Neue Notenrollen
Close this search box.

Which role did Feurich and Popper play?

As is so often the case with major developments, it was several ingenious people who made Welte-Mignon a global success. Bockisch-Welte-Popper-Feurich (photo from the Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau No 25, March 1905) are, in our current estimation, the four personalities in the inner circle who, together with numerous participants and collaborators, are responsible for this success. 

To this day, it has not been possible to clarify exactly how the invention, the product maturity, the market launch, the marketing, the service, the economic global success and the decline, the end of the Welte-Mignon in connection with M. Welte & Söhne took place, and despite all the initiatives, most of the story is still unclear.

It is our aim to use our activities to help bring together committed experts in the coming months and years so that this adventurous, ingenious, eventful and, above all, musically unique story can be more fully understood and told. We will also successively publish and initiate more for the other German reproduction systems such as Philipps DUCA and Hupfeld DEA/Tri-Phonola as well as Popper Stella.

An article from the Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau (September 1904) describes the first public presentation of the Popper "Artist" at the Easter pre-fair in Leipzig. M. Welte & Söhne (Freiburg) is named as the originator. Undoubtedly the Mignon, still under the "Artist" trade mark registered by Popper. Interestingly, Popper also registered the "Mignon" trademark on 9 April 1904. Popper also registered the "Welte-Mignon" trademark on 28 April 1906, which may have been due to Popper's exclusive rights of representation for Welte-Mignon in Germany. Nevertheless, this is unusual from the manufacturer's point of view.

The discussion about the naming alone will be a subject area that needs to be analysed in more detail, as as far as we know the most heated arguments between Welte, Bockisch and Popper took place here. The name changes from "Artist" to "Mignon" to "Welte-Mignon" indicate that Welte ultimately prevailed - and surprisingly does not mention the alleged main inventor (Karl Bockisch) by name. The importance of Karl Bockisch is clearly emphasised in this article: "Dieses Piano-Orchestrion ebenso wie der Kunstspielapparat “Artist” sind Schöpfungen des Karl Bockisch, …, der als Innovator...”

Bevor jedoch die Erstvorstellung erfolgen konnte, mussten über viele Monate zahlreiche Vorleistungen und sicher auch gelungene und gescheiterte Versuche stattfinden, um die Präsentation auf der Ostervormesse erfolgreich durchführen zu können. Neben der technischen Realisierung war eine der wichtigen Vorbereitungen die Diskussionen um die Marktpositionierung und das Preismodell des Welte-Mignon. Hierzu sind noch weitere Recherchen erforderlich. Ein wichtiger Hinweis findet sich in einem, später noch genauer anzuschauenden Brief von Hugo Popper an seinen Prokuristen Hermann Möhle (Foto: Popper Katalog) aus 1906: “ opinion has always been to either present Mignon as a miracle and demand M 10,000.00 for it, or as a curiosity item, and such an item is already very expensive at M 3,000.00..." (Source: copy of the letter, W. Baus, from the possession of Hanns Popper). At the time, the selling price for the Feurich Welte cabinet in question was M 3,650.00. 

Julius Feurich, as the close friend of Hugo Popper and Ludwig Hupfeld, at the same time the main supplier for Welte, Philipps and Popper reproduction instruments and an important supplier for Hupfeld, certainly also played a key role. The first recording grand piano for Welte recordings is said to have been a Feurich concert grand. Interestingly, twelve grand piano rests were delivered to Popper in 1903/04, but not one to Welte. Were recording instruments possibly built in Leipzig by Popper or Feurich? Mr Bockisch and Mr Welte most probably spent a lot of time in Leipzig in 1903-05.

There are numerous curiosities and gaps in the history of Welte and the other manufacturers of reproduction instruments. This will have to be deciphered together in the near future.

Möchten Sie uns unterstützen?


We love Pianos / Pianolas and offer a lot of extraordinary things on these pages. This involves a lot of time and expenses for us.

We welcome feedback and appreciative support so that we can continue to provide special finds from our worldwide research.


For voluntary contributions at we are very grateful 🤗 in the context of §60 c UrhG, expressly without profit-making intention.

This is a PayPal.Me link, you can find out more about it here:

What is PayPal.Me? | PayPal DE

PayPal.Me | Pay thru link | PayPal DE