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Beauty, Rarity, History...The M.S. Rau Antiques Blog

Bill Rau

M.S. Rau Antiques

Considered one of the foremost experts on 18th- and 19th-century European and American antiques and fine art, Bill Rau has worked in the family-owned gallery for over 30 years. Bill's extensive knowledge and reputation as a leader places him among the most respected antique experts and gallery owners today.

A New Orleans institution for 100 years, M.S. Rau Antiques is among the premier antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, their 30,000 square foot showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of rare antiques, important fine art and breathtaking jewelry.

Orchestrion Organ Brings Music to Life

  • The Arburo Orchestrion Organ creates incredible music previously accomplished by a full orchestra

    The Arburo Orchestrion Organ creates incredible music previously accomplished by a full orchestra

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

  • This early model features stand-alone instruments, including drums, an organ, a triangle and a piano accordion

    This early model features stand-alone instruments, including drums, an organ, a triangle and a piano accordion

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

  • Each Orchestrion was made to order, by hand.  No two Arburos were ever made alike.

    Each Orchestrion was made to order, by hand. No two Arburos were ever made alike.

    M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

You enter a room filled with spirited music; the rhythm grabbing you immediately as it travels through the air. Drums keep time to a bright organ and accordion melody peppered with the crisp ring of a triangle. Certainly such a lively and delightful sound would be the collaborative effort of several talented musicians...right? 

A complete musical band set within a sleek Art Deco cabinet, this remarkable Orchestrion Organ by the Belgian firm of Arburo has the ability to create an incredible level of sound. High air pressure is used to control the workings within via a large bellows. The mechanism utilizes actual, stand-alone instruments, including base and snare drums, an organ, a triangle and a piano accordion to create truly magnificent music. With the press of a button, the Orchestrion comes to life, including the visible piano accordion, which appears to press its keys and open its bellows by itself!

Each of Arburo's Orchestrions were made-to-order, one at a time, and was crafted entirely by hand, even down to the paper music rolls. Very few examples of these stunning antiques exist today, especially early models in the exceptional working condition of this amazing machine. Considering too, that no two Orchestrions were ever made alike, this incredible organ is truly a one-of-a-kind masterpiece of ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Founded by Arthur Bursens and Gusatv Roels in 1928, Arburo was known for its tremendously high quality pieces, and insisted upon creating each piece by hand in their Hoboken workshop. The Orchestrion became the firm's most famed creation, and this particular example dates to the early days of Arburo, sometime between 1928 and 1929, making it perhaps one of the first Orchestrions ever made.

To learn more and view a video of this amazing Orchestrion in action, click here.

 

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