An old craft is revived
Self-playing musical instruments work in many different ways. Keeping them "alive" and showing them to the museum's visitors is a major challenge. That is why our workshop is the basis of the museum. Here the instruments are restored and maintained using old techniques and original materials. Of course, we are also able to add missing parts or to build complete instruments. For this we can fall back on a modern machine park.
The profession of "orchestrion builder" died out with the end of the era of mechanical musical instruments. That is why today we are dependent on gathering knowledge from all possible sources and supplementing it with personal experience. Siegfried Wendel's teacher was Leopold King, who had worked for 36 years as a master craftsman at the famous Philipps Orchestrion Factory in Frankfurt/Main (Germany). Wendel studied with L. King for five years. He passed his knowledge on to his son Jens.
Our workshop team is complemented by Jörg Borchardt, a trained piano and organ builder, who gave up his independence in 2015 and took over management of the workshop. His experience with more than 30 years in the restoration of self-playing musical instruments is an ideal addition to our museum.
In the workshop not only old museum pieces are restored, but also old mechanical musical instruments are reconstructed and sold according to old construction plans.
A "Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violina Orchestra" has been reconstructed. The "Weber-Maesto-Orchestrion" was also reproduced four times true to the original. Jens Wendel's third major project was the replica of the "Philipps-Paganini-Monstre-Orchestrion". The difficulty was that the original instrument no longer estists, only a photo from an old Philipps Paganini catalogue. The Paganini Monstre was commissioned by the Chicago collector couple Sherry and Jim Krughoff. The culmination of Jens Wendel's work was the reconstruction of a Hupfeld pan orchestra.
Through the constant expansion and optimization of our workshop, we are also able to process external orders quickly and cost-effectively. If you own a pianola, an orchestrion or another self-playing musical instrument and would like to have it restored, please do not hesitate to contact us without obligation.