From Freiburg to the World - 100 Years of the Welte-Mignon
The Factory of Michael Welte und Soehne in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany.
From September 2005 to January 2006, the Augustiner Museum in Freiburg hosted a centenary exhibition in celebration of the
firm of Michael Welte and Sons, makers not only of the Welte-Mignon reproducing piano, but also of fine orchestrions and pipe
organs. The exhibition was opened on 16 September, with speeches from the Mayor, from the Director of the Museum, and from the
man who organised it all, Gerhard Dangel.
Gerhard Dangel opening the Welte Centenary Exhibition.
After this official blessing, a short concert was given on a rare pedal-electric Welte
upright piano, by Denis Hall and Rex Lawson. The piano part of the instrument was manufactured by the firm of Guenther in
Brussels, and consists of two halves, the soundboard and frame assembly, and the keyboard and roll playing mechanism, bolted
securely together when in normal use. This unusual piano plays either Welte green, or standard 88-note rolls.
Denis Hall playing the Welte pedal-electric Guenther upright piano.
It was a tribute to the occasion that Edwin Welte's daughter and granddaughter were in the audience: a reminder that
although the instruments manufactured by Welte travelled the world, the firm was an essentially local one, and indeed remains a source of
pride to the town of Freiburg.
Rex Lawson talking with Edwin Welte's daughter and granddaughter.