Our story

Laszlo Pinter, a refugee from the Hungarian Revolution, arrived in this country with his wife and young daughter in 1957. He brought the meticulous skills of sculpting and matching, cutting and gluing wood into master violins.

During both WWII and the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, Laszlo, his brother, and father had all been interned in work camps. By the graces of a local acquaintance within the military ranks, young Laszlo was spared from a second execution attempt. It was then that he made the life or death decision to leave the country immediately. With nothing more than the clothes on his back and a young family, they said their farewells and escaped into Austria by night. This was not an unfamiliar story for many during this era.

Upon arriving in the United States and finally settling in Chicago, it wasn’t long before Laszlo was again passionately doing what he loved most - working on violins. Initially he started at Lyon & Healy, then worked for William Lewis and Son. With the encouragement of Wm Lewis and Son President, Harry Benson, the fiercely independent Laszlo set out on his own in late 1966. Pinter’s Violin Shop opened in the spring of 1967 in the Lakeview/Wrigleville area and remained open until 1999.

Fast-forward nearly twenty years to the present day and Laszlo Jr. has decided to continue in his father’s footsteps and re-open the shop. Now occupying a converted warehouse space in Humboldt Park, the familiar sight of varnishes, woods and tools are on display and in use once again.