed in his fathe´s footsteps and founded Warwick in Eggolsheim in 1982 at the age of 24. After the German reunification he relocated the company"s headquarters to Markneukirchen in the Vogtland region in 1994. He then started an endeavor to bring new life to his father´s lifework - Fred Wilfer had bought back the apparently worthless trademark rights from the liquidator and gave them as a present to his son shortly before his death.

An appreciation for Fred Wilfer´s merits was missing so far. The history and development after the Second World War was fascinating the historian Dr. Christian Hoyer who tried to find out more on the history of the resettlement of the Schoenbach violin-makers.

Meanwhile the public interest in the Framus brand had risen and old Framus instruments, due to their high realizable value and their remarkable sound properties, were partly sold to considerable prices in the vintage market. Reason enough for Hans-Peter Wilfer to support Hoyer´s research. So, historian Dr. Christian Hoyer was engaged to conduct research in relation to the Framus subject.

Wilfer and Hoyer had a meeting in 2001. As a consequence Warwick has endorsed Hoyer´s search for evidence about the past manufacturing in Bubenreuth, something that has taken him already all around the world. Definitely not an easy undertaking, because the company´s archives don´t exist anymore since the liquidation. This endeavor turned into a bigger challenge: ads were placed that stated the need for information and witnesses of that time. Warwick then allocated the necessary funds to buy up old and interesting instrument in order to gain an overview of the company´s manufacturing. But many people helped in the process of filling in the gaps: former co-workers, musicians and endorsers involved with the company, music-loving collectors and many others. This labored and intense phase also included looking in the archives of states, courts, associations and organizations. Even guitarist and former endorser Billy Lorento, who nowadays works as a consultant - under the name Bill Lawrence - for the Fender® Corporation and enjoys his high profile as "King Of Pickups", contributed his part to the story.

When a collection of instruments and documents was finally achieved, it was too hard to deny this knowledge to the public: It was decided that a book be made about Fred Wilfer and the Framus company and that the aforementioned collection was to be displayed and open to the public in a museum dedicated to the history of the Framus factory. The history project of the Warwick company that Hans-Peter Wilfer started in order to revive the Framus brand now reaches the culmination of all the efforts with the opening of the Framus Museum and the publication of a book on the history of Framus in the summer of 2007.