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In 1880, brothers Jos and Mathieu Kessels started a music publishing company in Heerlen and later started selling musical instruments as well. Jos left the company in 1884 and Mathieu took over the whole company.
In 1886 he moved to Tilburg and started to repair brass instruments in his "Nederlandsche Fabriek van Muziekinstrumenten" (Dutch Factory of Musical Instruments). From 1889 on, he also manufactured new instruments. Over the years, the company expanded and became internationally succesful.
In 1900, his 11 year old daughter Marietje was raped and murdered. This not only took a heavy toll on the Kessels family, but also on the company. The original suspects were acquitted, but later, suspicions arose that a Catholic pastor was the perpetrator. It is told that a representative of the Vatican came to Mathieu in 1908 to request not to prosecute the pastor, even after admitting that he was guilty. Kessels decided to indeed not prosecute, because he was the main supplier of the mostly Catholic bands and orchestra's in the Netherlands and Belgium, and he feared that he could lose this position if he went against the Catholic church. The identity of the real killer still remains a mystery today.
In 1909, financial disaster struck the company, as a large order of piano's was not paid after delivery. Also both World Wars and the crisis in the 1930's took their toll on the company and it closed in 1955.
After a dispute over a promised salary, son Hendrik moved to The Hague in 1931 and started his own factory there, but already in 1934 he moved the factory to Maastricht and in 1939 he was back in Tilburg. Hendrik was allegedly not very good in running a business.