update: 22-04-2014


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Concept of outline





Dominator Rossini Saltaire



Dominator Rossini Saltaire



Dominator Rossini Saltaire





Dominator Wagner



Speeltafel Wagner



Speeltafel Wagner



Wagner woodwork details



Wagner footlevers



Signature Fritsche



Signature Fritsche in Wagner



Reedpan / Tongenlade





Dominator Strauss full



Dominator Strauss full



Dominator Strauss





Dominator Strauss detail front




Werkplaats Lenter

Dominator speeltafel bas



Dominator speeltafel rechts



Dominator speeltafel full



Tongenlade Dominator diskant



Dominator tongenlade bas



























































































































































































































































































The text of this page could only be realized with the help of mrs. Elianne Schiedmayer (history), Markus Lenter, oganbuilder and harmonium restorator (technical details) and mr. Martin Traub for many pictures and his research in his Dominator 'Wagner'. He also provided all information on the modell 'Strauss'.

Schiedmayer “Dominator” met Celesta

The Dominator harmonium designed by the Schiedmayer Pianoforte Fabrik J & P. Schiedmayer, was labeled “Meisterharmonium”, which in fact meant to say: Art Harmonium. And indeed they succeeded in creating an artisanal work of art.

Catalogs of Schiedmayer are hard to find. In the listing of known catalogs I only know of one catalog on Dominator harmoniums. The year of that catalog is unknown to us. We do however know that the Dominator was built ca. 1880. A Dominator with Celeste is in the collection of Markus Lenter, who restored this instrument.  

Dominator ca. 1880



At the moment I know of three different models of Dominator, which were given additional Model names to avoid confusion.

  1. Modell Rossini – harmonium only. Keyboard C-c4, 5 octaves, 61 tones)
    (8 ranks, 10 rows of reeds; specified as bass 7 ranks, 8 rows, treble 9 ranks, 12 rows).

  2. Modell Wagner – harmonium & Celesta. Keyboard C-c4, 5 octaves, 61 tones).
    (8 ranks, 10 rows of reed. Specified: bass 7 ranks, 8 rows, treble 9 ranks 12 rows, stoplist as in Rossini, added a Celesta 5 octaves on a second keyboard).

  3. Modell Strauß – harmonium & Celesta. Keyboard AA-f4, 5 ¾ octaves, 69 tones.
    9,5 ranks, 10 ½ rows of reeds. Specified: bass 8 ranks, 9 rows, treble 9 ranks, 12 rows). Stoplist is the same as Rossini & Wagner, however, a Unda Maris 8’ is added in the bass, containing 1 additional row).

As far as I can see now, the stoplist has never changed from te date of creation. The sound, however, has changed. The instruments before ca. 1900 produced much overtones as in the classical harmonium. In the 20th century the sound was changed to a more late romantic style. Darker, a more fundamental tone.

The instrument in the Lenter collection has no additional name tag. Since it is a harmonium-celesta, keyboard C-c4, I consider it to be a Modell Wagner.

Stoplist Modell Rossini


Percussion 8’


Percussion 8’


Cor Anglais 8’


Flute 8’


Bourdon 16’


Clarinette 16’


Clairon 4’


Fifre 4’


Horn 8’


Oboe 8’


Aeolsharfe 2 + 2’


Musette 16’


Violon 16’


Voix Celeste 16+16’


Bassoon 8’


Baryton 32’




Aeolsharfe 8+8’




Vox Angelica 16+16’






Forte Expressiv


Forte Expressif






Forte Fixe


Forte Fixe


Prolongement forte




Prolongement piano


Left: Prol. release




Middle: Grand Jeu


Rows in bass: 8


Rows in treble: 12

Sir Thomas Beecham

This Rossini once was owned by Sir Thomas Beecham. [ Dutch ] This Rossini was built in 1913. Beecham donated the organ to the Westbourne House School, where his nephew was a "Head Boy' was. Twas in 1936 the story said.



Rossini captured in Saltaire

[ picture taken from cover of Saltaire Museum catalog 1997 ]

The Rossini was in the collection of Ian Thomson and due to space it moved to the Saltaire Museum.


Free Rossini !


Stopnames in multiple languages

The names of the stops of this Modell Rossini are English style. Just as in pipe organs, names of stops are most of the time derived from German names and even using the German nomenclature. Some of the stops however are renamed in English. Hence a stoplist containing English, German and French.


The little switches

On the bass side there are three little switches above the stops 2, 5 and 6. These switches make te stops only to speak for the keyboard part mentioned on the switch labels. Stop 2 and 6 will only sound C-H and 5 will sound c-e1, when the switches are on. Later on this page an explanation.

The instrument has 8 rows in the bass and 12 in the treble half of the keyboard. Splitpoint is as usual e1/f1. Hence the counting show the instrument is 10 ranks in total.

Remarkable is the fact that in the treble there are six out of 12 (!) rows of 16' reeds, these six rows form four stops. It is also very remarkable to see three string stops, two of them undulant (celeste).

To make clear what the three switches do, below a diagram.


Frans van der Grijn 2010-08-22


Dominator Modell “Richard Wagner”



This Dominator 'Wagner' is owned by Martin Traub en Germany. Originally it was purchased in 1915 by Pfarrer (priest) Otto Zandenberger. He was a gifted and talented organplayer and pianist. His daughter told mr. Traub “Hij teached a long list of young students to play the harmonium, and was succesfull in his teaching.” Pfarrer Zandenberger organised on a regular schedule “Musikabende” held at his house, the parsonage. And this 'Wagner' was the instrument played. In 1916 he his Dominator at a “Solidaritäts-konzert” (a benefit concert) to rais money for wounded soldiers and casualties during the First World War.This concert was reviewed in a lokal newspaper Emstalbote. [ Acrobat ]

Zandenberger had the bellows redone in 1965. Only a year later he passed away.

From there the Dominator remained - unused - in the family house.

In 2005 Zanddenberg's two daughters offered the instrument for sale, now living in Ludwigsburg. Mr. Traub noticed the advert and bought it.

Shortly after it was used in a concert at februari 5th 2005 to play the "Zweites Rudersberger Harmoniumkonzert”. This concert was reviewed in Vox Humana, the quarterly magazine of the Dutch Reed Organ Society.




This instrument is 190 cm [74.8"] high, 125 cm [49.21"] wide and 78 cm [30.71"] deep. Manual compass C-c4, 5 octaves. Two keyboards, lower manual is harmonium, upper manual is Celesta.
The instrument has 8.5 stops in 10 ranks [ see below]. It is featured with “Doppeltasten-druck”. Serialnumber is 49,555, built ca. 1915.

The case of the instrument is in a very good condition, partly massive oak, some parts are veneer. The case has a red-brown lacquer. The instrument needs restoration, there are splits in the soundboard.


Stoplist Wagner from catalog

Dispo Dominator Wagner


Dominator speeltafel Wagner

Dominator speeltafel

Dominator ornamentiek houtwerk

Dominator Wagner hakhevels

eindcontrole Fritsche

Handtekening Fritsche

Windlade Strauss in model Wagner

This is the reedpan of this Wagner, however, it contains a Strauss stoplist!


Dominator Modell “Richard Strauss”



Choir Master Burkhard Pflomm acquiered his 'Strauss' throug mediation of a clavichord builder. It came from the house of a Berlin organist.
The instrument resides at the Stadtkirche in Bietigheim, where Pflomm is the Choir Master.

The instrument has two keyboards, the lowever one is harmonium, the upper one is a Celesta.

Once this instrument was fitted with a built in wind machine. The connection was removed and rather sloppy stopped. Hence the bellows had to be redone totally.
The case of this Strauss is also in a good condition. As with the Wagner, partly massive oak, partly veneer, laquer in reddish-brown.

The Celesta needs a thourough restoration, stome stickers are missing, and in this instrument too, there are splits in the soundboard.

Measurement are : heigt 193 cm, width: 138 cm, depth: 83,5 cm. Serialnumber 57563, built ca. 1926.
The keyboard compass is 5 ¾ octaves, compass AA or Contra-A to f4. The Celesta has the same compass!!

Stoplist Strauß according catalog

Dispo Dominator Strauss

Modell Strauss

Speeltafel Strauss

Strauss detail front

Strauss detail front


The Dominator series by Schiedmayer

Based upon catalogs and flyers and advertizing, there have been only 2 models of Dominator containing a second manual with a Celesta. Both of them are shown above. The difference is the keyboard compass and the Strauss has one rank more in the bass part. An undulant Unda Maris, tuned to be used combined with the Hautbois.

Given the differences between Wagner and Strauss, the Wagner presented above is in fact a custom built instrument. Case is Wagner, keyboard compass is Wagner, however the reedpan (and all mechanics) is defenitely a Strauss.

I am sure a musicologists will be very confused by the statement that Wagner is in fact Strauß


Comparing the sonority of the two

In a sound comparision between Wagner and Strauß it has been noticed that in the Strauß the frontside stops 1, 2 and the treble 6 are quite dominant in volume, the back side stops are very colourfull.

In the Wagner (and as said, in fact a Strauß too!) the front stops are better balanced with the back side reeds. The back side stops are more clear, even maybe shrill, sounding closer to the French style. The Wagner's Forte is more present than in the real Strauss.

To consider: Wagner is ca. 1915, Strauss is ca. 1926 There is a decade in time. A decade in changed taste.


With the purchase of the Wagner was a full copy of a three part book: “Universal Schule für Harmonium unter Berücksichtigung des Instrumenten-Types Dominator”, published by the Schiedmayer company. The contents fits perfectly in the company style: Not only building the instruments, but added to that: the publications to promote the quality and properties of the Meisterharmonium.

The "Wagner console"

Speeltafel Wagner

The "Strauss" console

Speeltafel Strauss

Colours on the stop shields

The stop knobs 0, 1, 2, 6 in both bass and treble are white. In all other stops the stop numbers are in a rosa/pink square. With this marking it is made clear which stops are in the front of the reed pan and which are in the back side. Schiedmayer (as many other builders did, used this colour code to designate the place in the reed pan.

Optional: Doppel-tastendruck

Both Wagner and Strauß are fitted with the option “Doppel-tastendruck”. Meaning that by pressing the key, the note valves (soupapes) are lifted earlier than the valves of the frontside. It is thus constructed that when the pressure on the key is light, ONLY the back rows will sound. By pressing the key deeper to the full depth, both back and front sound.


Mind you: this is defenitely NOT the same as
second touch in theatre organs!


Prolongement Forte & Prolongement piano

To be absolutely sure about the Prolongement mechanics I have consulted Markus Lenter, because he has restorered multiple Dominators. He wrote to me:

Prologement forte/ piano:

Die Hakenleiste, in welchen die Taste mit ihrem eigenen Haken eingreift, wird in zwei unterschiedlichen Stellungen fixiert. Also einmal ganz normal, in tiefer Tastenstellung (so wie man es immer kennt), dann aber auch im Piano in einer Stellung, wo die Taste nicht ganz so tief gedrückt wird (= ~ halbe Tastenreise). Dadurch werden die Ventile C – H nicht (ganz) vollständig geöffnet, der Ton erklingt etwas dumpfer und mit weniger Oberton.

The bar containing the grips, to which the grips at the bottom side of the key can be 'hooked', can be moved vertically into two positions. When using Prolongement Forte the bar is in the low position, and the key will be fixated at the full depth of the key travel. This is ca. 10 -11 mm. Using Prolongement piano, the bar is fixated at about half the key travel. Hence a lesser amount of wind. (Wind pressure is the the same in both, the volume of wind is regulated). Result of the smaller opening of the valves is the reeds sound more fundamental, less bright and lesser harmonics. This mechanism only works on the C-H keys.

Multiple prolongement sections

In both Wagner and Strauß the prolongement is expanded to the full size of the keyboard, split in three sections. The previous mentioned C-H / AA-H; c-e1. Now a third part is added: f1-c4 /f1-f4. The release of the prolongement is a tallonière (heel lever) for A-H only. See the picture below.

Ausloesing Prolongement



In the Wagner (Strauß in disguise) is also the feature of a three part prolongement, ranging C-H; c-e1; f1-c4. Take a close look at the console of the Wagner: It has two extra stops in the rightside cheek, not available at the real Strauß.

The choice for Prolongement Piano or Forte is only available on the notes C-H (or AA-H) (Strausss). I made this visible with the diagram at the beginning of this page. The release (Auslösung) of the Prolongement in the sections c-e1 and f1-c4/f4 are released with wooden bar in front of the keys of the lower manual.

Driedelig Prolongement


Prolongement full keyboard

This diagram shows the prolongement in 3 parts over the full length of the Strauß with 5 3/4 octaves.


Thanks to Martin Traub for collecting so much detailed information, Markus Lenter for sharing his technical & musical knowledge on Dominitor harmonium-celesta.


Sheetmusic for Dominator


Newspaper 1916



Schiedmayer – Artikel 1916 5 juli - Emstalbote

Urach, 4. Juli.

Der musikalische Nachmittag, welcher gestern im Anschluß an die Bezirksschulversammlung veranstaltet wurde, war sehr zahlreich besucht. Den Anfang machte ein von Mittelschullehrer Wolff geleiteter, fein ausgearbeiteter Chorgesang seiner Schülerinnen.

Stadtpfarrer Leube begrüßte die Versammlung, besonders die in stattlicher Zahl erschienenen Lazerettinsassen mit einem herzlichen Word und stellte den Veranstalter des Ganzen, Pfarrer Landenberger von Zainingen, der Versammlung vor.
Dieser erklärte mit einigen Sätzen sein Instrument, das von der Firma Schiedmayer in Stuttgart erfundene und gebaute Meisterharmonium „Dominator“. Es ist ein Instrument, das durch Druckluft Metallzungen zum Tönen bringt wie jedes Harmonium. Von der Fülle und Schönheit dieser Töne aber, sowie von der Mannigfaltigkeit, in der sie verbunden werden können, waren wir wirklich überrascht.

Landenberger spielte eine Auswahl edler Musikstücke van Bach bis Wagner vor und wußte bei jedem Stück wieder andere Klangfarben und Klangmischungen zu erreichen.
Besonders die Stimmen der Violine, des Cellos und des Cellochors heben wir rühmend vor.
Man dürfte wirklich von einer orchesterartigen Wirkung reden.
Freilich setzt das kunstvolle und kostbare (??) Instrument die volle Meisterschaft des Spielers voraus, eine Meisterschaft, wie Landenberger sie in der Tat besitzt.
Nachdem die Mittelschülerinnen der Reihe der „Orchesterstücke“ noch mit zwei Chören einen erfreulichen Abschluß gegeben hatten, sprach Bezirkschulinspektor Spohn ein lebendig empfundenes Dankeswort.

Der anwesende Leiter des Schiedmayerschen Harmoniumbaus Fritsche gab noch im engeren Kreis interessante Erklärungen des von ihm selbst gebauten Werkes.

Die Aufforderung zu feiwilligen Gaben in die Liebesgabenkasse unserer Lazarette hatte ein schönes Ergebnis, besonders da dank der Freundlichkeit der Firma Schiedmayer und auch der Redaktion des Ermstalboten so gut wie seine Unkosten zu decken waren.

Quelle/Source: Der Ermstalbote, Mittwoch 5. Juli 1916

A Dominator in the workplace



Yes, it's a Strauß




The bass of the reed pan.


Treble part of the reed pan


Where are the reeds in the reedpan

Again, it was Markus Lenter showing the exact data on where the reeds are and where stops combine ranks with ranks of another stop.

Mind you, these two images are big in size, it maight take a few seconds to see them.

These two pictures are explicetely copyrighted material!





Celesta resonators

In the Mustel invention there are resonator boxes. In the Celesta built in the Schiedmayer factory, they follow strictly the original Mustel patent.

To give you an impression, click the link below. You will go to a new page on this website. Only pictures, explanatory text will be added soon.