Popper Salon Orchestra No.1 with Harmonium

       Originally built from 1912 into the 1920's. This was one of the most popular Orchestrion model Popper made. Instruments consists of Piano, Mandolin, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Bells, Xylophone, Cymbal, Triangle and Wood Block. Also has a double rank

of pipes ( Violin and Cello). This unit is also equipped with the optional Harmonium. This unit is 9 1/2 foot tall, 6 foot wide and a little over 3 foot deep.



Player Action

       Unfortunately silicone and PVC-E glue was used on the previous work preformed on this instrument which takes extra time to prep the surfaces for the use of the Correct materials. This player uses Pillow/Puffer Pouches. There are 2 issues here.1. The pouches where replaced with leather and where originally made of Zephyr skin. Zephyr Pillow Pouched are much more responsive and air tight.2. Cardboard donuts where used to attach the pouches can leak in time and the cardboard can split (see picture) causing that note not to play among other problems. New donuts are made of packing leather. This pneumatic action is divided into 2 sections for expression. Both section has its own regulated vacuum source operated by the roll. The divider in the vacuum chamber was neglected when last worked on and the vacuum was allowed to pass through disabling the expression capability. See pictures for repairs.        

Pressure/Vac Pump

       The main issue among many with this pump was on the vacuum side. As noted in the pictures, the main vacuum output hole was blocked by the pneumatic inside the control box that turned off and on the vacuum supply. There was only a 1/8” slit allowing the vacuum to pass through. The main hole was widened and a new hole was made that was not obstructed by anything. That should do the trick!

Xylophone and Glockenspiel (bells)

       A lot of special care is put into the Xylophone and Bells being that they are principal instruments and need to operate and sound the best they can. I have had great success in the past adding a couple of “upgrades” to the xylophone that greatly improves the performance and sound. Throughout the years the mallet shanks start to warp and bend, causing the mallet heads to deaden out on the bars (stopping the tone short). There is the option to heat and bend the shanks back to their original position but in the future they will just warp again. So, to permanently correct this problem while building new Pneumatics, a “limit adjusting screw” was added to each pneumatic and a leather bumper was installed inside the pneumatic so the screw wont wear into the wood. Now the mallet travel can be adjusted to prevent the mallets from bottoming out on the bars giving the xylophone a nice clean tone. Another addition was adding a spring rail similar to the same design as the Bell unit. Some Poppers have limited space and this can’t be performed but in many cases it can. The main problem with the original “hinge springs” is that you can’t achieve equal tension from one pneumatic to another and ultimately affects the repetition and volume. Even though some might argue it’s a small difference, this is one of many reasons why our restorations sound like no others, because nothing gets over looked. Every small regulation will guarantee success at the end!

      Additionally, all bars where tuned, Xylophone and Bells. When restoring Orchestrions it always amazes me how off tune the Xylophones and Glockenspiels are. In this case when originally tested, one bar would be 25cents flat and the neighboring bar be 20cents sharp. If you tuned a piano like this it would sound horrible!  Tuning bars isn’t a quick process being that each time you grind a bar for tuning heat is generated and the bar must cool back down to room temperature so an accurate reading can be made. It normally takes 3 tunings between rests to get the bars tuned SPOT ON! For some reason the bell bars where painted black. Paint was removed, buffed and plated and tuned.


Register box when opened for the first time. Seats where sealed with silicone. A sloppy job at that! Will be adding more pictures as completed.

Miscellaneous completed items

Pictures will be added to this section throughout restoration.




Note: The "moving Painting will be completed very soon. When installed new pictures will be added. Please check back.


Audio and Video **Click play to listen!







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