Owners of a pianola

Primarily well-to-do and very rich people owned these innovative instruments, due to the rather high prices (approx. one average annual income) of a pianola or push-up player and the accompanying piano rolls. In the beginning, manufacturers like Welte focused exclusively on royal and princely customers - not only in view of the high prices but also because the highest amount of artistic ambition was expected there. Aeolian began very early to expressly name VIPs as their customers. Later, Hupfeld and Welte considered themselves obliged to publish specific customer lists - mainly featuring well-known and selling names.


Welte-Mignon in your home

M. Welte & Söhne GmbH, Freiburg, published a small catalog about 1914 that featured on 25 pages photos of Welte instruments in the rooms of famous customers. The instruments are seen in different styles appropriate for the respective parlor, music room, study, reception room, the vestibule etc. Also, quotes of the artists and owners praising the Welte system are listed there.


Welte-Mignon references and customers

Many owners of a Welte instrument are listed in this small catalog and further publications, - we list them here uncommented, to give an impression of the kind of houses that kept these instruments. This list is not complete, of course - it may be assumed that more than 6,000 Welte instruments were built. Only rarely are Welte instruments still in possession of their first owners - it happens now and then, however, that today, 100 years later, faithfully restored Welte instruments are acquired by descendants of their former owners.

Extract from the list of the customers of M. Welte & sons:

His Royal Highness Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden

His Highness Prince Thurn and Taxis

His Royal Highness Prince Alfons of Bavaria

His Royal Highness Herzog Carl of Munich

His Majesty King Georg of Greece

His Majesty King of Belgium

Her Majesty Queen Margaritta of Italy

Her Majesty Helene of Italy

Her Majesty Queen of Naples

His Majesty Imperial Le Sultan Constantinople

Son Altesse Royale Le Kedive d'Egypte

His Majesty King of Siam

Son Altesse Imperiale le Duc Georg de Leuchtenberg

Le Duc de Montpensier, Paris

His Highness Prince Hohenlohe Paris of André Cannes

Baron de l'Espée, Paris

His Highness Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich

His Highness Prince Rudolph Lichtenstein

His Highness the Acting Prince Johann of Lichtenstein

Her Highness Princess Widow Schwarzburg-Sondershausen

His Highness Prince Dolgurucki, Rome

Her Highness Princess of Battenberg, Darmstadt

Her Grace de Duchesse of Manchester

Her Duchess of Marlborough (née Vanderbild)

Count Fritz of Hachenburg

Prince Wittgenstein, Heidelberg

Countess M. Branicka, Bjelaia

Count Kossakowski, Warsaw

Count Ph v. Kageneck, Freiburg

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Connaught St. James

Lord Pirrie, London-Belfast

Field Marshall Lord Roberts

Count Limburg-Styrum, Berlin

Imperial Count Fritz of Hochberg, Halbau

Lord Wolsely, Hampton Court

Earl of Dysart, Richmond

His Grace the Duke of Newcastle London

General Tan Hamilton, Malta

Lieutenant General A. A. Vakulovsky Dotshinsky, St. Petersburg

Real State Councilor A. P. Elieseyev, St. Petersburg

Count A. A. Orloff-Dawydow, St. Petersburg

Upper Controllr of Baroness of Reitzenstein

Baron of Venningen Baden-Baden

Baron of Goldschmidt Rothschild, Frankfurt am Main

Baron of Thiele-Winkler, Vollratsruhe

Baron Teixeira de Mattos, Rotterdam

Baron of Barnekow, Altmarrzin

Baron of Blanckenburg-Schötzow

His Excellency Baron of Bodman, Freiburg

His Excellency Dr Bürklin Real Privy Councilor, Karlsruhe

His Excellency Privy councilor Röntgen, Munich

His Excellency Minister Ruhstrat, Oldenburg

General manager Ballin, Hamburg

Director Captain von Grummer, Hamburg

Imperial consul Ferd. Schott, Gibraltar

Central Director Ferd. Knight of Böhm-Bowenberg, Vienna

Great Industrial Ludwig Knight of Liebig of Reichenberg, Bohemia

Professor Dr. Max Schottelius, Freiburg

Manufacturer A. Dietler, Freiburg

Manufacturer Heinr. Brenzinger, Freiburg

Manufacturer Theod. Kromer, Freiburg

J. Himmelsbach, Freiburg

Trustafarian Theod. Ganz, Freiburg

Druggist Höltscher, Freiburg

Ivan Hörner Pensioner, Freiburg

Franz Pyhrr Director, Freiburg

Mrs. Isenberg, Glotterbad and Bremen

Manufacturer Berth. Ziegler, Todtnau

Great Industrial A. ten Brink, Arlen-Rielasingen

Councilor of Commerce A. Wacker, Schwachen

Konstant Kraft, Karlsruhe

Max Schwab, Karlsruhe

Dr Knittel, Karlsruhe

F. Winkelsröder, Pforzheim

Director F. Artmann, Mannheim

Councilor of Commerce H. Vögele, Mannheim and Triberg

E. Lämmert, Mannheim

Willy Kaufmann, Mannheim

Prof. Krehl, Heidelberg

Councilor of Commerce Schott, Heidelberg

Privy Councilor Dr Gans, Frankfurt am Main

Director Schäfer, Frankfurt am Main

DirectorHaber, Frankfurt am Main

H. Field Suhl, Frankfurt am Main

Mrs. von Deusler, Frankfurt am Main

Consul general Weinberg, Frankfurt am Main

Dr Lohsen, Frankfurt am Main

Fabrikant W. Haller, Friedberg near Frankfurt am Main

Ludwig Ganz, Mainz

Manufacturer Franz Gastell, Mainz

Manufacturer (champagne wine producer) Otto Henkell, Wiesbaden

A. Th. Schüfer, Wiesbaden

H.W.Pfühler sen., Wiesbaden

A. Domeier, Wiesbaden

M. Sutorius, Wiesbaden

Dr. Graefe, Wiesbaden

Councilor of Commerce Rüping, Wiesbaden

Councilor of Commerce Wünsch, Rothenburg (Tauber)

Privy Government Building Surveyor von Rieppel, Nuremberg

Privy Councilor of Commerce R. Wetzler, Eupen (Rhld).

Councilor of Commerce Engelhorn, Stuttgart

Councilor of Commerce Dr. Enke, Stuttgart

Senior Government Building Surveyor Weigle, Stuttgart

Prof. Hofmeister Senior medical officer, Stuttgart

Dr. Karl Höhn, Ulm

Privy councilor Benger, Uhlbach

Councilor of Commerce A. Junghans, Schramberg

Dr. Kuhlmann lawyer, Dortmund

Major von Oeser, Mulhouse

Pensioner Sager, Colmar

Manufacturer Aug. Michel, Strasbourg

Dr. Sorgius, Strasbourg

Hubert de Wendel, Hayingen

General manager Großberger, Kneutlingen-Hütte

Councilor of Commerce Behrens, Hannover

Councilor of Commerce Hornschuh, Hannover

Gust. Heise, Hannover

Banker S. L. Mayer, Hannover

Scenery Councilor Baron v. Spörcken, Lüdersburg



After Welte systems were also available in America - and later licensed and sold -, the number of famous customers who owned this system and are sometimes mentioned in the accompanying list increased there as well, of course. A part of the piano rolls available for the German Welte system was also available for the Licensee Version, the references of the German Welte red system were also used for advertisement there - especially with regard to the numerous royal families and great industrialists named.



Hupfeld's Phonola catalog from 1908 contains several pages of listed customers to whom instruments were delivered - see the series of images below. Otherwise, Hupfeld advertized rather by quoting customers - as for example for the DEA system. The popularity of Hupfeld's DEA and, later, the Triphonola systems was probably much lower than that of the Welte red and green systems.


Pianola references from brochures

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