Original Location: Brussels, Belgium
The original location for this Paganini Orchestrion is unknown for certain. In an e-mail communication by Dick van Minnen on August 8, 2000, he mentions that "the instrument toured around in several places like Bladel (a "brassserie" / lunchroom in Brussels, Belgium). Whatever the case, the overall excellent condition of the Paganini Orchestrion supports the idea that it has had very few owners.
Pierre Paul van Roy, from Aalst, Belgium, acquired the Paganini Orchestrion from its original location in Brussels, Belgium. He was a former employee from Gavioli in Paris, and later produced coin operated barrel orchestrions, such as the one now on display in the Utrecht museum. His son in law was the music arranger. Also he was one of the first collectors in Belgium. In 1958, when he was retired, he sold the 65 Gavioli from his collection, which came from a Brussels rental firm called Fondu, and the barrel orchestrion to the Utrecht museum, while he promised to sell the Paganini Orchestrion somewhat later. The Paganini went from Pierre Paul van Roy straight to Utrecht in 1962, where Pierre helped set it up and did some repair work.
The Paganini Orchestrion was received the Museum Speelklok in 1962, It was from the private collection of Pierre Paul van Roy, of Aalst, Belgium. When received it was mechanically complete and in pristine condition, and it is currently on display at the Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement, Utrecht, Holland, and is reportedly in good playing condition.
Here is the text from an e-mail attachment from Dick van Minnen (dated August 28, 2000) relating some of the history of the Paganini Orchestrion:
We have received your mail and I am happy in answering you as follows:
The National Museum bought the Philipps Paganini (serial number 10640) in 1962 from Mr. Pierre Paul van Roy. The instrument toured around in several places like Bladel (a "brassserie" / lunchroom in Brussels, Belgium).
When I was 14 years old I was already much involved in the getting of the instrument (my father was a board member of the museum). I even helped gluing the bellows!! And now, being a restorer in the museum, I am still very much involved!
A restoration took place by Mr. de Roy about ca. 40 years ago when the museum was housed in the wing of the Museum Catharijne Convent.
Another restoration took place in 1971 when we were housed at 'Achter den Dom' by father and son King [Ed. Former employees of Philipps. See "The Orchestrion Builders; The Story of the Leopold King Family" elsewhere in this web site].
The last restoration took place here in Utrecht (1993) by Fred Bernauw / Jorg. Borchardt / restoration department Museum StP on the occasion of a museum summer exposition called "Waiter, music".
On May 1, 2012, Jan Kees de Ruijter (Collectiebeheer – Muziek at the Museum Speelklok) in an e-mail submitted some major historical corrections to this page. He also reported that the museum now has a library of recut Philipps PP rolls, as well as there had been a recent restoration so that the Paganini Orchestrion is now playing "quite well."
To date, this is the only factory original Philipps Pianella Paganini Orchestrion that is currently known to have survived. Keep in mind here that a Paganini Orchestrion is something quite different than the relatively small Paganini Geigen (Violin) Piano, which does not contain such things as reed pipes, chimes, xylophone, or any drums and other trapwork effects. At least three Model 3 cabinet style Paganini machines and numerous keyboard style Paganini Violin Piano type instruments are know to exist.