Loesche 1K Orchestrion
Lot 28W
A Lösche K-1 Orchestrion, Circa 1925, with illuminated pictorial automaton,
Sold for US$ 158,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
A Lösche K-1 Orchestrion,
Circa 1925, with illuminated pictorial automaton,

Identification number:
1065 stamped on the piano stack.

With a total of 150 pipes, thirty pipes for each gamba, violin, flute, cello and clarinet ranks, thirty-note xylophone accompaniment, the bass drum with cymbal, snare drum and castanets, the piano with mandolin attachment, in slight canted-corner case with open banister-fret pediment with slender-arched centre and orange globe light boss, above triple-section part bevelled mirror-glass and wave-line reverse painted glass panel inlays of stylised leaves, the main front panel depicting a large waterfall scene before barren mountains, an old mill and dwelling to the right and a working watermill with bridge to the left, illumination feature making the reversed study appear to jump to life including rising/setting sun and water splashes, flanked by the orchestrion accompaniment access doors, each with repeating mirror-glass inset panels with wide fretted brass strap hinges, the overhang on small pierced supports above small double doors with further mirror-glass, storage doors either side of the final fielded panel, on plain plinth base, the whole with detail including incised fluting and alternating ebony and boxwood-check inlay band to relief edges, on wheels.

9'6" high 6'wide 3'deep

Footnotes

  • References:
    Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments, Q. David Bowers, 1972, pp.491-493
    The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments, Arthur A. Reblitz, 2001, p.61
    Automatic Organs, Arthur W. J. G. Ord-Hume, 2007, p.455

    Restoration:
    Reblitz Restorations Inc.

    Footnote:
    One of the intermediate firms in the early 20th century was Paul Lösche, who operated under the name of the Leipzig Orchestrion Works. Lösche as a company was founded on October 2nd 1902 and continued in business until the Great Depression—which marked the sudden end of what we now to refer to as the golden era in the manufacturing of these machines.

    Lösche had showrooms and factories in Germany and marketed their products mainly in Europe—with the result that very few of their products found their way over the Atlantic to the United States of America. Although the firm engaged in the manufacturing of their products, some were sold by other manufactures under different names. Research in recent years, reveals some of the names which were connected to Lösche, whose reputation as a highly respected firm continues to grow in America following the few located examples in the US. For a comprehensive overview, one has to turn to Europe to find the selection.

    It was not uncommon for one company to make a instrument, only for a second firm to market and sell it. This business ideal was also practiced by cylinder music box makers such as H. Capt and Lecoultre, who had up to three different companies and agents working for them at the same time.

    The K-1 model is one of the more popular large-format cabinet orchestrions. The front façade contains, like the Hupfeld Helios Model III/39, a captivating illuminated and animated scene of a perfect-postcard study of the great outdoors. The difference here, is that instead of 3-D features moving in front of a panel which is illuminated from behind, the whole illusion is created by light shone from behind with the moving features in silhouette. This creates a much softer effect and by looking inside to see the workings, they could produce such effects by using less materials and less attention to detail. The result is outstanding and in a way, seeing the workings and how the illuminated moving scenes work at the back, spoils the attraction. It proves therefore that Lösche designs were the work of genius; such wonder from materials and construction methods most primitive.

    Notice how the watermill, which turns from a wheel template with a roll bearing inked dots and dashes, performs a very realistic show from the front. Likewise the waterfall, done very much the same way on the other side, simply lacks the sound effect to make the illusion complete.
    During the course of restoration, it was noted that some of the wood used for the various components, was split, and having had some of the pieces poorly replaced some years ago, it resulted in further splits and failure.
    Very careful sourcing of correct timber and design drawings made from another similar example, has enabled the present display to be seen in operation as it should be. The correct timber was found, carefully cut, shaped and fitted exactly as per the original design. Nothing replaced during restoration is different in design or layout from when it left the factory all those years ago.

    As common as finding a potato on the surface of the moon, here's a very good example of a model rarely seen in America.
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