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The Model V Aeolian Orchestrelle

This is the fourth Orchestrelle I have owned, and the third model V. I thought the pipe organ would make owning an orchestrelle completely superfluous, and after I sold the great solo model F that I had for many years, dear though it was to me, I was sure I would not miss it. The current model V came along, and my love for these wonderful instruments was rekindled.

This machine, made in 1900 has featured recently in a delightful CD called “Rainbows and Rendezvous” and is a joy to pedal, as well as listen to. The reason lies in the attention to good gasketry which is so important when there are potentially 348 wind holes in the back boards which can amass a huge leakage between them.

The late Richard Vance was the most thorough of restorers, and compiled a very detailed account of the restoration of a model W Orchestrelle, which I will not duplicate here. With thorough testing at each stage as the tone ranks are re-inserted one by one, note by note, valve by valve it is possible to end up with a virtually leak-proof instrument. This means that even when all stops are drawn, one is able to pump without breaking into a sweat. This may be bad news for those people who have machines in their music room which would be more at home in a gym!

The quality of the reeds used in these earlier instruments, that is pre 1900, was, in my opinion often superior to the later ones. Model Vs were made at least up until 1914. The bass reeds were especially good on the earlier ones that I have experienced.

Anyone wanting restoration work done on their Orchestrelle is welcome to contact me for more details.

Click on images below to view larger

Detail of transmision.
Detail of transmision.
Roll drive motor showing slider valves.
Roll drive motor
showing slider valves.
Tone ranks and spool box.
Tone ranks and spool box.