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date: 05 June 2020


  • Howard Schott


German family of instrument makers , notable for developing various types of Mechanical instrument. The firm, which began by making Orchestrion organs, was founded in 1832 at Vörenbach and later moved to Freiburg. In 1904 M. Welte & Söhne introduced the first reproducing Player piano under the name of ‘Welte-Mignon’ (see also Reproducing piano fig.1). Originally in the form of a separate player mechanism placed in front of the keyboard of a normal piano, it was later built into specially constructed grands and uprights by such prominent makers as Steinway and Gaveau. Shortly afterwards Welte adapted this mechanism to player pipe organs of considerable complexity, some to specifications by Max Reger; these were sold under the trade name ‘Welte-Philharmonie’. Around 1933 Edwin Welte (1876–1957) designed the Lichtton-Orgel (an electronic organ), also known as the Welte organ. The firm suffered as interest in mechanical pianos and organs declined and it was liquidated shortly after the Freiburg premises were destroyed in ...

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