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Stelzner System Violotta
Made in the Richard Weichold/August Paulus Workshop
Dresden, Saxony, December 1896

Front view Bass side view Back view

Note: Click on any image on this page to see an enlargement.

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.


Inscriptions: 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.
Nut:  ebony.
Tailpiece:  ebony; fluted face with scalloped lower edge; molded saddle carved rather than inlaid.
Tailgut:  plain gut.
Pegs:  four varnished ebony.
Saddle:  ebony.
Endpin:  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

Front view of pegbox Bass side view of pegbox Treble side view of pegbox Back view of pegbox

Neck Heel

Neck heel



Original Case

Original case, closed

Original case, open

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.

Go to Checklist of Stelzner System Bowed Stringed Instruments

Go to Dr. Alfred Stelzner: Pioneer in Violin Acoustics," by James Christensen

Go to James Christensen's Stelzner Research Archive at the NMM

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Most recent update: March 8, 2014

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