The Welte-Philharmonie organs

The immense success of the Welte-Mignon system amongst artists and audiences alike encouraged the Welte Company to transfer the principle of the performance-reproducing piano to the organ. The result was the Welte-Philharmonie organ, which was premiered at the 1911 Turin World Exhibition held between 29 April and 31 October 1911.

As was being achieved with the piano-based Welte-Mignon system, Welte-Philharmonie organs offered the possibility of reproducing performances by well-known organists of the day. Owners of these organs could purchase music played by renowned artists for enjoyment in their luxurious residences in true-to-life quality.

Welte-Philharmonie organs were extremely sophisticated instruments; although most incorporated a roll-operated mechanism for automatic playback, they were also playable in a conventional manner from the console. Orders for these self-playing organs - which gradually grew in size and specification - came from wealthy industrialists and aristocrats occupying the upper strata of society, as well as top hotels. They were installed in concert halls or venues that were often purpose-built to accommodate the instruments.