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The firm of Welte & Sohns was among the earliest music merchants, established in 1849 and operated until the mid 20th century from its facilities in Waldkirch and Freiburg, Germany.  During the highest production sales years from about 1890 thru 1914 (beginning of WW1) the firm has numerous offices located around the world including excellent an excellent sales branch in the USA--- thru its New York City office.

 

Only a few German firms can claim such a long or distinguished history.  Welte produced a variety of  "Cottage & Concert" Orchestrions many of which can be seen in the lovely catalog views presented here.   We refer you to the Encyclopedia of Musical Instrument book, pages 632 thru 654 for all the details.   This M. Welte catalog was likely promoting products from the 1890-1915 era.

Mills Novelty Co. arranged the sale of the largest surviving Welte Concert Orchestrion---the Welte Wotan several years ago.  Only two examples are known, in the Neithercutt Collection in California and the  Milhous Collection of  Florida.   Included here is a photo taken during the assembly of Milhous Welte Wotan, the largest remaining "concert style" instrument in the world.   Measuring approximately fifteen feet wide, ten feet deep and eighteen feet tall.   The Wotan weights an estimated 6,000 lbs.    The instrument and case are actually two seperate pieces.  The gallery on top  weights approximately 1,500 lbs.   We were proud to have been selected to arrange for its sale, disassembly, transport, and reassembly at its current Florida home!