Viscount International was established in 1969 in Mondaino Italy by Marcello Galanti, but the company’s heritage actually begins in the late 19th century (around 1898) when Antonio Galanti, a skilled cabinet maker and carpenter built the first accordion in Mondaino. However, the real accordion business began in the USA after 1910 when Antonio’s son, Domenico Galanti, arrived in the new world.
In order to earn a living, Domenico gained employment by playing accordion in night clubs and theatres. At the end of each concert people would ask him if his instrument was for sale or how they could buy a similar one.
Domenico (seeing a business opportunity) wrote to his father asking him to build new accordions and to send them to him in America. Over time orders increased and began to evolve into a significant business.
Galanti sets sail for America
In light of these orders, Domenico’s younger brother (Robusto) set sail for America. He arrived in June 1914 and started work in a sweet factory to earn some money. He also renamed himself Robert.
Nothing much happens until 1915 when Robert (playing accordion in the street) is stopped by a passer-by and asks what the instrument was. The man then asks how he could have a similar one.
Robert then decides to play in the street each day and when somebody stops to ask about the instrument, he offers to teach them accordion for free if they make a purchase.
From that, requests for the accordion increase and the brothers continue to write to their father asking for more instruments. Sales went so well that in 1921 the Galanti brothers opened up a factory in New York.
Galanti establishing itself as a premier brand
Over the following years Galanti accordions established themselves as the premier brand with their instruments being endorsed by Hollywood stars such as Paulette Goddard, the wife of Charlie Chaplin.
In 1924, using the wealth they had accumulated in America, Domenico returned to Mondaino and together with brothers Robusto and Egidio founded the Fratelli Galanti company – harmonica factory. In 1929 they moved to a new custom-built factory in Mondaino.
With changing times, demand for new types of musical instruments meant that manufacturers needed to diversify further. So in 1959 one of Edigio’s sons, Marcello began the production of electronic musical instruments, establishing Intercontinental Electronics SPA and the Viscount brand in 1969.
This company being mainly devoted to home organs, classical organs, accordions, synthesizers, guitars and speakers. Below you can see how the company and brand has evolved and transformed from the 1930’s through to the 1980’s in a series of posters.
A new chapter and new sound technology
In 1999 Marcello Galanti died and left the business to his son Mauro and daughter Loriana. They quickly renewed the product catalogue and expanded their R&D by opening a new facility in Ancona.
Over the past 30 years or so the business has primarily focused on classical organs and in 2008 a new range of instruments was launched based on a new sound synthesis technology, physical modelling.
This modelled sound can be manipulated in just the same way as a pipe organ voicer would approach a pipe organ. In addition, physical modelling allows for subtle inconsistencies of tone and ensemble dependent on the number of stops selected which is much more satisfying to both organist and listener alike.
To this day, Viscount continues to invest heavily in research and development and is committed to manufacturing the most realistic digital classical organs in the world.