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Restoration of Welte Philharmonic Organ

The Welte Philharmonic Organ was removed from the building for the Museum for Musical Automatons as part of restoration work at the end of 1998 after nearly 30 years in service in the old museum and stored. Efforts were already underway, however, to return the organ fully restored to the new museum. A restoration contract was only awarded to the company organ builder Kuhn, Männedorf, in 2006. During the restoration, it was determined that the Britannic organ and the current Seewen instrument were one and the same organ and that very little had actually changed in the course of its 90-year history.

The pipe work, the off-note motors and possibly even the key action were either original parts or only slightly modified by the manufacturer. Even the expansions to the organ from 1920 and 1937 can be considered as quasi-authentic, since they were fully carried out by the Welte company; overall, the work represents a significant expansion to basic model V-VI. The few missing or damaged pipes were replaced during the restoration by original, existing Welte pipes or carefully reconstructed using the company's technical methods and standards.

A new housing was manufactured integrating the original swell wall since no housing for the organ survived the years in Stuttgart or Wipperfürth.

Britanik reference

Britannic reference No. 1
Britannic reference No. 2
Britannic reference No. 3
Another reference to the Britannic
Rebuilding the organ: Ueli Schaerer, Christoph E. Hänggi, Heinrich Weiss and Georg Hofmeier
David Rumsey testing the organ during its rebuild


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Further information

Image galleries

Restoration work
Restoration work
Rebuilding the organ
Rebuilding the organ
Heinrich Weiss and his daughter Susanne Weiss starting the organ on 28 September 2007
Heinrich Weiss and his daughter Susanne Weiss starting the organ on 28 September 2007


Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA - Swiss Federal Office of Culture FOC
http://www.bundesmuseen.ch/musikautomaten/britannic_orgel/00051/index.html?lang=en