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MMD > Archives > March 1997 > 1997.03.16 > 01Prev  Next

H. Moehlmann and Dutch Street Organs
By Jan Kijlstra

In the MMD from March 13 Doug Mauldin wrote about a Dutch Band Organ in a movie. He spoke about a certain H. Mollmann, as well as H. Mohlmann.

The name Moehlmann is very well known in the world of the Dutch street organ; the name actually is written as Moehlmann. This name originates from Germany, and where I write "oe" the German language uses the "o" with an "Umlaut" on top. On a US-keyboard this combination can be produced by pressing the Alt-tab while inputting the number 137.

A little bit of history, not even trying to be complete: In Holland street-organs (and pianolas) most of the time were not owned, but rented from specialised rental companies. The very first one, who started this activity in Amsterdam, was the Belgian Leon Warnies, a blind man. When he died his wife continued the rental company. Their sons Leon and Gabriel later took over, together with their brother Dorus.

In 1923 the brothers Warnies sold their organs. Their sister Suzanne, who was the widow of a certain Henk Moehlmann, then started the rental of a couple of organs under the name of Weduwe Moehlmann-Warnies (Widow M-W). It's then that the name Moehlmann shows up in street-organ-land. The son, a Henk Moehlmann too, later also bought some organs, and continued the family tradition. Even nowadays there is a Henk Moehlmann active in the same business, together with other descendants of the Warnies-family.

A short remark on the organ in the film "Operation Amsterdam." The organ is real, but when it comes to the shooting a mock-up was used.

Jan Kijlstra

(Message sent Sun 16 Mar 1997, 22:09:48 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Dutch, H, Moehlmann, Organs, Street

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