Philipps Model 9 Pianella
(No Known Wurlitzer Equivalent)

Original Location: Czechoslovakia

Original Catalogue Specifications:

61 Note Musical Scale:

Pipework: Two ranks of 42 pipes and one rank of 30 pipes, for a total of 114 pipes, with the exact types of pipes currently unknown, although the pipe layout probably follows the usual three-rank Pianella pipe chests format as follows:

These pipe designations are commonly found in three-rank Pianella / Wurlitzer Orchestrions, such as the Wurlitzer style 29C Mandolin PianOrchestra. Oftentimes liberties were taken when describing the tonal characteristics of a particular rank of pipes. A single rank of violin pipes, for instance, with a compass larger than 30 notes might be attributed as containing violins, violas, and/or violoncellos. A single rank of flute pipes might similarly be said to produce the tones of both flutes and piccolos, with different ranges of the same pipe scale being attributed to several musical instruments. Thus, reading the advertised description of a certain machine does not necessarily provide accurate information as to exactly what pipework it might or might not contain.

Trapwork: Composition unknown, although it probably contains the standard compliment of drums and other percussive effects (trapwork) common for a three-rank cabinet style Pianella:


Chronological History:

Circa 1916-18
Manufactured by J.D. Philipps & Son, Bockenheim, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.

Circa 1916-18
Probably originally located in Czechoslovakia.

An unusual feature in this orchestrion is the duplex revolver mechanism, reportedly with full-circle revolver flanges, suggesting that this instrument might contain ten-station (ten music rolls per changer) revolvers. This complex kind of arrangement, consisting of two interconnected roll changers mounted side by side, was generally advertised for use in motion picture theaters. Examples of this are the Philipps Paganini-Geigen-Orchesterwerk Model 10 and 10a, and the Hupfeld Kino-Pan, both of these instruments being a "Photoplayers" type of instrument using orchestrion music rolls to accompany motion pictures. Both the Philipps Model 10(a) and the Kino-Pan were built in a low profile, no-frills, plainly styled cabinet, making it an ideal height to conveniently fit below a movie screen. Still, it was also common for a full sized, ornately decorated orchestrion to perform the same job, standing alongside or near the silver screen. The duplex roll changers offered a large selection of music without repetition, something very important when the instrument was to play continuously without constant human intervention.

While it is currently unknown whether this particular instrument ever entertained movie patrons, the duplex revolver mechanism, as well as some unsubstantiated rumors, suggests that possibility.

Circa 1990s
Künzle collection, Switzerland.

The Model 9 Pianella was reportedly discovered in the basement of a government operated art museum by Fredy Künzle, stored alongside an early Hupfeld Helios II/25 orchestrion with a wooden tracker bar, somewhere in Czechoslovakia. The instrument is basically complete except for the two missing side-wings.

Circa 2000

The Pianella is reportedly located in Germany for restoration.


Information provided by Terry Hathaway, Ken Goldman and Ron Cappel.


Circa 1911/12 Philipps catalogue.