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Stelzner System Violin
Made in the Richard Weichold/August Paulus Workshop
Dresden, Saxony, April 1893

Portrait view

"A few weeks ago in London, before a distinguished invited audience of musicians and amateurs, there was a demonstration of the bowed instruments built by Dr. Alfred Stelzner according to his scientific system. As is well known, Dr. Alfred Stelzner succeeded in solving the puzzle, previously thought insoluble, of the acoustical principles of violin making . . . .  The marvelously noble tone of the new instruments won the hearts of all lovers of music, and when, at the end of the performance, a precious old Cremonese violin was unanimously declared as no equal for the new Stelzner violin, even by its owner, it was no longer possible to deny the claim that Stelzner's instruments are the best fiddles built." (Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Leipzig, December, 1891).

According to Dr. Alfred Stelzner: Pioneer in Violin Acoustics," by James Christensen, "[Stelzner] established production at Wiesbaden even before [Stelzner's] 1891 German patent [for the newly designed violin] was issued, employing the Geigenbaumeister, Richard Wiedemann. In 1893, Stelzner moved his operation to Dresden where Augustus Paulus produced the instruments. Paulus, who had just come to Dresden from Markneukirchen to take over the workshop of Richard Weichold, employed several workers and produced Stelzner's instruments rapidly. Stelzner and Paulus had several assistants or apprentices during the period that their shop in Dresden was in operation. They included Otto Windisch, Wilhelm Brückner (in 1895-1897) and Arnold Bernhardt (before 1905). The last known instrument from their shop, a violotta, was produced in 1899."

Front, Side, and Back Views

Front view Bass side view Back view

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

NMM 10402. Violin made in Richard Weichold/August Paulus workshop, Dresden, Saxony, April 1893. Stelzner System. Serial no. 97. Board of Trustees, 2003.


Inscriptions: Written in black ink on brown paper label:  No 97. Dresden, April 93. / Dr. Alfred Stelzner

Branded (double struck) on inside of back above label, the first line of text curved downward at each end:  NACH Dr ALFRED STELZNER’S / — · — / SYSTEM

Branded on inside of back near soundpost, visible through treble f-hole: PATENTIERT

Branded on lower rib near endpin, under varnish: No [to bass side of endpin] ["o" underline incised] / 9 7 [to treble side of endpin, each number branded with separate die]

Branded on lower rib below endpin, over varnish: + [hollow, outlined cross] 6155.

Top:  two-piece, quarter-cut spruce: medium grain broadening toward the flanks.
Back:  two-piece, quarter-cut maple: medium curl descending from center joint.
Ribs:  quarter-cut maple: prominent, narrow curl angled to right on bass side, angled to left on treble side; wide grain; rib corners chamfered.
Head and neck:  maple: narrow curl; deep scroll chamfers.
Edging:  scooped very close to edge, forming ridge.
Varnish:  medium red-brown; faint craquelure.
Fingerboard:  ebony.
Nut:  ebony; later; original preserved separately.
Tailpiece:  ebony; fluted face with scalloped lower edge; molded saddle carved rather than inlaid.
Tailgut:  red gut.
Pegs:  four varnished ebony.
Saddle:  ebony.
Endpin:  ebony; slightly cone-shaped.
F-holes:  narrow; leaf-shaped eyes; rounded wings.
Linings:  spruce; wide; extend over corner blocks.
Corner blocks:  spruce.
Top block:  spruce; triangular with concave sides.
Bottom block:  spruce; triangular with concave sides.
Bassbar:  low height.
Other:  varnish abrasion on back from player’s collar button.

Pegbox and Scroll Views

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





Total violin length:  589 mm
Back length:  357 mm
Stop length:  197 mm
Vibrating string length:  333 mm
Neck length (bottom of nut to ribs):  133 mm
Upper bout width:  171 mm
Center bout width:  108 mm
Lower bout width:  209 mm
Upper rib height:  29-38 mm
Center rib height:  38-39 mm
Lower rib height:  33-39 mm

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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