Stelzner System Violotta
Made in the Richard Weichold/August Paulus Workshop
Dresden, Saxony, December 1896
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NMM 6719. Violotta made in Richard Weichold/August Paulus workshop, Dresden, Saxony, December 1896. Stelzner System. Serial no. 325. Gift of Larry Anderson and David Folland, Northfield, Minnesota, 1998.
Written in black ink on brown paper label: No 325. Dresden, Dec. 96. / Dr. Alfred Stelzner inv.
Branded on inside of back above label, the first line of text curved downward at each end: NACH Dr ALFRED STELZNER’S / — · — / SYSTEM
Branded on lower rib near endpin, under varnish: No [to bass side of endpin] ["o" underline incised] / 3 2 5 [to treble side of endpin, each number branded with separate die]
Top: two-piece, quarter-cut spruce: narrow grain broadening toward the flanks.
Back: two-piece, quarter-cut maple: broad curl descending from center joint.
Ribs: quarter-cut maple: broad curl angled to right on bass side, angled to left on treble side; lower ribs divided by purfling strip; rib corners chamfered.
Head and neck: maple: very broad curl; long pegbox with shoulders; neck angled steeply back.
Edging: re-curve extends close to edge, forming ridge.
Varnish: dark red with fine craquelure.
Fingerboard: ebony; beveled at G-string position.
Tailpiece: ebony; fluted face with scalloped lower edge; molded saddle carved rather than inlaid.
Tailgut: plain gut.
Pegs: four varnished ebony.
Bridge: tall bridge with fancy heart, small circular kidneys below angled, fancy kidneys, and tall, violoncello-bridge-style feet.
F-holes: leaf-shaped eyes; rounded wings; notch corners rounded.
Linings: light hardwood; extend over corner blocks.
Corner blocks: spruce.
Top block: spruce; triangular with concave sides.
Bottom block: spruce; triangular with concave sides.
Pegbox and Scroll Views
Original black-painted, pine case with green, wool-felt lining and nickel-plated brass hardware and handle.
Total violotta length: 709 mm
Back length: 422 mm
Stop length: 236 mm
Vibrating string length: 407 mm
Neck length (bottom of nut to ribs): 164 mm
Upper bout width: 225 mm
Center bout width: 148 mm
Lower bout width: 275 mm
Upper rib height: 44-60 mm
Center rib height: 60-62 mm
Lower rib height: 56-62 mm
Lit.: Margaret Downie Banks, "A Physicist’s Unfulfilled Prophecy: Alfred Stelzner’s Experiment in Violin Reform," America's Shrine to Music Museum Newsletter 26, No. 2 (May 1999), pp. 4-5.
James Christensen, "Dr. Stelzner’s Original Instruments," The Strad 112, No. 1338 (October 2001) p. 1125.
National Music Museum
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Vermillion, SD 57069