LEIBL, Ernst Robert – follower of Boehm & Mendleradmin
Very little is known about Ernst Robert LEIBL. It seems that he was born in Adorf in Vogtland, located in Saxony, Germany in 1871. Ernst Robert, or Robert LEIBL [which it seems he preferred] may well have been the son of Robert LEIBL. Robert LEIBL senior lived and worked for many years as a watchman for the mechanical cotton weaving company Gebrüder Uebel in Adorf. He was married to Friedrike Bönniger. Our Robert Leibl had at least one sibling – her name was Anna [more about her later].
The literature indicates that Robert was trained by Gebrüder MÖNNIG in Markneukirchen and then was a journeyman working for Karl MENDLER in Munich between 1889-1891. Robert began living in Nuremberg in 1899 and is listed as a mechanic first, and later as an instrument maker.
In 1903, he took over the whole Böhm & Mendler business which he brought to Nuremberg around 1904. He acquired all the drawings, machines, tools and finished and half-finished flutes. It must have been an exciting time for him and he published new price lists and information.
So far so good… but let us not forget the terrible times that were to come – two world wars.
Just before the start of the First World War (1914-1918), Robert’s sister Anna emigrated to the USA. Then Robert’s son, Albert (1906-1981) emigrated to the US in 1927 too. Albert became an American citizen in 1927. As a single man, he enlisted in the US army in 1943 for the duration of the Second World War (1939-1945).
Robert LEIBL kept his workshop running until 1944. In this 40-period it is estimated that he only made around 100 flutes. Only around 20 are thought to have survived. It is not surprising that times were very tough indeed… many of LEIBL’s customers were in fact export clientele, especially Americans. He even started repairing typewriters.
In autumn of 1944, LEIBL’s workshop and home was bombed by the Allied Forces and everything was demolished. Nuremburg was a strategic target in World War II. This signalled the end of the great flute-making tradition of Theobald Böhm and Böhm & Mendler. All the original tools and drawings were completely destroyed.
Robert continued on as a music instrument maker at Austr. 88 in Nuremberg. His son and daughter-in-law Elise travelled to Germany by ship via Rotterdam in 1951. Perhaps they went to see him. Then on 28 January 1957, Robert died.