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Directory of Mechanical Organs

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Arburo Bruder Bursens Dean Decap Fasano Carl Frei Gavioli Hooghuys Jeanneke Limonaire Marenghi Mortier Wurlitzer

A mechanical organ is an organ that is self-playing, rather than played by a musician. For example, the Barrel Organ is activated either by a person turning a crank, or by clockwork driven by weights or springs.
Usually, mechanical organs are pipe organs although some instruments were built using reeds similar to those found in a harmonium. Since the 1950s, some instruments have been built using electronics to generate the sound, though still operated by mechanical or pneumatic means. From the 1990s pipe organs have been built that are operated by MIDI rather than the earlier mechanical means.
Originally, the music for mechanical organs was stored by pins on a large barrel. Such instruments were called barrel organs. Such organs only have a very limited repertoire, both in the number of musical selections that could be stored, and the length of tune that could be accommodated.
In the 1890s, book music was invented. This meant that the length of music was no longer constrained. Being physically much smaller than a barrel for a similar instrument, it is much easier to manipulate the music, and so a greater variety of music could be played.
Extract from Wikipedia
This page is dedicated (with a couple of relevant exceptions) to pipe organs (Dance hall or Fairground) played from a book.

Dance hall organs tend to have softer voicing than Fairground organs, the brash Fairground organ having to compete with the general hubbub or the fairground and generally add to the excitement, while the dance hall organ was designed to play for dancing.

Aeolian Company
Aeolian organ mechanism
Logo, Wikipedia web site Wikipedia page
Willam Burton Tremaine Harry Barnes Tremaine What came to be known as the Aeolian Company was founded on 26 July 1887 in Meriden, Connecticut, the result of an alliance between the Mechanical Orguinette Company of New York, and the Automatic Music Paper Company of Boston. Meriden had many advantages: it was halfway between the Company's two centers of business, it had a ready supply of new capital, generated for the most part by the enormous success of the silver industry, and there were good rail links to the main commercial centers of the United States.
Two-fifths of the 6,000 shares in the new company went to the two partners from Boston, George B. Kelly and John L. Given, in return for their machinery and stock in hand, two-fifths to the contingent from New York, James Morgan, John Nichol and Willam Burton Tremaine, and the remaining fifth went for cash, mainly to local Meriden businessmen. It may be noted that this was by no means a company owned by William B. Tremaine, nor indeed founded solely by him, though he and especially his son, Harry Barnes Tremaine, went on to become the principal architects of the Company's long-term success.
That success came about for a variety of reasons: the intelligent handling of personnel and companies, an inspired and liberal use of advertising, and the genius of H.B. Tremaine in recognizing that the Company's products had to be associated with the most successful musicians. Not an engineer himself, Tremaine recognized Edwin Votey, the inventor of the Pianola, as his equal on the technical side, and he brought Votey in to the Company as its Vice-President and Technical Director, organizing matters so that the two men shared more or less equally in the resulting profits.
The Company's instruments included the Aeolian and the Orchestrelle - roll-operated reed organs in a variety of specially-designed cases, the Pianola, the Pianola Piano, the Aeolian Pipe Organ, the Aeolian Vocalion, the Duo-Art reproducing piano, and standard pianos and reed organs as well, not to mention the millions of music rolls needed to feed the fashionable instruments and their enthusiastic owners. The Aeolian Company continued to expand its operations until the early 1920s, at which point a substantial loss in the Company's British subsidiary, coupled with the death of its principal American shareholder, caused it to enter upon a period of consolidation. By 1930 the rise of the radio, the electrical gramophone and the talkies led to the end of the mass market for roll-operated instruments.
Extract:- The Pianola Institute Aolian history
Opus 1280
Nutcracker Suite, Waltz of the Flowers.
History of Opus 1280
Cantique de Noel
Widor's Toccata
Paul Morris playing the 1280
Rachmaninoff Prelude in C# Minor
Puccini's Madame Butterfly
Borodin Sketch from the Steppes
Bossi Scherzo in G minor
 Aeolian Opus 1280
Logo, Web site link 1280 history Web site
Opus 1057

Triumphal March
Aeolian Opus 1057
Originally installed in Warter Priory, Yorkshire the house was demolished 1970s.
The organ now in Japanese museum.
More information
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Eastman House
Organ Renewal Project
Restoring the Organ
Aeolian Eastman House
Logo, Web site link Web site

Logo, Newspaper article Eastman House organ undergoes grand restoration
Logo, Newspaper article DeBergerac Productions

'Moriaan' Arburo Dance Organ Part 1
'Moriaan' Arburo Dance Organ Part 2
Aburu organ
In 1928 the company of Joseph Bursens was taken over by his son Arthur and one of the employees, Gustaaf Roels. New organs were made under the name ARBURO, a concatenation of ARthur BUrsens and ROels.
Extract from the History of the Bursens organ factory
88 note Keyless
Dance Organ
Gebrueder Bruder
1780 - 1845
Model 111
Model 107
Model 109
Zirkus Renz
Bruder organ Logo, Newspaper article
Ignaz Blasius Bruder When translated into English, the family name 'Bruder' means 'Brother.' The firm's name, literally interpreted, means 'Brother Brothers'.
Ignaz Blasius Bruder (pic. Left) was born in Zell / Unterharmersbach in 1780 as the son of a day labourer. By the age of 24 he had mastered the complexity of musical clock making. Ignaz had been building flute watches in Simonswald and furnishing them with fine figurines. However, the successful flute clock maker wants to achieve more.
From 1806 he builds with increasing success a rotary-flute works. Ignaz becomes so wealthy that in 1834 he bought himself the citizenship of Waldkirch and acquired a stately estate in the city.
He founded the first major and very successful manufacturing centre for the construction of mechanical organs.
Ignaz Bruder died in 1845. He was a respected music factory manufacturer in Waldkirch. His sons successfully developed his legacy.
The company closed in 1933. During those seven decades the principals included two of the sons and several grandsons and great-grandson.
Extract and translation:- Ignaz Blasius Bruder web page
68 key Bursens organ
90 key Bursens Organ
95 Key Bursens Dance Organ
75 Key Bursens Organ
Bursens organ
Mr. Bursen Arthur Bursens (left) was born on 23 November 1890 in Rupelmonde (Belgium).
His father Joseph Bursens (1867 - 1936) was one of the first in Belgium to make cardboard books for organs. He created them after he came home from his daytime job in the factory of Mortier.
At the age of 14 Arthur Bursens was employed by Mortier.
After working all day in the Mortier company Joseph Bursens made organs for his own account, which he hired out to fairs. There were times when Joseph didn't show up for work at the Mortier factory, because he had to deliver one of his own organs. Mortier forced him to make a choice: either he had to stop making his own organs, or he had to leave the company. Joseph choose to leave and in 1907 decided to open a ball-room named "De Witte Kat" in Antwerp. A year later he sold that ball-room and bought a building in Hoboken (Belgium, Sint Bernard street), where he started to make dance organs.
In the Bursens organ factory, started in 1908, They made 3 to 4 organs a by an average of 17 employees. Along with Decap and Mortier the facades were made by external manufacturers. The decoration and painting was often done by Jef Leemans, while Jef Joris made the sculptures.
During the First World War the Belgian organ business collapsed and hard times came for the Bursens family. Arthur had to make a living as a market vendor. After the war the family continued making organs. When he finished doing his daytime job in his fathers company Arthur made organs which he sold or rented for his own account.
In 1928 the company of Joseph Bursens was taken over by his son Arthur and one of the employees, Gustaaf Roels. New organs were made under the name ARBURO, a concatenation of ARthur BUrsens and ROels.
In order to avoid the competition of the bigger companies, it was decided to build smaller orchestrions, operated by paper rolls. These cheaper instruments were popular among those who couldn't afford a book organ. The paper rolls were sold for 50 Belgian franks, or about € 1.25, each (in 1930). The manufacturing cost of the rolls could be kept down by perforating 12 rolls at the same time, with 3 songs at each roll. Often 36 identical rolls were made.
Every 14 days a new orchestrion left the factory.
In 1930 Arthur bought an other building in Hoboken (Belgium) where he lived and worked during the rest of his life. In those days the factory counted 20 to 25 employees.
During the Second World War the demand for pipe organs decreased, and Bursens started to make furniture.
After the war there came flourishing years for the organ manufacturers: the customers visited the factory to order organs, but also to order furniture for their pubs or ball rooms. Bigger organs were made, often with accordions especially made for them. It was in those days that Arthur Bursens made his famous 96-key orchestrions (on cardboard books) with a great variety of registers and percussion. About 20 organs were made in that series, and the 'Canada' is the only one left in Belgium (in 2005).
Arthur Bursens passed away on 28 Spetember 1982
Extract from the History of the Bursens organ factory
98 key Chiappa organ plays 'Polly'
98 key Chiappa fairground organ plays 'Galop Medley' and 'Merry go round broke down'
Interview with George Cushing and Victor Chiappa
48 Keyless Chiappa Fair Organ 1
48 Keyless Chiappa Fair Organ 2
98 Key Chiappa Showmans Organ
Chiapa organ
Prior to settling in London, Giuseppe Chiappa lived in Paris and served an apprenticeship under the famous mechanical organ manufacturer Gavioli. On the completion of his apprenticeship, Chiappa moved to London to establish his own business as a Barrel Organ Manufacturer and Repairer in the 1860's.
The first company premises were at 5 Little Saffron Hill (now known as Herbal Hill); however, he relocated to Eyre Street Hill in 1877.
Giuseppe Chiappa amassed a large stock of hand-cranked barrel organs that he would maintain, retune and then rent out by the day to Italian street musicians.
Giuseppe Chiappa was a great craftsman, and the company also manufactured new and increasingly complicated organs. Many of organs were ornately decorated with carved human figures with arms that moved in time to the music. Some arms moved to strike bells.
Extract:-Clerkenwell - a little history
Passion Dancers 2010 Dorset Steam Fair
54 keyless Dean organ
90 Keyless Dean Organ
69 keyless charlotte Rose
Dean organ Logo, Web site link
There is a long tradition in the Dean family in wood work, with carpentry and cabinet making. Each member of the family taking pride in becoming Master Craftsmen of their trade, producing only the finest items with a quality of service that you would expect in a traditional business. Under the direction Michael Dean the family turned its attention to the building of ‘new’ traditional style fairground and street organs.
It was at this time that the name of ‘Dean Organs’ was born and so the small family firm has become one of the, if not the, premiere names in the field. The family are responsible for a number of innovations taken as standard amongst today's organ builders, such as the 20 keyless book playing organ and the 52 keyless book playing organ.
Extract from the Dean Company web site
100 years of Decap Organs
121 key organ - the Thursford Collection
Rolling Thunder - Rampart Street Racoon
72 Key 7 dance tunes
Decap Robot Organ
Decap organ
Logo, Newspaper article
Logo, Web site link
Mr Decap The Decap organ company was founded in 1902 by father Aloïs Decap (picture left) and son Livien, who were later accompanied by his other sons Camille, Frans and Léon.
They are still located at their original address: Essenstraat 22-24 in 2060 Antwerp.
You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon Fasano organ
Fasano was a Belgium organ builder who immigrated from Italy. He only built 15 to 20 organs This extract and photo from an article by Arthur Prinsen
Pierre Eich
89 Key Pierre Eich Fairground Organ - If You Knew Susie
89 Key Pierre Eich Fairground Organ - Three tunes
Pierre Eich Organ
Pierre Eich built organs in Ghent, Belgium.
Pierre Eich was not solely focused on the manufacture of fairground organs, he also built player pianos and orchestrions.
Carl Frei
4th Apr 1884 - 10th May 1967
Entry Of The Gladiators
Inside Carl Frei majestic organ
Snow White Selection and Toolie Oolie Doolie
Carl Frei street organ
Carl Frei organ Logo, Wikipedia web site
Logo, Newspaper article
Carl Frei Carl Frei (pictured left) was born on the 4th April 1884 in Schiltach in the Black Forest
Carl Frei studied music in his early years. Aged nine, he was studying harmony and counterpoint at the Waldkirch academy of music. From age 14 on, well-known musical instrument factories such as Bruder, Gavioli, Mortier and DeVreese were employing him in Waldkirch and Paris.
After World War I, Frei had to leave Belgium and he made his way to Breda, the Netherlands to repair what were popularly known as Dutch street organs, but were actually built in almost every mainland European country except the Netherlands, which was where they were most populous.
Pre World War I, street organs were hand cranked and easily portable, but fell out of tune and repair due to the undulations of the cobbled Dutch streets. Frei started maintaining organs, but noticed that many owners wanted something louder (thanks to the increased street noise made by early cars), and distinct (thanks to the wider availability of the record player).
Frei began to make his own organs from 1920, with a number of innovations. Firstly he devised a new organ register called the "bourdon céleste," which replaced the high-maintenance clarinets and vox humana's with two rows of stopped pipes with very bright intonation, one row tuned slightly sharp to the other. Besides rebuilding older organs, Carl Frei started building new ones according to this concept. Into these he incorporated an amplified violin section by adding a violin-celeste stop, which was also tuned to this floating sound temperament. He also introduced the "undamaris" stop in the counter melody section while in the large (72 and 90 keys) organs they were incorporating stops with names like "bifoon I" (in melody) and "bifoon II" (in the countermelody). The biggest street version of these organs, with 90 keys, were true "castles of the street;" while the "Carl Frei Traveling Concert Organ" was considered to be the largest traveling fair organ in the world, with 112 keys.
Forced to leave the Netherlands after the Second World War, Frei returned to Waldkirch and continued his business, together with son Carl Frei Jnr, until the death of Carl Frei Jnr. in 1997. Carl Frei sr. died in Waldkirch in 1967, 83 years old.
Extract from the Carl Frie Wikipedia page
87 Key Gavioli Fairground Organ
57 Key Gavioli Fair Organ
Gavioli organ Logo, Web site link
Ludovico Gavioli Anselme Gavioli Gavioli was founded in 1806 in Modena, Italy, by Giacomo Gavioli (1786-1875). Giacamo's hobby was the development of automatic playing musical instruments like bird organs and flute clocks. His son Anselmo was a very clever inventor; he built a large orchestrion organ the "Panharmonico" for the Duke of Modena, who refused to buy the instrument.
Ludovico Gavioli (Pic left) then took it to London and Paris. In 1852 Ludovico Gavioli (1807-1875) moved the business to the trade capital of the organ trade, Paris, France. From 1858 on he started his own organ building company in the Rue d'Aligre.
Ludovico had three sons: Anselme (Pic right), Henry and Claude. Each contributed to the business, but it is Anselme the inventor whose name is remembered, when in 1892 he patented the use of book music to play organs. Up until this point, pipe organs were played by a large wooden cylinder, using a system akin to the modern musical box. This limited the length of music which could be played to the size of the cylinder, and secondly the number of cylinders which could be stored limited the variation of music and where they could be played. Book music used a series of zig-zag folded sheets of cardboard in a folded book, which allowed mechanical arms to feel the holes and hence open the valves to allow compressed air to play the pipes of the organ. The development marked a turning point in the history of the mechanical organ, by allowing music to be almost infinitely long, and allowed Gavioli to become the most famous and prolific fair organ builders. The Gavioli family had branches in cities such as Barcelona, Manchester, New York City and Waldkirch.
After Anselmo's death in 1902 the business passed to Anselme's son Ludivico II. Then the business took a series of tragic circumstances. Gavioli ceased making organs in 1912 and the remainder of the business was transferred to Limonaire Frères of Paris. Afterwards, a number of their engineers went on to build their own organ companies, including Carl Frei.
Extract from the Gavioli Wikipedia page
1912 Hooghuys Organ
The Thursford Collection Hooghuys Organ
57 key Hooghuys organ
86 Key Dance organ
Hooghuys Organ Logo, Web site link
Lois Benoit Hooghuys
Simon Gerard Hooghuys, the eldest son of Gerrit Simon, was born at Middelburg on February 14th 1780 and died at Brugge on October 21st 1853.
Louis Benoit Hooghuys (pictured left), third son of Simon Gerard, was born at Brugge on 21 March 1822. Here we certainly meet the greatest church organ building of this family. In 1854 already, he was established as organ builder. His work shows both great craftsmanship and knowledge: his organ building skills rested upon the gradual simplification of the late Baroque organ to an early Romantic instrument. Examination on the dispositions of his instruments indicates that for Louis Benoit Hooghuys, the merge of soft timbre registers was more important than the contrast between loud expressive ones.
Louis Benoit died in Brugge on 16 April 1885. Many of his instruments can still be seen and heard throughout Flanders and even abroad. It is said that after Louis Benoit the quality of the church organs gradually decayed because of the mechanization of the production process.
François Bernard Hooghuys, Louis Benoit's younger brother, was born in Brugge on November 15th 1830. In 1865, we find him as his brother's assistant. In 1869, he settled at Geraardsbergen (Grammont), and it is supposed that from that time onwards (and later with his eldest son Louis François), he went to work in the prosperous church organ works of Charles Anneessens at Geraardsbergen. He died in this city on November 30th 1888.
Extract from the Hooghuys web site
Kimball Electramatic
Paper Doll - Model 702 Player Organ
Ipanema - 67 Kimball
Begin the Beguine
Kimball Mechanical Player Organ
William Wallace Kimball The company was founded by William Wallace Kimball (left) in 1857 as an organ and piano retailer in Chicago. Kimball also sold less expensive reed organs. In 1890, Kimball hired Englishman Frederic W. Hedgeland to supervise the building of a portable pipe organ, about the size of a large upright piano. The pipe organ division of Kimball also built large, permanent pipe organs.
In 1959, the W.W. Kimball Company was purchased from the last remaining Kimball family heir by Mr. Arnold F. Habig, becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Jasper Corporation.
In 1961, in conjunction with the relocation of Kimball piano production from Illinois to Indiana, the company formed Jasper Electronics Manufacturing Company to develop and produce Kimball organs for the home entertainment market.
At its peak during the 1960s and 1970s, the company was manufacturing approximately 150 electronic organs per day. Of these a number were self playing instruments.
Electronic organ production was phased out during the 1980s
Extract:- Wikipedia and Kimball web site
1852 - 1936
86 key Limonaire
limonaire organ
The Limonaire company was started by the Limonaire brothers Joseph and Antoine in 1839, as piano and organ builders, after only three years the two brothers separated and set up their own companies. Joseph concentrated on the piano business while Antoine continued to expand into the organ building.
By 1852 the company, under Antoine's management, was based in the rue Neuve des Petits Champs, and by the 1870s had added a workshop in the rue St. Sabin, building portable barrel and orchestral organs.
After the death of Antoine aged 70 in 1886, his two sons Eugène and Camille established a new factory in the Avenue Daumesnil, in the same area of Paris as the organ building firms Gasparini and Gavioli. A steam engine was installed in 1890, and the company expanded at a fast pace.
The two brothers attended many international exhibitions including those at London (1888), Chicago (1893), Amsterdam (1895) and St Louis (1904). In total, between 1849 and 1906, 29 medals from the exhibitions were awarded to the Limonaire Company. Between 1895 and 1916, the company filed patents for twelve inventions and one brand name, the Orchestrophone. In 1894 the piano range of instruments was withdrawn from general sale, but in its place came a large variety of fairground rides, some made in partnership with other companies.
Limonaire never opened an office in the United States, due to the imposition from 1892 of high import tariffs by the United States Government. In 1893, carousel builder William Herschell travelled to London, England to meet Limonaire employee Eugene de Kleist. Backed by Herschell, in 1893 DeKeist set up band organ production in North Tonawanda, New York, founding the North Tonawanda Barrel Organ Factory. As parts were not subject to the import tariffs, many of the companies early organs had Limonaire components.
In 1907, the economic crisis in the USA severely affected the export market of Gavioli in the German Black Forest town of Waldkirch, centre of the German fairground organ industry, with the result that Gavioli ceased trading there. This allowed Limonaire the opportunity to be able to take over the premises and remaining stock in 1908, and business became successful enough that a new factory was built. Many organs were produced by Limonaire in these years, under the "Orchestronphone" trade name.
The confiscation of the German factory in 1917 during World War I, signalled the end of peak production, and indeed, after the war, Limonaire chose not to return to Germany, their factory eventually being bought in 1926 by Alfred Bruder who continued building organs. Camille Limonaire died in 1920 and Eugène sold his shares in the company. Unfortunately demand for the organs and merry-go-rounds continued to decline, and in 1929 the Limonaire Company went into liquidation. It was bought immediately and run as a non-specialist company for a short time, taking over one by one the names and remaining assets of once famous organ companies such as Gasparini, Gaudin, Marenghi and Gavioli, but this ultimately failed and by 1932 all stock was being sold off.
In 1936 the factory at 166 Avenue Daumesnil, Paris, was closed and demolished.
Extract from the Limonaire Wikipedia page
57 Key Marenghi Organ - Graceful mazurka.
1905 81 key Marenghi Organ - Bohemian Rhapsody
81 Key Marenghi Dance Organ - Mack The Knife
89 Key Marenghi Showmans Organ - Wonderful Copenhagen
89 Key Sleighbell Marenghi Organ - The Very Thought Of You
81 Key Marenghi Dance Organ - Ain't Misbehaving
81 Key Marenghi Dance Organ - In a Persian Market
Marenghi organ
Charles Marenghi Charles Marenghi (Pictured left)started his career working in the famous organ factory of Gavioli & Cie in Paris. By 1900, he was chief of the Gavioli workshops.
After troubles between the associates he decided to start his own business in 1903, in the former Gavioli factory at the Avenue de Taillebourg near the Place de la Nation in Paris.
His products had a strong resemblance to Gavioli's organs; however, Marenghi added several inventions of his own, like the "Grélotophone", a register of tuned sleigh bells for which he was granted a patent in 1914.
He sold many fairground organs, especially to the UK, where some of his best instruments may still be seen and heard.
Extract from the Marengi Wikipedia page
97 Key Mortier 'Four Columns' Dance Organ Dansorgel
Music House Acme Michigan
Mortier Organ 229
Mortier Organ Logo, Web site link
Theophile MortierThe Mortier company was founded by Theophile Mortier (1855–1944)(pic left) in 1898 as a vending agent for the Parisian organ builder Gavioli & Cie, Theophile Mortier was originally the manager of a dance hall, in which there was always a Gavioli organ playing. He made it a habit to sell the installed organ after a short while. He was fortunate enough most of the time to make a profit on selling these used organs. As time went by he became more and more an organ dealer and a very good customer of Gavioli.
Theophile Mortier set up a repair shop in order to provide maintenance and repair for the organs, which he had sold. The organ builder Guillaume Bax managed this shop. In 1906 Mortier started to build organs himself, as an annex of the Gavioli company.
Due to internal operations difficulties, Gavioli could after a while not deliver enough orders and Mortier began to manufacture the dance organs under his own name.
After the First World War the company expanded to a size where they employed 80 personnel and had a capacity to build about 20 large dance organs per year.
No other manufacturer has matched the cubic meter volume of organs produced by Mortier. The company stayed active until 1948.
Extract from the Mortier Wikipedia page
Ruth organ name plate
Logo, Wikipedia web site Wikipedia page
Andreas Ruth was born in 1817 (he died in 1888). He studied organ building at the Bruder factory, setting up his own factory in the same town, Waldkirch, Germany, in c. 1841 making cylinder organs.
His son, Adolf Ruth I (1845 - 1907) took over the business in 1875. Under his leadership, the construction of larger cylinder organs started and the company flourished. In 1900 the factory also started with the manufacture of book organs .
His son Adolf Ruth II ( 1887 - 1938 ) took over the leadership after the death of his father in 1907 . He surpassed his father, especially on the musical level; he and his master servant Rudolph Weisser extended the repertoire of semi-classical pieces in such a way that it was unparalleled in the then German organ industry, neither in quantity nor in quality.
Extract and translation Wikipedia page
1892 - 1942
153 Band Organ 'Hurdy'
World War II Remembered Part 1
World War II Remembered Part 2
153 I Whisper Goodnight
Mississippi Rag and Stop Time Rag
Wurlitzer band organ Logo, Wikipedia web site
After the United States Government imposed high import tariffs on street and fairground organ importation in 1892, Wurlitzer began producing mechanical organs. Most were small barrel organs, playing from a pinned barrel
As parts were not subject to import tariffs, almost all Wurlitzer band organs are copied from designs by European manufacturers. For example, the style 104 and style 105 were copied from a Gebrüder Bruder barrel organ.
As demand for organs grew from the fairground operators, Wurlitzer was approached by Eugene de Kleist, an-ex employee of Limonaire Frères. After De Kliest developed the tonophone for the company, which won a gold medal at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, Wurlitzer invested in his company. Wurlitzer bought De Kliest out of the business in 1908 and took over operation of the North Tonawanda factory. The new company invested in new technology, resulting in the adoption of electric motors, and the music source was changed from pinned barrels to perforated paper rolls similar to a player piano roll. Each paper roll contained about 10 songs. During the Great Depression this was changed to 6 longer songs to save money on arranging.
The only substantial changes between the Wurlitzer U.S.-made organs and the European originals they copied is that the Wurlitzer models operated on Wurlitzer's unique roll scale. These included the 41-note style 125 roll, the wider 46-note 150 roll, or the still wider 75-note 165. Due to Wurlitzer's success and domination of the market, many smaller American manufacturers adopted scales similar to Wurlitzer's. Wurlitzer abandoned production of nickelodeons in the early 1940s but continued to manufacture the paper player piano music rolls through a wholly owned subsidiary called the Endless Roll Music Company.
The production of Wurlitzer organs ceased in 1942, the last organ to leave the factory being a style 165. During the Great Depression leading up to the end of production, various cost-cutting measures were made, such as the substitution of brass horn and trumpet pipes for ones made of wood (though arguably the change from brass to wood may have been due to the shrill sound produced by the brass pipes which some people may have found unpleasant; wood pipes produced a mellower sound).
Extract:- Wurlitzer Wikipedia page
Mechanical Organ Owners Society
Facebook link icon
Mechanical Organ Owners Society logo Logo, Web site link
General interest
Logo, Newspaper article Article on figurines
Logo, Newspaper articleArticle on painting organ facades
Logo, Newspaper articleThe Art of Cardboard Book Construction
Carousel Organ Magazine article index
Thursford Collection
Facebook link logo Google plus logo YouTube logo
Gondola ride
The Magic of Thursford
The Thursford Marenghi
Marenghi organ Logo, Newspaper article
Logo, Web site link
Logo, Wikipedia web site