Orchestrions and Mechanical Instruments

>> Restauration of a „Cottage Nr.6“ Pipe Orchestrion by Welte & Söhne / Freiburg 1905

>> Reed stops

>> Popper Piano and Flute Orchestrion I

>> Popper Piano and Flute Orchestrion II

>> Restoration of a barrel organ of August & Bernard Riemer

>> Restoration of a barrel organ with moveable puppets

Here we show you examples from the rich world of the semi and fully automated miracles of invention of the past centuries - realized restorations of historical instrument as well as new constructions.

Restoration of a „Cottage No.6“ organ - orchestrion build by Welte & Söhne/Freiburg 1905

Compass F G – a3


Bass / Accompaniment F,G - h "Zinn" /= Gedackt 16´ (open 8´ from tenor e)
Trombone 8´(c´-f´ labial 8´)

Melody c1 -– a3 Waldflute
Zinn (Prinzipal)
Clarinette 16´

Percussion Kettle Drum
Tympani (2 beaters)
Pauke with Cymbal piano/forte

A: Restoration of the wind chest, the case, the original supply of labial pipes and the pressure bellows while strictly avoiding any loss of historical substance.

The chest with its hanging valves, driven by mechanical action

Opened chest frame

The valve

The windsupply
The pressure magazine with its 6 feeders had to be releathered - the feeders valves had to be renewed.

Pressure bellow

The labial pipework
Most of the wooden labial pipework is original, some missing pipes had to be reconstructed. In general cracks had to be glued, stoppers releathered, missing tuning sliders added, finish renewed, all pipes voiced. The descant of the stop „Zin (= Principal)“ - das middle field of prospect - is original. The outer fields of prospect in tin are bass of „Octave 4´“ and had to be reconstructed.

Waldflute treble

Gedackt treble

Oktave treble

Zinn treble

The lingual Clarinet
Shallots, free reeds and boots of the Clarinet s are completely original. About 40 % of the resonators had been missing.

B: Reconstruction
of partly or in total missing parts, strictly copied after existing original instruments.

New construction of the lost vacuum bellow (sourcing the action).

Vaccum bellow

Windsupply in basement

Gear of bellows

New construction of the in most parts missing primary for note and stop switching. It is sourced by the vacuum bellow situated in the basement and gets its information directly from the note roll.

Vacuum primary

Note motors

Tubes from note player

Note mechanics

Reconstruction( partly original) of the pneumatic stop action, steered by the primary mentioned above .

Stop motors

Stop switching in action

Tubes of stop switching

Reconstruction of the lost supply of reed pipes as there are Trombones, and Trumpetes (boots and shallots partly original – resonators new from brass) and the missing bass pipes (made from tin) of the labial stop ”Octave 4`” after original models.

Reconstruction of the percussion. The instrument being found changed to mechanical action for manual play, most of the percussion parts were missing. Only little substance was left. A lot of detailed information had to be acquired from comparable instruments in European collections for an exact rebuild.

Primary KettleDrum

Kettle Drum

Action Big Drum

Motors of tympani piano and mezzo

Beater of triangle

Big Drum = Tympani

New construction of the Noteplayer
All moulds for casting have been taken from original Welte parts, been casted in brass and finally nickel-plated.

Restored for a private collection in strict comparison to existing parallel instruments.

Reed stops

From the model of the "Welte"-trumpet stop - described within the "restorations" - we developed a new half - stopped Oboe 8´; in its tembre very tight to the real orchestra instrument and by this especially appropriate to large symphonic organs.

Popper Piano und Flute Orchestrion I

We developed a big instrument with many registers and timbres, based on the "Happy Jazz" piano manufactured by Popper during the 1920's. Our enhancement of an original leans upon larger Popper-models and is applicable to all piano orchestrions with enough tracks, including other brands. The instrument now contains - in addition to the unchanged piano part - a drum set, a xylophone mechanism and the lateral organ towers all in one housing.

Please click on picture for enlargement

Given an 88 block scale with 58 sound tracks and 30 switch tracks the orchestration includes:

- Piano with mandolin 58 notes
- Drumset including big and small toms, triangle,
cymbals and woodblock
- Xylophone 27 notes in melody range
- Tubular bells 27 notes in melody range
- Organ 58 notes divided in:
- bass register 20 notes C to f#, orchestrated with
Concert flute 8´ open
Violon 8´ open
- Tenor acompaniment range 11 notes g to f#1
Melody cello 8´ open
Stopped 8´
Concert flote 8´ open
Violon 8´ open
- melody voice 27 notes g1 to a3
Violin 8´ open
Lotos flute 8´ open
Piccolo harmonic 4´ open
Chimney flute 8´ half stopped
Clarinet 16´ - reed pipes

Tremulant and swell make it even more lively.

Aiming for symphonic richness the instrument is able to play all of Popper's "88" music rolls capturing the musical subtleties.

The case made from oak has the measurements: (width, height, depth) 2,90 x 3,20 x 1,10 m

Smaller versions are available the way all kinds of interior needs can be accommodated.

Popper Piano und Flute Orchestrion II

Based on the same style piano manufactured by Popper during the 1920´s ,we built another big symphonic instrument a bit different in specification.

The simplified casework is due to the customers demands and is no copy of a Popper mode. Being made from oak, too, the original piano is not fixed to it. So the enlargement is totally reversible.

The instrument now contains – in addition to the unchanged piano part – an organ part plus a detailed copy of a Popper drum set. Aiming for symphonic richness it is able to play all of Popper´s “88”-music rolls capturing the musical subtleties.

Given an 88- block scale with 58 note tracks and 30 switch tracks the disposition of the orchestrion includes:

- Piano incl. Mandolin, 58 notes
- Drum set incl. Tympani, snare drum, triangle, cymbal, woodblock
- Organ ,58 notes divided in:
- Bass range 20 notes C – f sharp , orchestrated with
Gedeckt 8´
Violon 8´ open
Basoon 8´
- Tenor accompaniment range 11 notes g –fs1
Gedeckt 8´
Cello 8´ open
Flute 4´ open
Oboe 8´
- Melody range 27 notes g1 – a3
Violin I 8´ open
Violin II 8´ open
Gedeckt 8´
Flute 4´ open
Piccolo 2´open
Oboe 8´

Swell makes it even more lively.

Restoration of a barrel organ of August & Bernard Riemer, Kratzau in Bohemia,

About 1850; 2 changeable Barrels. Restored for the Technikmuseum Beilngries/ Bavaria, Germany

- 42 keys
- double feeder bellow
- 4 stopped pipes for bass range permanent playing
- Slider chest with 4 stops:
Gedackt 4´/ accompaniment
Flute 8´/ melody
Trombone 8´/ bass
Trumpet 8´/ contramelody
- bells 5 notes

Restoration of a barrel organ with moveable puppets; back

1 reed stop, compass cdefga – f3, probably of Bohemian origin, middle of the 19th century

Please click on picture for enlargement

Restored for a private collection.