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Directory of Theatre Organs

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Ahrend Allen Barton Christie Compton Henry Erben Evans and Barr Ferris Harrison & Harrison Hill, Norman & Beard Jardine Johannus Kimball LAAOC Midmer-Losh Moller Ruffatti Rutt Walker Willis Welte Wersi Wurlitzer Organs of Interest

Ahrend organs
Metal casting at the Ahrend organ workshop Pipe making

Jürgen Ahrend talks about the Martinikerk pipe organ
Beall Concert Hall
St. John's Cathedral, Lyon
38 Pipe Ahrend Organ, Church Musee des Augustins, Toulouse, France

Logo, Wikipedia web site Ahrend Organ

Logo, Newspaper article The Robert Blackwood Hall organ
Dr. H. C. Jürgen Ahrend Gerhard Brunzema In 1954 the young organ builders, Jürgen Ahrend (left) and Gerhard Brunzema (right), both of whom had studied organ building at Paul Ott in Göttingen, founded an organ building company in the Ostfriesischen Leer, Lower Saxony, Germany.
The choice of location was very relevant: the large number of historic organs, preserved in East Friesland and Groningen, offered rich visual material for the old artisan techniques and the unique sound world of the old masters alien to the "modern" organ builders.
The first work of the workshop Ahrend & Brunzema, was the restoration of the organ in Westerhusen in 1955 this caused a stire in the organ world. Here were two young organ builders, in the midst of and against the popular "organ building scene" that was oriented towards "progress", who were seemingly orientating themselves in their way of working backwards, even going as far as to restore the original mid-tone mood. And not in the sense of a nostalgia, but from the realization that a qualitative improvement of organ building is only to be achieved in this way.
In 1955 the organ builders set up their own pipe workshop. They had realized that they could not do without their own pipe factory if they wanted to reach the high quality standard of the historical pipes.
Gustav Leonhardt, one of the 'progenitors' of the re-creation of the old music, played the inaugural concert of the first large new building of the company Ahrend & Brunzema in 1959, the three-manual organ in the Zorgvliet-Kerk in the Dutch Scheveningen. His extremely positive impressions of this organ had a big impact on the organ building scene in the Netherlands and indirectly in Germany.
There followed orders for new organs in Aurich (St. Lamberti) and for the church of St.Martini in Bremen.
At the end of the 1960s the first orders came from the USA; The most faithful customer was the University of Berkeley, which is represented by six instruments in the catalog.
In 1971 after seventeen years of successful joint construction work Gerhard Brunzema and Jürgen Ahrend separated. While Jürgen Ahrend continued to operate in Leer-Loga, Gerhard Brunzema went to Canada to work for the organ builder Casavant, and then set up his own business in 1980. He died in April 1992 after a long illness.
Jürgen Ahrend continued building and restoring organs.
In 1998, Hendrik Ahrend took over the running of his father's company, In February 2005, Jürgen Ahrend handed over the business to his son. The business continues to build and maintain organs.
Extract and translation from Ahrend organ web site
San Simpliciano Basilica 1991 -
Buxtehude 142 - Lorenzo Ghielmi
Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit BWV 669 - Lorenzo Ghielmi
Vater unser im Himmelreich - Luca Massaglia
San Simpliciano Basilica San Simpliciano Basilica
San Simpliciano Basilica
The San Simpliciano Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Milan, its construction was begun under Sant Ambrogio.
In the course of its long history the San Simpliciano Basilica underwent many changes and alterations in particular the controversial intervention of Giulio Aluisetti on the interiors, who plastered walls and voults and amended the Romanesque pylons. He also installed the altar current, much criticized already by his contemporaries for its large dimensions within a relatively small space.
After the Second World War, the arbitrary changes of the nineteenth century were dismantled, and it was started to restore the church according to conservative criteria: the delicate work, which lasted for decades, have allowed to arrive at the end of the eighties to an artistic and architectural recovery that has interested the basilica in its entirety, both outside and inside.
The counter of the San Simpliciano Basilica has a great Ahrend pipe organ, built in 1991, taking as a model the German baroque organs.
Barton Organs
Daniel Wiley Barton 30th May 1884 - 26th Apr 1974
Daniel Wiley BartonDaniel Wiley Barton
Daniel Wiley Barton

Daniel Wiley Barton was born in Amherst, Portage County, Wisconsin on May 30, 1884. His family moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin prior to 1891.
Dan Barton played drums in local bands and left high school during his second year. He then joined the band of Ringling Brothers Circus and travelled with them for ten years. During his travels he met and married Annabelle, his first wife. He returned to Oshkosh to help care for his invalid father when his mother died on November 4, 1909.
Dan then began drumming in the orchestra at the Bijou Theatre in Oshkosh. It was here that he began experimenting with attaching electric bells to a keyboard. He soon had them attached to a piano and he was able to make and sell sixteen of these sets. He soon approached the Wangerin Organ Company in Milwaukee with his invention. They began making organs for theatres that would have the sounds of many orchestral instruments and the Bartola Organ was the result.
Chicago Stadium Barton Organ
The story and demonstration by Ron Bogda
1994 - Jack Moelmann
Chicago Stadium Dean Lemire Person logo

Removal - 1 of 3
Removal - 2 of 3
Removal - 3 of 3
Chicago Barton organ Chicago Barton organ
Chicago Barton organ
Warren Performing Arts Centre
Medley - Tim Duckworth
Sleigh Ride - Tim Duckworth
Mario Bros - Justin Nimmo Person logo
James Bond Theme - Donnie Rankin
Barton Organ Barton Organ
Barton Organ
ATOS logo
The Barton organ in Eash Auditorium was originally installed in the downtown Indiana Theatre in 1927, removed in 1977 and put in storage by a small group of organ enthusiasts.
In 1984 it was donated to the Indiana State Museum who contracted Carlton Smith to restore and rebuild the 3-manual console for the hoped-for new museum. However, in 1992 the Museum decided to de-accession the instrument which was then sold to the Central Indiana Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society who had approached Warren about installing it in organ chambers that had been built into the Warren Performing Arts Centre auditorium. CIC-ATOS got the go-ahead from Warren officials in 1993 and commenced raising the money to restore and install the instrument, about a $100,000 project at the time.
The restored instrument gave its first public appearance in September of 1997.

Extract:- WPAC organ page
The Redford Theatre
Short clip
Emily Seward
Lynn Walls
The Redford Theatre Barton The Redford Theatre Barton
The Redford Theatre Barton
The Redford Theatre opened on January 27, 1928 as a neighbourhood movie house. The theatre, with its three story grand foyer and full-size stage, has been in continuous operation ever since. This was fortunate, since it enabled the Redford and its theatre organ to escape the ravages of neglect that resulted in the destruction of many movie palaces.
Silent films were still being produced when the plans were made for the theatre, so a Barton Theatre organ was installed as the theatre was being built.
As the theatre continued in operation, the pipe organ was used less and less frequently. Eventually heavy draperies were hung over the organ grillework.
The Motor City Theatre Organ Society became interested in the Redford Theatre because, while many pipe organs had been removed from theatres, the Redford's instrument remained intact. The Redford Theatre and the Fox Theatre are now the only two theatres with their original theatre organs in the metro Detroit area.
MCTOS entered into an agreement with the owners of the theatre to voluntarily refurbish the organ and use it to present shows.
The organ shows were very successful. However, the audiences for the movies being presented by the owners of the theatre dwindled. Despite attempts, by the owners, to bolster attendance, the theatre became commercially unprofitable.
The owners of the Redford Theatre offered to sell the organ, building and grounds to MCTOS. MCTOS took a giant step and purchased the theatre on a seven year land contract.
At the end of the land contract, MCTOS was able to make the balloon payment and became the full owner of the theatre.

Extract Redford History
Grand Ledge Opera House
All The Things You Are
Skyfall - Donnie Rankin
Grand Ledge Opera House Grand Ledge Opera House
Grand Ledge Opera House
The Grand Ledge Opera House originally opened in 1884, when Grand Ledge was a thriving resort town. Located on the banks of the Grand River it was first known as Riverside Roller Rink. Later it became Blake's Opera House. In 1909, the building became Sackett's Opera House, then briefly a movie theatre. In the late 1920's it was converted to a furniture store.
Decades later the Mapes family of Sunfield donated the building and property to the Grand Ledge Area Historical Society. The Opera House was reborn in 1993 after careful restoration accomplished with private donations and the joint effort of the Historical Society and the Grand Ledge Area Chamber of Commerce.
At the same time that the Opera House was renovated, the elegant Michigan Theatre building in Lansing was converted from a theatre and shopping arcade into an office building. A group of Lansing area musicians were looking for a home for the Barton pipe organ which had been in the theatre since its beginning. The Grand Ledge Opera House became that home. The organ was restored to its original glory by Lansing Theatre Organ, Inc.

Extract:- Grand Ledge Opera House history
Michigan Theater
Behind the scenes with Henry Aldridge
Under the Radar - all about the theatre
St.Patricks Day 2010
Bud on the Michigan Theater's pipe organ
Michigan Theater BartonMichigan Theater Barton
Michigan Theater Barton
Logo, Web site link
The Michigan Theater has one of only a handful of historic pipe organs that remains in its original home. Now nearly 100 years old, the Barton has been played almost daily since 1972, and currently provides audiences with a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience before movies, lectures, and concerts, as well as accompanying screenings of classic silent films several times per year.

Extract:- Help Preserve the Barton Organ
Bartola Musical Instrument Co.
Barton Organ name plate Barton Organ name plate
Barton Organ name plate

The first Bartols was made and installed in the Rex Theatre in Oshkosh in 1911. Dan Barton went into partnership with Warren G. Maxcy, the manager of the Grand Opera House, and began manufacturing Bartolas in a rented machine shop on State Street in 1912. He called his business the Barton Musical Specialties. The company was successful and soon opened an office in Chicago, Illinois and also started a school for Bartola players. He later began building loft organs for theatres and churches across the country. By 1916 they were called the Bartola Musical Instrument Company, and were located in a larger factory at 20 Algoma Boulevard.
Bartola were the sixth largest builder of theatre instruments in the nation, Bartola focused almost exclusively on the Midwest market. Barton later recalled, 'We decided to work only a limited territory so we could give prompt service to all our installations. No installation was more than an overnight sleeper ride from Chicago.' For this reason, the instruments were almost unknown outside of this relatively small area until later years. The company built about 250 theatre organs from 1918 to 1931.
Barton's first successful experiment in producing equipment to accompany silent films was a set of electrically operated bells that formed a musical scale. After seeing the highly enthusiastic reception of his invention, Barton began toying with the idea of a more elaborate mechanism employing additional percussion instruments and organ pipes.
In 1918, the Bartola Musical Instrument Company was formed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Barton turned his attention to the development and manufacture of the "Bartola", one of several precursors of the theatre organ generically referred to as photoplayers.
In the early- to mid-1920s, larger and more opulent theatres were being built, and photoplayer-type instruments were no longer considered adequate to meet the musical demands of the larger houses. A new kind of organ was being developed, one which expanded greatly on the concept of the photoplayer. Originally developed by Robert Hope-Jones and marketed as the "Wurlitzer-Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra" by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company of North Tonawanda, New York, it was designed specifically to meet the entertainment needs of theatres (most importantly the accompaniment of silent film). This new musical aesthetic resulted in an instrument which soon became generically known as the theatre organ. Barton gradually converted his operation from manufacture of the Bartola to the manufacture and installation of larger theatre pipe organs with pipes and other sound-producing components installed in organ chambers placed higher in the building, speaking directly into the auditorium, and with only the large organ console remaining in the orchestra pit. Along with its many competitors, this was the genesis of the "Barton Organ".
The Barton organ was especially robust in construction and tonal design, was soundly constructed from quality materials, and worked exceptionally well. They have been described as "huskier" in construction and tone than were typical Wurlitzer organs. Some consider the typical Barton sound to be "cruder" or "less refined" than the typical Wurlitzer sound, while others revel in its brash assertiveness.
Dan Barton was a businessman who knew the importance of showmanship in show business. Bartola, arguably more than any other manufacturer of theatre organs, designed instruments that would appeal to the eye as well as the ear. Barton's consoles. the most visible part of the organ to the customer, were almost always vividly decorated, with striking designs and colours. One common decoration scheme used brilliant red and gold (or black and gold) paint over gesso relief designs. This style of decoration eventually became informally referred to as the "circus wagon" motif.
Barton organ liftMany theatres were equipped with organ lifts, designed to raise the organ console to stage level for solos, and lower it into the pit for film accompaniment. Bartola also manufactured organ lifts, recognizable by their distinctive four posts-(see pic left)one at each corner of the lift, and topped by metallic spheres. The posts concealed the lift mechanism, and Bartola's four-post lift was of great interest to small to mid-sized theatre builders because it sat flat on the orchestra pit floor without requiring excavation below the pit, or even the drilling of a central screw shaft into the floor. Many Barton organ consoles were installed on these lifts, to say nothing of consoles of other builders. Like all Bartola products, they were robustly constructed, and many remain in use today. One example of this lift unit for the Barton organ may be found at the 1927-era historic Temple Theatre in Saginaw, Michigan.
In 1929 the company changed its name to the Maxcy Barton Organ Company, then ceased business operations about 1931, soon after the advent of "talking pictures" eliminated the demand for theatre organs virtually overnight.
Brindley & Foster
Organ Restored in Edinburgh
A stop tourof the organ at St Mary, Carleton In Craven
Westbourne Grove Church - a number of audio tracks
Logo, Wikipedia web site
Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article
Hauptwerk logo
The business was established by Charles Brindley. Charles Brindley began his career in Germany. It is thought that he worked under Edmund Schulze at Paulinselle.
In 1854, after Schulze, Charles Brindley set up his first workshop in Carver Street, Sheffield, and traded under the name Charles Brindley.
It is thought Brindley had already acquired Schulze's scales for diapasons and stops of the Hohl Flute and Gedact families.
In the early years, Brindley employed a number of skilled German organ builders and at a later date took on a brother of Edmund Schulze.
He was joined by Albert Healey Foster in 1871 and the company acquired the name Brindley & Foster.
Brindley constructed a number of good quality mechanical action instruments with conventional 'slider soundboards', a far cry from the design and action used in his later organs, which were built in partnership with Mr Foster.
In 1876 Brindley & Foster moved in to Columbia Place, and they stayed here until 1936.
In 1885, at the International Invention Exhibition, Brindley and Foster were awarded a silver medal for general excellence.
Charles Brindley died on October 6, 1893, having retired in 1887. His son, Charles Frederick Brindley, continued the partnership with A H Foster.
Brindley and Foster never stopped evolving. They continued to develop and improve their soundboards, until the slider soundboard was replaced with a new sliderless chest, with an individual action to each pipe within the organ, always striving to gain mechanical efficiency and purer tone from organ pipes at all times.
Between 1909 and 1914 Brindley and Foster built, on average, one organ a month. The one in Freemasons Hall was one of the last instruments to be built before World War I.
With the war came lean years and orders for organs became few and far between. Fortunately the firm had a very large tuning round and was able to carry on trading. Unfortunately many skilled staff left to seek employment elsewhere and, after a long uphill struggle, the company finally went into the hands of the receiver on November 25, 1936.

As well as building many church organs they also built Clavorchester organs for cinemas, including ones for Abbeydale Picture House, Sheffield; Roxy Cinema, Swinton & The Victory Palace, Sheffield

Extract;- various sources
4th Feb 1811 – 13th Oct 1899
Notre Dame Notre Dame
Notre Dame
Logo, Wikipedia web site
Aristide Cavaille-Coll Aristide Cavaillé-Coll was born in Montpellier, France, one in a line of organ builders, he showed early talent in mechanical innovation.
He exhibited an outstanding fine art when designing and building his famous instruments. His organs are 'symphonic organs': that is, they can reproduce the sounds of other instruments and combine them as well.
His largest and greatest organ is in Saint-Sulpice, Paris. Featuring 100 stops and five manuals.

Aristide Cavaillé-Coll built over one hundred organs, including instruments in Japan, Russia and a number in Argentina as well as in most European countries.
He died 13th October 1899 in Paris

Cavaillé-Coll is responsible for many innovations that revolutionized organ building, performance and composition.
  • Instead of the Positif, Cavaillé-Coll placed the Grand-Chœur manual as the lowest manual, and included couplers that allowed the entire tonal resources of the organ to be played from the Grand-Chœur.
  • Refined the English swell box by devising a spring-loaded (later balanced) pedal with which the organist could operate the swell shutters, thus increasing the organ's potential for expression.
  • Adjusted pipe making and voicing techniques, thus creating a whole family of stops imitating orchestral instruments such as the bassoon, the oboe and the english horn.
  • Popularized the harmonic flute stop, which, together with the montre, the gambe and the bourdon, formed the foundations of the organ.
  • Introduced divided windchests which were controlled by ventils. These allowed the use of higher wind pressures and for each manual's reed stops to be added or subtracted as a group by means of a pedal.
  • Higher wind pressures allowed the organ to include many more stops of 8' (unison) pitch in every division, so complete fonds as well as reed choruses could be placed in every division, designed to be superimposed on top of one another.
  • Sometimes he placed the treble part of the compass on a higher pressure than the bass, to emphasize melody lines and counteract the natural tendency of small pipes (especially reeds) to be softer.

Extract:- Cavaillé-Coll Wikipedia page
Christie Organs
Logo, Newspaper article
Blaze Away - Harworth Christie Theatre Organ
The Sandford Park Christie organ with Brian Sharp
In The News - Brian Sharp
Christie organ Christie organ
Christie organ
Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article
John ChristieJohn Christie (left) was born 14th December 1882 in Eggesford, Devon. He was educated at Eton and Trinity Colleges. He was a master at Eton for seven years. John Christie served with the King's Royal Rifle Corps, during the First World War and was awarded the Military Cross.
John Christie was the founder of the Glyndebourne Opera House and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera at his home at Glyndebourne, near Lewes in Sussex.
In 1923 he bought the organ building company of William Hill & Son and Norman & Beard Ltd. The company of William Hill & Son and Norman & Beard Ltd was formed in 1916 with the merger of William Hill & Son and Norman & Beard Ltd. Norman & Beard had worked with Robert Hope-Jones (of Wurlitzer fame) and held a number of his patents, including electro-pneumatic action.
Following the First World War, Hill, Norman & Beard had concentrated its efforts on the development and perfection of Mr. Hope-Jones system of Electro-Pneumatic Action.
John Christie had given his name to the theatre organ branch of the organ company, branded the Christie Unit Organ. The company continued to develop the product and soon gained a world-wide reputation for quality.
John Christie died in 1962, the company continued trading until 1990.

Extract:- various
The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust
Lancastrian Christie Lancastrian Christie
Lancastrian Christie
Logo, Web site link Logo, Web site link
Curzon Community Cinema
Curzon Christie Curzon Christie
Curzon Christie
Logo, Web site link
COS logo
Regal Edmonton "Torch" Christie
History of Harworth Christie Organ Enthusiasts
Compton Organs
John Compton 1876 - 1957
John Compton was born in 1876 in Newton Burgoland, Leicestershire. He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and then studied as an apprentice with Halmshaw & Sons in Birmingham. In 1898 he joined Brindley and Foster in Sheffield then Charles Lloyd in Nottingham.
John Compton first set up a business in 1902 in Nottingham with James Frederick Musson, as Musson & Compton; the partnership dissolved in 1904. In 1919, the business moved to workshops at Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London.
On 13 June 1940, during World War II, Compton was arrested while holidaying on the island of Capri, in Italy. He was interned as an enemy alien but spent much of his time restoring pipe organs, before being permitted to return to England.
John Compton died in 1957.

Extract:- John Compton Wikipedia page

John Compton Organ Company Ltd the world's best cinema organ!
Compton factory Compton factory
Compton factory
Logo, Wikipedia web site
Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article
Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust
Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust Compton organ Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust Compton organ
Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust Compton organ
Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust was first formed in 1984 as a charity with the aim of ensuring the preservation of the 3 manual 8 rank Compton organ of the Capitol, Aberdeen. With the support of the theatre's then owners Messrs Donald, the organ was kept playing and occasional concerts were presented over the 1980s and 1990s. Even after the Capitol closed in December 1998 the Trust continued to be granted access pending a decision as to the future of the building, and thus the organ remained operational until the sale of the premises for conversion to a restaurant and nightclub in 2002.
Under the building's new function it was agreed that the organ, a listed feature, would remain in situ and would continue as part of the old Capitol's new identity. However, things did not go to plan. The extensive conversion work on the building gave rise to such a degree of dirt, dust and vibration that the organ (already in need of attention) was rendered completely unplayable. Only a complete restoration could bring it back to life but as the organ did not belong to the Trust and was also situated in a nightclub where its long-term preservation could not be assured, we were unable to attract any funding support.
In 2013 there came a breakthrough. Knight Property Group wanted to see the organ restored and reinstalled in a new home where it can be heard in public once again. We arranged an inspection and found that while extremely dirty and (of course) in need of thorough-going restoration the Compton had remained remarkably unscathed. It was however in immediate danger from water penetration of the building and planning consent was sought to remove it to safety. Aberdeen Theatre Organ Trust, though dormant, had never been wound up and it was a simple matter to relaunch it as a Scottish Charity.
Consent having been granted, in October 2013 the organ was moved to the dry, secure store where it now resides.
The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust
Compton 3/6 - Originally installed in the Davenport Theatre, Stockport. Cheshire in 1937.
Lancastrian Compton Lancastrian Compton
Lancastrian Compton
Logo, Web site link
Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre 11th Nov 1929 -
Events Diary
Bournemouth Pavilion Compton Bournemouth Pavilion Compton
Bournemouth Pavilion Compton
Logo, Wikipedia web site
The four manual twenty two rank Compton organ was installed in the Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre in 1929.
The pipework is contained in two concrete chambers, each forty eight feet high. One each side of the stage. The pipes speak via the top of the chambers, horizontal shutters controlling the volume.
The console is situated on the right of the stage. The organ has a quite pronounced delay with the sound from each chamber arriving at the organist at slightly different times, making the instrument quite challenging to play.
The first concert featuring the Compton organ was performed on 11th November 1929. The instrument is in good condition and still used.
The Burtey Fen Collection
In self player mode
The Burty Fen collection
Burtey Fen Compton Burtey Fen Compton
Burtey Fen Compton
Logo, Web site link Logo, Web site link
Most major cinemas of the 1930's and 40's had their own pipe organs that would rise dramatically from beneath the stage to accompany the silent films or entertain the audience between films. By the 1960's changes in popular entertainment saw their demise and by the 70's most had been removed and destroyed. A lucky few were saved by enthusiasts.
One such organ is now resident in a purpose built music hall in Pinchbeck, near Spalding, Lincolnshire - a 10 rank Compton organ, formerly of the Ritz Cinema, Tunbridge Wells. The cinema was opened on December 3rd 1934, with the film 'Sing As We Go', starring Gracie Fields. A highlight of the programme was the organ interlude, given by Alex Taylor. Here the Compton remained, delighting audiences, until 1970 when it was removed to make way for a multi-screen complex.
Henley and District Organ Trust purchased the organ and installed it in the Regal Cinema, where it was used for monthly concerts until 1986 when the cinema closed down. It remained untouched, and fell into disrepair until 1993 when developers bought the cinema which was to be demolished to make way for a car park for a nearby supermarket. In order for the organ to be saved it had to be bought, dismantled and removed within a couple of weeks.
Enter Nicholas Pitts:- a classically trained organist and organ restorer, with an interest in nostalgia and a determination to save the organ when he heard about its history from well-known theatre organist David Shepherd. Nicholas immediately bought the 7 rank Compton - unseen - and together with a small army of helpers brought the console and its 600 pipes back to Pinchbeck - just in time, as two days later the cinema was demolished!
The past few years have seen Nicholas restore the organ to its former glory. The Compton was then installed in a studio annexe in Nicholas's former home in Pinchbeck, but the word was out! People wanted to see and hear the organ again - including visitors from its home town of Tunbridge Wells. A series of monthly concerts was planned and these became so popular it was soon evident that it was time to move to larger premises!
Nothing on the market was suitable, so the only alternative was to buy a site and build a purpose built music hall. Nicholas, together with another nostalgia fan, Mark Willerton eventually found an ideal site, and set about designing the building to house the Compton and Mark's vast collection of music and film memorabilia from the 1940s, 50's and 60's. Once again the organ was carefully dismantled and put into storage, whilst the new building was constructed.
The three manual Compton, complete with its original illuminated surround, which slowly changes through a rainbow of colours as the organ plays, stands regal on the stage, again in perfect working order, to mesmerise audiences just as it did in its heyday

Extract:- The Burty Fen Compton
Gosport and District Organ Club
Gosport Compton Gosport Compton
Gosport Compton
The Gosport Organ Club was formed in 1977. In 1981 the thriving Club built the organ chambers at the rear of the Ballroom stage for the purpose of installing the Compton Organ from the Regal Hammersmith however before this could happen the larger 3/12 Compton from the Gaumont, Wood Green was obtained and the Hammersmith Compton was sold on.
The opening concert was performed by John Mann on 21st April1981. A further Kinura and Trumpet rank were added in 1985. The Compton Pipe Organ is still in its original build state and is only one of two still surviving Comptons with Electo-Mechanical relay action still playing in the public domain.

Extracft:- Gosport Organ Club OrganFax page
The Penistone Paramount
St. Thomas The Robert Sudall Trio
Here's That Rainy Day The Robert Sudall Trio
Penistone Compton Penistone Compton
Penistone Compton
Logo, Web site link
Opening on 4th September 1937, Birmingham's Paramount Theatre, (known as the "Showcase of England"), was the last of the large Paramount's to be built in this country. The official opening ceremony began with the National Anthem and then followed several greetings from the stars of the day, shown on the large screen. Then came the highlight of the evening as with a mighty roar the console of the mammoth Compton Organ rose out of the stage in the expert hands of Al Bollington. In 1965, the theatre was modernised and drapes were hung over the side walls of the auditorium.
The Compton lay disused for 15 years until 1976, when the theatre acquired a new manager. Chris Mott, former manager of the neighbouring Gaumont Cinema, who decided to re-establish the Odeon to its former glory. This new plan included the reincarnation of the Compton, which was given a new lease of life.
Sadly, the use of the Compton was to come to an abrupt end. In the late 1980s, the Rank Organisation, who had bought tile Paramount Theatres, announced that the Odeon, Birmingham was to close for major refurbishment and conversion into a six screen cinema complex. This work would, in effect, cut the organ in half - the Upper chamber being in one cinema and the lower chamber in another. The race was then on to find another home for the Compton.
Following the closure of the Odeon, Birmingham in 1988 for conversion, the Compton organ was removed by the cinema's last resident organist, Steve Tovey. The Compton's future was uncertain, Trevor Harris, a Shropshire Cinema owner, stepped in with an offer to buy the Compton as a complete instrument. The new location for the Compton was the Regal Cinema, Oswestry.
The Compton's new lease of life proved to be short lived. Trevor Harris realised that this type of entertainment was becoming unprofitable and announced the closure of the Regal in 1994. The organ was removed into storage.
The parts of the Compton remained in storage all over South Yorkshire until 1999, when after successful negotiations with Penistone Town Council; the organ began a new and exciting chapter in its history.
By May 1999, most of the unit and off-note chests were in place and the endless task of wiring these began. Because of current safety standards, the original cotton-covered wire had to he replaced with modern plastic insulated cable.
After a period of nearly six years, the hard work and dedication of Kevin Grunill and the rest of the volunteers had finally paid off and the small market town of Penistone can now be proud to be preserving such an important part of our musical heritage.

Extracts from the Penistone Compton history
Conacher Organs
Damon Willetts
Restorationof D06878
Norman Scott at The Rotherham Conacher Organ (1)
Norman Scott at The Rotherham Conacher Organ (2)
Damon Willetts at The Rotherham Conacher Organ
Dorian Collins. at The Rotherham Conacher Organ
Conacher Organ Conacher Organ
Conacher Organ

Logo, Wikipedia web site Conacher Organs
Henry Erben
Round top, Texas
Passion-Hymns - Old St. Patrick's Cathedral - Jared Lamenzo
demonstration of the 2 manual pipe organ
Henry Erben organ Henry Erben organ
Henry Erben organ
Logo, Newspaper article Logo, Newspaper article
Logo, Web site link Web site
Henry Erben , long regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of American pipe organ building, was certainly also one of the most colourful. During his long career, spanning nearly six decades, Erben's reputation for unwavering excellence as an organ builder, his forays into Tammany Hall politics, as well as his intransigent personality, far out-distanced the boundaries of his native New York City, where he spent his entire life.
Henry Erben was born on March 10, 1800 to Peter and Elizabeth Kern Erben. Peter was a church musician, serving as organist in several New York City churches, and ending his career at the prestigious Trinity Episcopal Church, Wall Street, where in 1846, his son Henry was to install perhaps his most famous instrument. Later in life, Henry recalled that the organ was an everyday part of his rearing and "a sweet memory of childhood…"
Henry Erben became Thomas Hall's apprentice in 1816. For the next seven years, he assisted Hall with several prominent installations, including large instruments in New York, Baltimore and Charleston. Henry was frequently sent to the southern United States to set up organs built by the Lowe firm. Thus from an early date, Erben began to establish Southern connections which were to play an important role in his later career.
By the middle of 1823, we get our first glimpse of Erben as the direct and no-nonsense businessman, which later made him famous. Henry presumably needed cash to enter into partnership with Thomas Hall. Turning to his father, Peter Erben, he requested $6,000. For some reason, Peter declined the request, so Henry-like any good nineteenth century businessman-took his father to court. Settled by the Supreme Court, State and County of New York, Peter was ordered to pay his son the $6,000, plus court costs.
During the following June, 1824, a Charleston, South Carolina newspaper announced that HALL & ERBEN, Church and Chamber Organ Builders, New York respectfully inform their Southern friends, that having considerably enlarged their establishment, they are prepared to execute orders for organs of every description upon shortest notice, and upon the most accommodating terms.
It should probably come as little surprise, based on Henry's previous dealings with his own father, that the business marriage between Erben and Hall, was not one "made in heaven", for within three years, the partnership between the two was dissolved, with Erben becoming the sole owner of the establishment.
From 1827 until the beginning of the Civil War, the firm of "Henry Erben-Organ Manufacture" continued to expand, enlarge its work force and increase production. During the later 1820s, the firm produced an average of eight instruments annually, and the 1855 Industrial Census records that the firm manufactured 110 instruments in the twelve months preceding, July 19th. The census also indicated that Erben engaged 45 employees, used $50,000 in raw materials and the aggregate value of organs sold totalled just less than $100,000 No other American organ builder matched this production for another twenty-five years.
Henry Erben was one of the most sought after organ builders of his generation. His work, numbering in excess of perhaps 1,000 instruments (his obituary cited 1,734 organs) was to be found throughout North and South America. The country's most prestigious churches, as well as most cathedrals built in the United States during the 1840s and 1850s, boasted large Erben organs. Yet Erben also had a significant market among rural congregations, providing small, one manual (i.e., keyboard) instruments built to same, exacting standards as his large organs. His business acumen made him a formidable competitor. He is believed to be the first American organ builder to aggressively use advertising literature to promote his work. During his career he is known to have published at least three opus lists, in 1843, 1874 and 1880. These lists were not arranged chronologically as a historical record of his work to date, but rather geographically by state, and then city or town. They were intended for the practical purpose of providing prospective clients with a reference tool for locating examples of Erben's work in a particular region, prior to ordering an instrument from him. Erben customers were almost always pleased with the product they received from his hand. If a customer decided to replace their existing organ with a new or larger instrument by Erben, Henry generally provided them with financial incentives, such as accepting the previous organ in trade, providing cash rebates, or both. Consequently, Erben succeeded to out-build, out-class and out-rate virtually all his competition in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore for the greater part of the 19th century.
Revered by the musical elite of his generation, Erben was notorious for his coarse language, irritable disposition and violent temper. His irascible behaviour towards clients and church authorities was especially apparent during negotiations with a buyer over the design and price of a new organ. More often than not, it was Erben who set the terms for a prospective contract, entertaining little or no debate.
Committees calling upon Mr. Erben stated their needs and financial limitations and he specified the organ. If a committee attempted to urge upon him plans inconsistent with his own, it was dismissed with denunciations emphasized by words from his private vocabulary, expressive if not elegant, his walking stick frequently assisting both emphasis and exit.
After the demise of the Hall & Erben firm in 1827, Erben continued to cultivate his southern market in earnest. By the mid 1840s nearly 20% of his work went to what would become the Confederacy and Border States.
One of the best preserved of all of Henry Erben's instruments is the recently restored, 1845 organ located in the Huguenot Church in Charleston, S.C. Erben also maintained a branch, service operation in Baltimore between 1847 and 1863, at which facility organ cases and mechanisms were manufactured.
The post-Civil War economy greatly diminished Henry Erben's southern business, although he continued to build isolated instruments for southern congregations. As the economy improved, some of his southern clients returned. In 1875 for example, nine out of a listed total production of twenty organs went to southern churches, four to Richmond alone. Even as the South began to attain a measure of economic recovery, the nation as a whole, was plunged into the depression brought about by the "panic" of 1873, with the expected adverse effect on the business of all organ builders, Erben included. From 1874-1879, Erben was forced once again to go into partnership, this time with William M. Wilson, under the name of Henry Erben & Co., and in 1880 until his death on May 7, 1884, he worked with his son, Charles. In 1881, Erben characteristically proclaimed: I have now over 56 years of experience in manufacturing organs. In that time building the greater portion of the largest and most perfectly constructed organs in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America…I will unhesitatingly pronounce them not only equal, but superior, to those of any other manufacturer, whether American or European.
Henry Erbens skill as an organ builder was totally practical and empirical; learned through the time-honoured method of apprenticeship, and no doubt infused with a substantial dose of 19th century, American-optimism and self-confidence.
Henry Erben died May 1883

Extract:-A Tale of Two Organs
Evans & Barr
1903 - 1963
Evans & Barr were in essence the first organ building firm in the north of Ireland. Dublin was traditionally the centre for instrument making and in the 1830s the large and renowned firm of Telford was established there.
In the early 19th Century Ulster itself had relatively few organs, the majority of these having been built in England. Telfords never had much influence in the north and with the upsurgence of church building from the 1860s onwards, Conacher and Walker were the traditional choice of builder.
The Presbyterian Church had been fighting the controversy of accompanied music for decades and eventually by 1900 pipe organs were gradually beginning to appear in their churches. Charles Evans and William Barr were employees of Nicholson & Lord of Walsall and would have worked in Ireland on several organs around this time. I rather suspect that when Nicholson & Lord installed their new organ in Newcastle Parish Church Co. Down in 1901/2 that Evans & Barr seized the opportunity and made the decision to stay. They established themselves in Belfast city centre in 1903 and within 3 years were building substantial instruments.
Evans & Barr Ltd moved to newly built premises in 1911 off the Donegall Road in south Belfast and around this time established a small branch in Dublin. The years following the First World War brought in numerous contracts for War Memorial organs. From 1915 to the late 1920s instruments were built for places in South Wales and Scotland but this trend did not continue.
In 1949 Maurice Goodall a pipemaker who worked for F J Rodgers in Leeds came over to work with Evans & Barr, Doug Loker followed and the two set up the Belfast City Organ Pipe Works in part of the organ building premises. There they made pipes for firms all over the world and continued until 1997 when they were incorporated into Wells-Kennedy Partnership and now trade as WK Pipecraft.
William Barr left Evans & Barr and built a few organs on his own, the firm continued and passed to Charles Evans' son, Grosvenor, who it is said had little interest in organ building. Internal rivalry eventually led to bankruptcy in 1963 bringing to a sad end what started as an important contribution to the British and Irish organ scenes.
Short Extract:- article by Alistair McCartney B.Sc.
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Richard Ferris
1841 - 1860
Richard Ferris organ Richard Ferris organ
Richard Ferris organ
Richard M. Ferris (1818-58) learned organ building as an apprentice to Henry Erben, the leading organ builder in New York and one of the foremost in the United States during the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century. Ferris started with Erben in 1830, and much of his work over the next few years involved assisting with the assembling, finishing, and tuning of instruments that the firm sold to places in the South. He returned to New York in 1835, and stayed with the firm at least into 1838, when, after a dispute with Erben, he was able to terminate his apprenticeship about a year short of its term.
Ferris worked independently repairing and tuning organs in the South for a time before setting up his own organ works in New York in 1841. He located his firm first on Fulton Street near Nassau Street, but moved it to White Street in 1842 when he entered into a brief partnership with Henry Leaman.
In 1843 or 1844, Ferris formed a new partnership with William H. Davis (1816-88) Davis & Ferris advertised that "they are prepared to furnish Organs of any description on as liberal terms as any other establishment in this city, and pledge themselves that all organs entrusted to them shall give entire satisfaction. The firm made organ pipes for other builders, but they also received a steady stream of commissions for complete instruments. The organ for Calvary Church, New York, was the largest instrument they built during their brief collaboration. The partnership ended in 1849.
Ferris continued without a partner until 1856, when he suffered a stroke. The next year, his half brother Levi U. Stuart (1827-1904) became a partner, and the firm was briefly restyled Richard M. Ferris & Co. Stuart had learned organ building in Ferris's shop, as had his four brothers, and when Ferris died on December 6, 1858, at the age of 40, Stuart continued the business until 1876, although he dropped the Ferris name in 1860.
Ferris built about sixty organs during his lifetime. His work included two three-manual organs, the ones for Calvary Church (1847) and All Souls' Unitarian Church (1856), both in New York. He also rebuilt the 1839 two-manual Thomas Robjohn's organ at the South Dutch Reformed Church into a three-manual instrument in 1854. Two-manual organs made up about a third of his output, and the balance comprised smaller, one-manual instruments. He built organs predominantly for clients in New York and Brooklyn, but he also installed instruments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware, Texas, and Mississippi.

Extract:-Round Lake Auditorium, Organ
Harrison & Harrison

Facebook Page
Thomas Harrison organ builder Thomas Harrison organ builder
Thomas Harrison organ builder
Logo, Web site link Harrison & Harrison Web site
Logo, Web site link Catalogue of Harrison organs

Thomas Hugh Harrison was born in 1839, the second son of Thomas William Harrison of St Pancras, London, whose firm made parts for the organ-building trade. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to the organ builder Henry Willis. Sometime after completing his apprenticeship with Willis, he joined the Bristol firm of William Allen as manager. In 1861 he took the bold step of moving to Rochdale to set up his own firm.
The business was soon attracting favourable notice from influential people in the musical world. By 1870, however, the firm had overstretched itself financially, and in 1872 Thomas made a fresh start in the city of Durham. In this new venture he was supported by his father in London, and the name Harrison & Harrison dates from this time.
The firm advanced steadily. An important early contract was the three-manual organ built for the Chapel of Castle Howard in 1875, which still survives in virtually its original form. Within twenty-five years Harrison & Harrison had built more than three hundred organs with five overseas. Surviving organs from this period show sturdy workmanship and a colourful musical quality. During these years the firm established a reputation that was to provide a good basis for greater things.
Thomas's two sons, Arthur and Henry (Harry), joined the firm in the 1880s as apprentices and in due course became partners. Thomas himself retired to London in 1895.
Harry Harrison's son, Cuthbert, took over the leadership of the firm in 1945.
A hugely influential event for the company was the building of the organ in The Royal Festival Hall in 1954. This landmark instrument introduced the British organ world to the classical influence of the continental Organ Reform Movement. The national furore which accompanied this, and the eventual acclaim for the result, marked a turning-point in the history of the British organ.
Cuthbert remained Chairman of H & H until his death in 1991.

Extract :- Harrison & Harrison Web Site
Hill, Norman & Beard
Norman & Beard
last breaths of the N + B at Hebron
Widor Organ Toccata in F from 5th Symphony audio only
Organ Sonata No. 1 1st movement audio only
Herbert J. Norman The Norman & Beard story starts with William Norman (1830-1877) working in London as a cabinetmaker for the London organ-builder J. W. Walker. Becoming interested in organs, William built a chamber organ for his own use and then his eldest son, Ernest W. Norman (1851-1927), took up an apprenticeship with J. W. Walker. Ernest fell out with the Walker's and moved back to Norfolk with his father. The company was initially based in Diss.
William Norman died in 1877 and Ernest moved to Norwich, already advertising as 'Ernest W. Norman, Tunist to the Cathedral'. Ernest's younger brother Herbert J. Norman (left) (1861-1936) became interested in the work and studied for a while with T. C. Lewis in London. By 1883 the business had moved to a larger workshop and took the name 'Norman Bros.', building its first three-manual organ for the church of St. Michael at Coslany, Norwich, in 1885. This was followed by their first four-manual instrument, built for the chapel of Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1887.
By this time the firm had become 'Norman Bros. and Beard', following the arrival of G. A. Wales Beard in 1885. By 1886 they were advertising as 'By Special Appointment to the Prince of Wales'. Thenceforth the firm was run by a triumvirate. Ernest specialised in mechanism, Herbert specialised in the voicing of the organ pipes with Wales Beard as principal salesman.
The business expanded rapidly, becoming 'Norman & Beard Ltd' in 1896 and, outgrowing the workshop again, moved in 1898 to a purpose-built factory in St. Stephen's Road, Norwich, reputed at the time to be the largest organ-factory in Europe. A second factory in Ferdinand Street, Camden Town, London, was opened in 1902. By 1908 the firm had a staff of 300 and were building around 70 new organs a year.
The company became very successful selling organs all over the world. What were the reasons for this success? Firstly, the entrepreneurial salesmanship of Wales Beard, and secondly, the efficiency of the Norwich factory plus the advantage of Ernest Norman's tubular exhaust-pneumatic key-action which was simpler, easier to make and quicker to install on site than the charge-pneumatic actions of their rivals. Herbert J. Norman exploited a voicing technique that yielded new tone qualities by enabling narrow-scale pipes to speak properly and bass pipes to speak more promptly than before.
This voicing technique came to the firm with some key members of staff inherited from the debris of the Robert Hope-Jones Electric Organ Company when it went bust in 1899. Hope-Jones had developed a low-voltage electric action for organs, allowing the console to be some considerable distance away from the pipes. Herbert Norman having visited the pioneer 1887 Hope-Jones organ in Birkenhead, Wales Beard became a director of the Hope-Jones company and Norman & Beard became major suppliers of organ parts to the firm. Norman & Beard later used his electric action when a console needed to be detached.
Although Wales Beard was a clever salesman, his principal weapon was price; a number of organs made at the London factory are rumoured not to have been profitable. The London factory was closed in 1910 and the loss of much of the workforce to fight in the 1914-18 War led to a reduced turnover. The last organ to be built in Norwich was in 1916. In that year the firm merged with the long-established firm of Hill & Son of London. Norman & Beard had the sales but not the staff, whereas the reverse was true of Hill's, the Hill workforce being older and less affected by the war. The Norwich works closed and the combined firm operated from the Hill factory in London.

Extract:- Norman & Beard Ltd History
William Hill & Sons
Arthur George Hill

William Hill was born in Spilsby, Lincolnshire in 1789. He married the daughter of organ-builder Thomas and worked for Thomas Elliott from 1825. The company was known as Elliott and Hill until Elliott died in 1832.
On Elliot's death William Hill inherited the firm. From 1832 William Hill's elder son William joined him in the firm. From 1855 William Hill's younger son Thomas joined the company and took control after his father's death in 1870.
When Thomas died in 1893 the firm continued under Arthur George Hill (right), the nephew of Thomas, until 1916 when it was amalgamated with Norman & Beard.

Extract:- William Hill Wikipedia page

Wm. Hill & Son and Norman & Beard Ltd, generally known as Hill Norman & Beard, had an early client in a wealthy amateur who, in 1920, commissioned a 45-stop four-manual instrument for his specially-built music room. The client, John Christie of Glyndebourne, liked the organ so much he bought the company. He put the company into the new market for organs to accompany silent films. The instruments were known as Christie Unit Organs. They were based on American Wurlitzer technology which, in turn, had been based on patents granted to Robert Hope-Jones.
Wellington Town Hall (Norman &: Beard) 1906

Organ Stop Demonstration
Removal of organ

You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon You Tube link icon
Wellington Town Hall organ Wellington Town Hall organ
Wellington Town Hall organ
Logo, Newspaper article
Logo, Web site link Logo, Web site link Logo, Web site link
Wellington City Corporation commissioned Norman & Beard to build a concert organ in London at a cost of 5,000 pounds. It took 12 months to build and was shipped from England in 51 zinc-lined cases and packages.
Designed as a symphonic-styled civic concert organ, it still has its original tubular pneumatic action and blowing mechanism. Many civic organs were rebuilt when the organ reform movement was popular from the late '50s to the '80s.
There have been recommendations to make all sorts of substantial changes to the organ over the years. Though some minor changes have been made, it's had a lucky escape from a major makeover.
The Town Hall organ is enormous - there's much more to it than can be seen from the front. It has 4,000 pipes of varying sizes distributed in a structure that is three storeys high. Two of the four keyboards play pipes contained in their own separate rooms, with louvres that the organist can open and shut to control the loudness.
The organ is immensely powerful, capable of matching a full symphony orchestra in volume and able to play notes lower than the bass tuba and higher than the piccolo. It is the quality of tone, however, that distinguishes it from most concert hall organs in the world. Built at a time when Romanticism in music was at its height, it has a warmth of sound that envelopes the listener rather than assaulting the ears.
Extract:-Wellington City Council web site
The town hall was shut in November 2013 for earthquake strengthening but work halted three months later when the cost ballooned from $43 million to $60m.
Wellington City Council announced that the current best-case-scenario was to resume seismic strengthening of the 112-year-old building in September 2017 so it was unlikely to reopen for about three years.
The year before the hall shut, its 10 metre tall, 50 tonne Norman & Beard pipe organ was dismantled and shipped to the South Island Organ Company in Washdyke for restoration.

Extract:- The Timaru Herald
St John's Ashfield - Sydney - Australia (William Hill & Son) 1883
June 2008
St John's Sydney Wlm Hill & Son Organ St John's Sydney Wlm Hill & Son Organ
St John's Sydney Wlm Hill & Son Organ
The organ at St John's Anglican Church was replaced with a larger instrument by Hill & Son in 1883. The Hill organ was constructed for the north transept of the church with two display fronts and the console built across the corner of the case.
The organ was rebuilt with electric action by R.A. and D.A Wiltshire in 1950. In 1975 it was again rebuilt by Anthony Welby who installed a new mechanical action. At some time the console was moved and is still detached, facing across the choir with the organ case behind the player's back.
Alterations to the chancel required the moving of the console to a position not possible with mechanical action. It was decided that as the Hill pipework was virtually original and untouched, the tonal originality should be preserved, but operated through a new and reliable electric action. A new moveable console was installed, along with renewing the wind system to adequate proportions, relocating the blower unit, and installing a solid state relay to operate the soundboards and pedal ranks. Pipework had to be cleaned and regulated to adhere as close as possible the original Hill tonal qualities.
Extract:- Sydney
Norwich Cathedral (Hill, Norman & Beard)
Live Wire - David Dunnett
Firebird - David Dunnett

You Tube link icon
Norwich Cathedral Norwich Cathedral
Norwich Cathedral
Following a fire in 1938 Hill, Norman & Beard was commissioned to build a new organ using as much of the old organ as possible. The new organ case was finished in 1950 and has two fronts. The new organ had 105 speaking stops making it the fourth largest organ in the country. Additional work was done to the organ by the builders in 1968. The instrument now contains pipework from three centuries. There are six manual divisions which are playable on four keyboards.
Hilsdon Organs
Bellshill Central Parish Church
Alan Mathew - Bellshill
Hilsdon Organ Hilsdon Organ
Hilsdon Organ
Jardine & Co.
Logo, Web site link
The business was founded near Preston in 1780 by James Davis and later transferred to London by James and his brother David. They ran the business until 1822.
Samuel Renn was born in 1786 - the son of a coachman at Kedleston Hall near Derby when of the right age he was sent to London to be apprenticed to his uncle James Davis, who by this time was recognized as a highly successful Organ Builder. Davis retired and handed the business to Renn, who made the bold decision to set up his workshops near Manchester in 1822.
Renn took a partner, John Boston, and from then on up until 1835 the business traded under the name Renn & Boston.
From 1835 the name Boston was dropped out of the title and it was then known as Samuel Renn and it remained so until 1845 when the business came into the hands of James Kirtland, - a nephew and former apprentice of Renns.
In 1846 James Kirtland took a partner named Frederick Jardine and they carried on building organs under the name of Kirtland & Jardine. This partnership continued until 1886 when Kirtland left the company and the name once again changed, this time becoming simply Frederick Jardine.
On October the first 1874 the business was purchased by James Alfred Thorald and Charles Woodfield Smith, - Smith having been with Jardines since 1861. Thorald and Smith continued to trade under that name up to 1889.
The change of name from Thorald and Smith to Jardine and Company in 1899 came about with the death of J.A. Thorald. The Smith of Thorald and Smith's two sons, one named Edwin Charles and the other Percy Colville joined the firm.
In 1900 Jardine & Co moved into a purpose built factory in Elsinore Road, Old Trafford, where they continued building organs of all types and sizes for Cathedrals, Churches, Hospitals, Prisons, Private Houses, Cinemas, etc. (Jardine's were the first British organ builders to design and build an organ specifically for the cinema to accompany silent films, 15 installations listed in 1946).
Extract:- Jardine History
Kimball Organs
  Logo, Wikipedia web site
William Wallace Kimball
The company was founded by William Wallace Kimball (left) in 1857 as an organ and piano retailer in Chicago.
They began manufacturing organs in 1881 and later pianos.
They also made organs for others such as Bentley, Goggin, Thiery, J.V. Watson, Pacific Queen, Great Western and probably Lundell Olson
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.
Pipe organ manufacture ceased in 1942
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 electric organs for the home entertainment market.
Extract:- Antique Organs and Wikipedia
Theatre organs
Markworth Residence
Jule Styne Medley Mark Herman
Guys & Dolls - Donnie Rankin
Ragtime - Brett Valliant
Bohemian Rhapsody - Brett Valliant
Roller Coaster - Mark Herman
Vanessa - Mark Herman
Napolian's Last Charge - John Ledwon
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - Zach Frame
Beatles Medley - Zach Frame
Love Is Where You Find It - Martin Ellis
Markworth Residence Kimball organ Markworth Residence Kimball organ
Markworth Residence Kimball organ
In 1975 the original Kimball organ, a 9 rank instrument with a three manual console was removed from the Leona Theatre in Homestead, PA. After considerable rebuilding, cleaning, restoring and subsequent installation, the organ was playing the Markworth's previous home in late 1979. Over the following 20 years the organ was gradually increased in size to 15 ranks. In 1995 the Markworths built their current home with the thought of increasing the size of the organ a "bit" further. After going over the list of various ranks, it was determined the size would be 24 ranks. To provide the correct number of stop tabs a larger console would be required. A large 3 manual Kimball console was located. unfortunately the condition of the "new" console was deplorable. The rebuilding, building, refinishing the larger console delayed the completion of the installation of the organ about a year.
Due to the added wind needed for the additional ranks an additional 5 HP blower was required. The original nine rank electro-pneumatic relay was replaced with a Uniflex computer relay system.
The original Kimball piano (pressure action) is located in the listening room as is a second set of 25 note chimes and 30 note Rodgers orchestra bells. A complete set of drums and traps located in the listing room frequently accompanies the organ when a drummer is available
Essentially the organ was completed in the spring of 2000. Ongoing 'tweaking' of the organ will likely continue well into the future.
Extract:- abvout the Markworth organ page
Sophisticated Lady Donnie Rankin
Star Wars - Juneau, Alaska
Scottish Rite Masonic Temple
Kimball theatre organ Kimball theatre organ
Kimball theatre organ
Classical organs
Jesse Zylstra at the Kimball pipe organ
Worcester War Memorial Auditorium
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Kimball Classical organ Kimball Classical organ
Kimball Classical organ
Los Angeles Art Organ Company
Logo, Wikipedia web site
George A. Audsley By Constable and Company, Ltd., London [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons The Art Organ Company was organized in the early 1900s by organ architect George A. Audsley (pic left) and Joseph Burr Tiffany (pic right), who set out to provide "artistic" organs suitable for residences. Audsley designed the organs that were built by Philipp Wirsching of Salem, Ohio. Tiffany designed the elaborate case work. The company's offices were located in Steinway Hall.
The firm was the successor to the Murray M. Harris Organ Co., which was reorganized following Harris's ousting from the company. The Los Angeles Art Organ Co. operated from around 1903 to 1905 at which point it was moved to Hoboken, New Jersey and renamed the Electrolian Organ Company, with Eben Smith as its president.
The biggest accomplishment of the Los Angeles Art Organ Company during its very short lifespan was the creation of the lavish instrument that was on display in Festival Hall at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The instrument was the largest in the world at the time of its construction and contained more than 10,000 pipes. The organ, even though it wasn't completed on time and was only partially functional during the first weeks of the fair (due in large part to the enormous financial burden the construction was placing on the firm), was played by some of the most famous virtuosos of the time. Most notably is probably Felix Alexandre Guilmant who played a series of 40 concerts in a six-week period. The organ was extremely well received and the Los Angeles Art Organ Company was awarded a gold medal from the World's Fair for its construction. This instrument is now installed in Philadelphia, PA and serves as the core of the famous Wanamaker Grand Court Organ.
Extract:- Various
The Wanamaker Organ 1904 Logo, Wikipedia web site
Inside the world's largest operating musical instrument
Christmas in the Grand Tradition Concert
Over the Rainbow
Wagner Funeral March from the Ring Cycle
Wanamaker organ Wanamaker organ
Wanamaker organ
Logo, Web site link
Built by the Los Angeles Art Organ Company for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, the Wanamaker Organ was designed by renowned organ architect George Ashdown Audsley, author of The Art of Organ-Building. This heroic instrument had more than 10,000 pipes, and its construction was on such a lavish scale that costs soared to $105,000, bankrupting the builder.
In 1909, Philadelphia merchant-prince John Wanamaker bought the instrument for his new Philadelphia emporium. Thirteen freight cars were required to ship the entire organ from St. Louis, and installation took two years. The Grand Organ was first heard in the Store's seven-story atrium on June 22, 1911.
Despite its immense size, the tone was judged inadequate to fill the huge court. Wanamaker's opened a private pipe-organ factory in the Store attic, employing up to 40 full-time employees to enlarge the instrument. William Boone Fleming, the original factory supervisor, was hired to direct the work. The largest pipe is made of flawless Oregon sugar-pine three inches thick and more than 32 feet long.
The smallest pipe is a quarter-inch in length. More than 8,000 pipes were added to the Organ between 1911 and 1917, and from 1924 to 1930 an additional 10,000 pipes were installed, bringing the total number of pipes today to 28,500.
Commanding these huge resources is a massive console with six ivory keyboards and 729 color-coded stop tablets. There are 168 piston buttons under the keyboards and 42 foot controls. The console weighs 2.5 tons; the entire instrument weighs 287 tons.
Extract:- The Wanamaker Organ website
Orgue de Salon
Art Organ Company Orgue de Salon Art Organ Company Orgue de Salon
Art Organ Company Orgue de Salon
In 1905, the Art Organ Company conceived an "Orgue de Salon" a chamber instrument in construction, arrangement and voicing, that was suitable for private houses. This organ was exhibited in the art salon of Steinway Hall, and demonstrated in a series of recitals given by Gustave Frese.
Construction of the organ was contracted to Philipp Wirsching of Salem, Ohio, who provided an organ with tubular-pneumatic action in which Manuals I and II were duplexed. The pipes were voiced by John W. Whitely, of London, England; Mr. Whitely had previously voiced the great organ at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair (The Wanamaker Organ), and was retained by the Art Organ Co. to devote his entire time to the voicing of their instruments. The organ was contained in two expression boxes and was playable from an attached two-manual console or by an "Organola" automatic roll player.
J. Burr Tiffany, president of the Art Organ Company, designed the five-section Louis XV-style case as an elaborate work of art. "While extremely ornate, and entirely covered with gold leaf, the dull finish imparted does away with any appearance of gaudiness, while the burnished block tin pipes give a colour toning that is very pleasing to the artistic eye."
Extract:- NYC Organs
Organs/Midmer-Losh-organ.jpg Midmer-Losh organ
Midmer-Losh organ"
Logo, Newspaper article
Reuben Midmer (b. 12th August 1824) (pic far left most) completed his apprenticeship with Richard M. Ferris. In 1875. He founded his own organ building company in Brooklyn, New York in 1860. His son Reed (Pic. left) started working at the shop at age 14 and eventually took charge of the shop in 1895. Around 1875, the name of the company had been changed to "Reuben Midmer & Son."
When Reuben died, Reed purchased the business from his father's estate; and in 1906, he moved the shop to Merrick.
Charles Seibert (8th November 1880 - 9th January 1934)(pic. right) and George Losh (27th February 1992 - 30th March 1975) acquired the Midmer & Son firm in 1920. They changed the name of the firm to "Midmer-Losh Organ Company" in 1924.
Extract:- Various sources
Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ
Wizard of Oz Medley
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Pirates of Penzance
The World's Largest Pipe Organ
Organ construction photos
Blower Startup
Echo Chamber Inspection
Boarwalk Hall organ consul Boarwalk Hall organ consul
Boarwalk Hall organ consul
Logo, Web site link Logo, Wikipedia web site
Logo, Wikipedia web site
Mathias Peter Möller (originally spelled Møller), was born September 29th, 1854 in Bornholm, a large Danish-controlled island located just south of Sweden in the Baltic Sea.
After serving an apprenticeship with an Allinge cabinet-maker, Möller set sail for America in 1872 where a job awaited him in Warren, Pennsylvania where he went to work for Peter Greenlund, a Bornholm-born cabinetmaker. Soon afterwards Möller relocated to Erie, Pennsylvania where he was employed by the well-known Buffalo, New York pipe organ builders Derrick & Felgemaker, who had recently relocated their operations to Erie.
After three years with the firm, Möller built an organ on his own design, which was sold to the Swedish Lutheran Church in Warren, Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1876, he went to Philadelphia, where he manufactured and sold four more instruments, one of which built expressly for the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.
In 1877 Möller moved to Greencastle, Pennsylvania were he took on a partner, John W. Brenisholtz. Möller, Brenisholtz and Co. produced both reed and pipe organs for the growing populations of south-central Pennsylvania, Eastern West Virginia and northern Maryland.
Möller sold out his interest in the Greencastle firm after a solicitation by several prominent Hagerstown citizens, convinced him to establish an organ works in Maryland.
He moved to Hagerstown in March of 1881 where he began in a very modest way what was to become the largest and most-widely known organ factory in the United States.
Möller set up shop in April, 1881 in a small building located near the Western Maryland Railroad on Potomac Street where he and a small staff produced organs for the parishes of Maryland and southeastern Pennsylvania.
The original Möller plant burned down in 1895, after which the City fathers deeded a North Prospect Street plot to Möller, allowing the struggling firm to stay in business, which commenced in a brand-new brick factory in January of 1896.
By 1902, the factory had 50,000 square feet of floor space, offices and sheds. It was on the western side of the factory complex where the actual work of building organs took place and where raw materials arrived by rail.
Extract:- Coachbuilt
Transportable Organ
Reginald Foort at the console

You Tube link iconReginald Porter-Brown
YouTube linkReginald Foort
William Tell Overture
YouTube linkReginald Foort
Hot Canary
YouTube linkReginald Foort
Fairy On The Clock
Foort Moller organ Foort Moller organ
The Foort Moller organ
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Reginald Foort commissioned Moller to build a transportable instrument. It had had five manuals, 27 ranks, 259 stop-keys and over 100 pistons and controls.
It arrived in the UK in 65 packing cases, was assembled, tested, disassembled and loaded into five lorries to tour the UK.
Having spent a number of years "on the road" it was loaned to the BBC then sold to the BBC. More information at You Can Take It With You.
The organ was installed in the “Jubilee Chapel” and remained there for almost 30 years, being broadcast and recorded by some of the greatest organists in history..
By 1963, the BBC had finished broadcasting theatre organ, and the instrument was sold to Dutch Radio Hilversum. The organist, Cor Steyn, was largely responsible for its installation, but he passed away soon after it went on the air.
In 1973 Preston M. (Sandy) Fleet purchased the organ for a southern California pizza parlor. After a complete factory restoration it was installed in Organ Power Pizza #2 in Pacific Beach, California.
By 1979 the organ was for sale again. When the Foort Möller became available, Gordon Belt and J.B Nethercutt formulated a plan to purchase the organ and donate it the city of Pasadena for installation in the auditorium. On April 23, 1980, Tom Hazleton presented the dedication concert. Reginald Foort was in attendance.

For more information visit Pasadena Civic Auditorium Moller
John Wesley UMC
Moller Organ Tour
John Wesley Moller John Wesley Moller
John Wesley Moller
A tour of the John Wesley UMC Moller organ.
The organ was installed in 1921 and updated in 1941, 1963 and 1993.
The organ has 2500 pipes, the longest of which is 17'
Moller Classical Pipe Organ
Consider Yourself from Oliver - Jeff Wolverton
Through the eyes of love - Jeff Wolverton
5/70 Moller organ 5/70 Moller organ
5/70 Moller organ
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5/70 Moller Classical Pipe Organ of 1st Congregational church Long Beach, CA.
First Church’s "Mighty Möller" pipe organ was designed primarily for the musical requirements of the church, namely the leading of congregational singing, the accompaniment of choral works, and the offering of solo organ repertoire for services of worship. The fortuitous combination of the organ’s rich, diverse tonal resources and the sanctuary’s remarkable acoustics allows the instrument to be extremely effective in recital and concert as well.
It is the largest pipe organ in Long Beach, and one of the larger organs in Southern California.
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing - Brian Ebie
Moller Artiste organ Moller Artiste organ
Moller Artiste organ
The Artiste was the Moller Company’s answer to an organ at lower cost. These were pre-designed instruments which, for the most part, were made as stock model cabinet organs.
Slight modification was available at extra cost, but the tonal specifications as well as the scaling and voicing were very similar from organ to organ. They were available in various sizes from about 3 ranks to around 14.
Later they were referred to as “Series 70” and “Series 80” organs, so named for the decade in which they were built.
Extract:- Randall Dyer & Assoc. web site
Robert Morton
Build Me Up Buttercup- Brett Valliant - Music Hall, KCMO. Open console Session - David Garrison - Arlington Theatre, State Street, Santa Barbara
Balboa Theater - Dr. Carol Williams
Fratelli Ruffatti
Factory Tour - N°1
Factory Tour - N°2
Ruffatti organ Ruffatti organ
Ruffatti organ
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Logo, Wikipedia web site
Antonio Ruffatti

In 1940, three brothers, Alessio, Antonio (pic left), and Giuseppe Ruffatti, founded the firm of “Famiglia Artigiana Fratelli Ruffatti” — Ruffatti Brothers, Family of Artisans — the full and original name of the company, which remains unchanged today.
Fratelli Ruffatti rapidly gained an excellent reputation and produced hundreds of instruments within just a few years.
Since its founding, the firm has expanded its market area, manufacturing prestigious instruments for Northern Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. In a very demanding North American market, they contracted and installed more than fifty instruments of large and medium size, the most of any European firm. For Italy alone, Ruffatti has manufactured more than five hundred instruments.
Extract:- Ruffatti web site
Coral Ridge
Rhadetsky March - Diane Bishh
Onward Christian Solders
How Great Thou Art
Ruffatti organ Ruffatti organ
Ruffatti organ
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Logo, Newspaper article
The magnificent sanctuary organ of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is among the most televised of musical instruments.
After being delivered to America in two massive shipments, the organ was installed and completed in 1974. The specifications and overall design of the organ were conceived by the church's organist, Diane Bish, in collaboration with Mr. Ruffatti. With nearly 7,000 pipes arranged in 117 ranks, the Ruffatti was the largest European-built organ in the United States at the time of its installation.
The pipes are separated into seven different divisions playable from a new five-manual console built in 1989 by the Rodgers Instrument Corporation. The new console has complete Midi capability as well as 32 memory levels. Four sets of "en chamade" (horizontal) trumpets highlight the installation, including an 8-foot Italian-Spanish trumpet as well as 16-foot and 4-foot trumpets on the main organ.
From the Antiphonal division, a large 8-foot Trompette de Fete is used for festive fanfares and in solo against the full organ. The pipes are housed in a beautiful white organ case with gold-leaf trim. Accenting the Positive division is a cymbelstern in the shape of a gold star.
In 2004 a project was undertaken to greatly expand the organ, adding many new orchestral and percussion stops. The Walker Technical Company of Zionsville, Pennsylvania, renovated the console, installing new computers to control the organ. Digitally sampled ranks were used for the new Solo, Etherial, and Celestial divisions. Additional stops were also added to the Great, Choir, Swell, Positive and Pedal. To the original 117 pipe ranks, 61 new digital ranks have been added, giving the organ a total of 178 ranks.
Extract:- Pipe Organs web site
Rehearsal for the Autumn Concert
Little Medley - Michael Baron
Concert excerpts - Leon Kuijpers
Welte-Rundfunkorgel Welte-Rundfunkorgel

Image:- Welte-Rundfunkorgel Web site
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The radio station 'Norag' was founded in 1924. The first radio transmissions were broadcast from provisional studios.
After approximately five years special radio studios were built. The large mailroom was converted to a sound stage and was equipped with hydraulically controlled fixtures, to adjust the acoustic conditions of the respective transmission by moving walls and driving podiums and ceilings.
Like every large concert hall, the sound stage needed to have an organ, it needed to satisfy as many musical styles as possible: Works of the sacred and symphonic range, as well as those of the light music, should be played by the organist either alone or in an ensemble.
Gerhard Gregor was playing a Welte-Kinoorgel for transmissions from Hanover. Successful broadcasts with the self-playing Welte Philharmonic organ had also taken place at the Steinway-Haus in Hamburg.
Therefore the organ builder Welte & Söhne from Freiburg in Breisgau were employed to build the desired universal instrument.
In September 1930 the Welte-Rundfunkorgel was installed in the large sound stage of 'Norag' and Gerhard Gregor was employed as a radio organist for this unique instrument.
This organ was very different from other instruments as it was tuned not to be listened to in the theatre but on the radio.
Extract:- Welte-Rundfunkorgel Web site
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Rutt & Co
Rutt organ Rutt organ
Rutt organ
Robert Spurden Rutt was born at Purleigh Hall, near Maldon in Essex; his father was Rector's Warden at the Parish Church and his mother played the organ there.
He trained in draughtsmanship at the South Kensington School of Art.
In 1895 he was apprenticed to the organ-builder Alfred Kirkland of Holloway. After four years, he set up his own business in Leyton.
In 1908 He exported twenty organs to Jamaica after the Kingston earthquake of 1908; his instruments were widely commended for the way in which they stood up to hot and humid climates.
In 1911 He was awarded the Gold Medal at the Crystal Palace Festival of Empire Exhibition.
His firm became a Limited Company in 1930, and built around one hundred instruments up to the outbreak of the Second World War.
Spurden Rutt was kept busy restoring damaged organs and building new ones until his retirement in 1959, when the firm was absorbed into Messrs. J. W. Walker and Sons.
Extract:- Grace's Guide
St. Albans 1835
Len Rawle plays the Rutt & Wurlitzer
Spurden-Rutt organ Spurden-Rutt organ
Spurden-Rutt organ
This 3 manual, 6 rank instrument was originally installed in the Regal, Highams Park, East London in 1935. The cinema underwent conversion in 1984 and the organ was then moved to the St. Albans Organ Theatre under agreement with the organ's owner. This arrangement concluded in December 2011 when the Society purchased the organ. The organ at St. Albans was the largest of the three theatre organs built by Rutt and the only one with three manuals and an illuminated surround.
Super Kinema
Super Kinema Rutt organ Super Kinema Rutt organ
Super Kinema Rutt organ
The Rutt electric 'Organestra' was built in 1927, it is the only survivor in original condition.
It was installed in the Super Kinema in Walton Street, Oxford, and was opened by Stanley Hemery. In the era prior to 'talking pictures' but fell into disuse after only two years and was mothballed in about 1937. The small organ chamber containing pipes, and the mechanical drums, cymbals, xylophone, steamboat whistle, glockenspiel and chimes was sealed and the console at which the organist sits was boxed and stored beneath the stage.
It was removed in 1962 and subsequently acquired by Peter Webb, a Guildford contract caterer. He installed it in a restored barn at his home. At the time Mr Webb provided the catering for Guildford Cathedral. Specialists from a company of organ restorers were working there and he arranged to give them board and lodging in return for their expertise and, in their own time in the evenings, they restored the Organestra to working order.
Mr Webb, who does not play himself, also fitted switchable electronics so that the instrument plays automatically and in the 25 years he owned it, it has delighted guests to private functions and charitable events that have raised thousand of pounds for good causes.
The organ was put up for auction in 2015
Extract:- Ewbanks catalogue
JW Walker & Sons Ltd
Walker organ Walker organ
Walker organ

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Willis organs
The Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Ian Tracey, talking about the organ at St George's Hall
Stony Stratford: History
Inside the factory Mix of slides and video
King of Instruments 1
King of Instruments 2
Henry Willis organ Henry Willis organ
Henry Willis organ

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The Blue Danube - Disneyland Welte Orchestrion
Welte Philharmonic Organ
Barcarolle Salomons Welte organ
M. Welte &: Söhne was a manufacturer of self-playing mechanical musical instruments, which was founded in 1832 by Michael Welte
Welte first built flute clocks , which became ever greater and more perfect. Soon he had gained a great reputation, as his flutes were of the highest musical quality.
In 1845 he was commissioned to build an instrument for Heinrich Stratz from Odessa. This first Orchestrion by Welte was to reproduce all orchestral voices and contained about 1,100 pipes. In 1856 he began to produce an instrument for the later Grand Duke Friedrich of Baden. The Grand Duke sent the instrument he had produced to the London World Exhibition in 1862. Welte won a medal with this orchestrion.
In 1865 the three sons of Michael Welte entered the company. The eldest son Emil Welte went to New York in 1865/66, where he founded the company M. Welte & Sons as a branch office.
The development of the control of these instruments was due to sheet rolls , which were perforated strips of paper,
replacing the very sensitive pencil drums used to date. In 1883, Emil Welte patented this process. Soon the famous instruments of Welte played their musical arrangements on roller-skating rinks and skating rinks in the USA, as well as in European royal houses or in the Sultans Palace of Sumatra.
Welte was a pioneer of electro-pneumatic organ traction . This was a new and revolutionary appearance of the organ registers and whistles by electromagnes around 1880. Already in 1887 Welte advertised on the poster for the Oberrheinische Gewerbeausstellung in Freiburg with references for supplied electro-pneumatic devices for church organs. The Welte-Philharmonie-Organs built from 1911 all work according to this principle.
The loss of the American branch in the First World War (American legislation made the company split) hit the company hard. Through the introduction of new techniques such as broadcasting and electric record players around 1926, business with the elaborate instruments almost came to a standstill; Worldwide, the entire industry collapsed. The introduction of the sound film saw the end of the cinema organ. Already ordered cinema organs were cancelled. The Welte radio organ in the Great Broadcasting Hall of the NDR in Hamburg from 1930 as well as the cinema organizers in the Filmmuseum Potsdam (1929) and the Grassi Museum in Leipzig were received about this time.
The last innovative product that came out of the Welte clan, now active for around 100 years, was the Lichttonorgel , a photocell- controlled electronic organ , from which a prototype was presented in a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1936. This organ was the first electronic instrument to use sampled sounds for the reproduction of the notes.
The company complex itself was completely destroyed by bombs in 1944. After the death of Karl Bockisch in 1952 the company was finallyclosed after 120 years.
Extract:- Wikipedia page
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Wurlitzer Organs
Robert Hope Jones 9th Feb 1859 – 13th Sep 1914
Robert Hope Jones Robert Hope Jones
Robert Hope Jones
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Robert Hope-Jones was born on the 9 February 1859 in Hooton, The Wirral, Cheshire, England to William and Agnes Hope-Jones. He started learning the organ at an early age, and by the age of nine, he was playing for occasional services at St Mary's Church, Eastham.
As a child, he was sickly and was privately tutored. He was sent to the South of France annually to improve his health.
When fifteen he became voluntary organist and choir-master to the Birkenhead School Chapel. Two or three years later he simultaneously held a similar office at St Luke's Church, Tranmere. For this church he bought and set up a fine organ. He subsequently served as churchwarden and was active in many other church offices.
He became choirmaster and honorary organist of St John's Church, Birkenhead. It was at this church and in connection with this organ that Hope-Jones did his first great work in connection with organ-building. The improved electric action, movable console and many other matters destined to startle the organ world, were devised and made by him there, after the day's business and the evening's choir rehearsals. He had voluntary help from choirmen and boys, who worked far into the night.
On completion of his schooling he was apprenticed to Laird's Shipbuilders in Birkenhead. After going through practical training in the various workshops and the drawing office, he secured an appointment as chief electrician of the Lancashire and Cheshire (afterwards the National) Telephone Company.
In connection with telephony he invented a multitude of improvements, some of which were later in universal use. About 1889, he resigned from the telephone company to devote himself to improving the church organ, a subject which had occupied much of his spare time for years. At first Hope-Jones licensed a score of organ-builders to carry out his inventions, but as this proved unsatisfactory, he entered the field as an organ-builder himself. By 1890, Hope-Jones had set himself up in business to build electric organs.
When he became a rival and a competitor to those who had previously profited from his inventions, they became hostile and abusive. For nearly twenty years he met concerted opposition - attacks in turn against his electrical knowledge, musical taste, voicing ability, financial standing, and personal character.
Hope-Jones built more than 100 church organs in the United Kingdom before emigrating to the United States.
In the year 1895, what was practically the first Hope-Jones electric organ sold was set up in St. George's Church, Hanover Square, London. The furore it created was cut short by a fire, which destroyed the organ and damaged the tower of the church. With curious promptitude, attention was directed to "the danger of allowing amateurs to make crude efforts at organ-building in valuable and historic churches, and to the great risk of electric actions". Arson being more than suspected, the authorities of the church ordered from Hope-Jones a similar organ to take the place of the one destroyed.
About the same time, a gimlet was forced through the electric cable of a Hope-Jones organ at St Mary's Church, Hendon, London. Shortly afterwards the cable connecting the console with the Hope-Jones organ at Ormskirk Parish Church, Lancashire, was cut through. At St Modwen's, Burton upon Trent, sample pipes from each of his special stops were stolen.
At the Auditorium, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, an effort to cripple the new Hope-Jones organ shortly before one of the opening recitals in 1908 was made. And in the same year, on the Sunday previous to Edwin Lemare's recital on the Hope-Jones organ in the First Universalist Church, Rochester, New York, serious damage was done to some of the pipes in almost each stop in the organ.
His organ at St John's Church, Birkenhead, became famous. It was visited by thousands of music lovers from all parts of the world. Organs built on the St John's model were ordered for installation around the world. Nothing whatever was spent on advertisement. The English musical press for years devoted columns to somewhat heated discussion of Hope-Jones' epoch-making inventions, and echoes appeared in the musical periodicals of the US and other countries.
Among his innovations in the field of organ design were improvements to electro-pneumatic action and the invention of such stops as the Diaphone and the modern Tibia Clausa with its strong 8? flute tone. The Tibia eventually became a staple of theatre organs. The thunderous 32? Diaphone was less successful, but made an impression on audiences of the era.
Hope-Jones organs were also noted for such innovations as stoptabs instead of drawknobs, and very high wind pressures of 10?-50? to imitate orchestral instruments. He used expression liberally, sometimes enclosing the entire organ behind thick swell shades for great expressive power. He also used a system of unification which multiplied considerably the number of stops relative to the number of ranks.
In the spring of 1903, Hope-Jones visited the United States. At the instigation of R. P. Elliot, the organizer, vice-president and secretary of the Austin Organ Company of Hartford, Conn., Hope-Jones decided to remain in the US and join that corporation, taking the office of vice-president.
Subsequently a new firm, Hope-Jones & Harrison, was tentatively formed in Bloomfield, New Jersey, in July 1904; but as sufficient capital could not be obtained, in 1905 Hope-Jones and his corps of skilled employees joined the Ernest M. Skinner Company, of Boston, Hope-Jones taking the office of vice-president. Working in connection with the Skinner Company, Hope-Jones constructed and placed a fine organ in Park Church, Elmira, New York, erected in memory of Thomas K. Beecher. He there met Jervis Langdon, treasurer of the Elmira Chamber of Commerce, who secured the industry for his city by organizing a corporation to build exclusively Hope-Jones organs.
This "Hope-Jones Organ Company" was established in February 1907, the year of a financial panic. It failed to secure the capital it sought and was seriously embarrassed throughout its three years' existence. It built about forty organs, the best known being the one erected in the great auditorium at Ocean Grove, New Jersey.
The patents and plant of the Elmira concern were acquired by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in April 1910, and Hope-Jones entered its employ, with headquarters at its mammoth factory at North Tonawanda, New York, continuing to carry on the business under his own name. Hope-Jones eventually merged his organ building operations with Wurlitzer in 1914.
He built 246 organs between 1887 and 1911 and his company employed 112 workers at its peak.
In August 1895 in St Nicholas's Church, Leeds, Kent, Hope-Jones married Cecil Laurence.
In 1914, Hope-Jones committed suicide, age 55, by inhaling gas fumes in a hotel in Rochester, New York, some months after leaving the Wurlitzer company. He had written a suicide note stating that he had legal trouble and that a suit was pending. This however was not the case and as a result the coroner declared his death "suicide while insane." He is buried in Elmlawn Cemetery, Kenmore, Erie County, New York. He was survived by his wife, and an unknown number of children. There were at least two daughters.
Extract from the Robert Hope Jones Wikipedia page
The Granddaddy of the Synthesizer Logo, Web site link
Beer Wurlitzer - Opus 956
Events Diary
South Rampart Street Parade
Beer Wurlitzer Beer Wurlitzer
Beer Wurlitzer
Wurlitzer opus number 956 was dispatched from the Wurlitzer factory in North Tonawanda, USA, on the 1st December 1924.
It was the first Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ to be exported to the United Kingdom.
Its original home was at The Picture House in Walsall, Staffordshire.
It has been installed at The Congregational Church situated in Fore Street, Beer, Devon, since 1957
The Blackpool Empress Ballroom - Opus 2037
The newly installed Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer played by David Lobban
Perfidia/Spanish Eyes/More Than Ever - Cameron John Lloyd
Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer
Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer
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Blackpool Opera House - Opus 2209
during restoration
When I Fall in Love - Howard Beaumont
Camera logo
Opera House Wurlitzer Opera House Wurlitzer
Opera House Wurlitzer
ATOS logo
The Blackpool Tower Ballroom - Opus 2187 Logo, Wikipedia web site
Ballrom opening times

Behind the scenes at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom,
Nigel Ogden takes you on a tour of the organ
Part 1
Part 2
60th birthday of the Tower Ballroom Wurlitzer Person logo
Admiral Halsey and Octopus's Garden - David Rhodes
Dizzy Fingers - David Rhodes
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
Blackpool Tower Wurlitzer
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The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust
Stockport Town Hall Concert Diary
The Heritage CentreConcert Diary
Video Page
LTOT Wurlitzer LTOT Wurlitzer
LTOT Wurlitzer
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Brentford Musical Museum Logo, Wikipedia web site
Events Diary

The Burtey Fen Collection
Concert Diary
The Wurlitzer
The Burty Fen collection
Burtey Fen Wurlitzer organ Burtey Fen Wurlitzer organ
Burtey Fen Wurlitzer
Burton Town Hall
BTVN talks to Rev.Dr Dorothy Hyde
Burton Beer Festival 2015, Land of Hope and Glory - Martin Atterbury
Burton on Trent Wurlitzer Burton on Trent Wurlitzer
Burton on Trent Wurlitzer
Events Diary
Concerts and dancing
Cotton Mechanical Music Museum
The Cotton Wurlitzer - Tom Horton Autumn Leaves - Rev Tony Newnham
The Cotton Wurlitzer The Cotton Wurlitzer
The Cotton Wurlitzer
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East Sussex National Wurlitzer
Dance Diary
East Sussex Wurlitzer East Sussex Wurlitzer
East Sussex Wurlitzer
Fox Theater Organ 1929 Logo, Wikipedia web site
The Fabulous Fox Theater Organ
My Fair Lady
Behind the Scenes
Last sounds of its Great Organ
Mighty mo theatre organ Mighty mo theatre organ
Mighty Mo theatre organ
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Folly Farm Wurlitzer
Twelfth Street Rag - Paul Kirner COS logo
Tunes falling out of my head - Chris Mannion
Al Jolson - Paul Kirner
Honky Tonk Train - David Rhodes
Folly Farm Wurlitzer Folly Farm Wurlitzer
Folly Farm Wurlitzer
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Day Out
Hanover Theater
Behind the Scenes
The Hanover Theatre March
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Radio City Music Hall Logo, Wikipedia web site
Jack Moelmann
Lew Williams
Broadway Medley - Walt Strony
Radio City Wurlitzer Radio City Wurlitzer
Radio City Wurlitzer
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Organ Stop Pizza
All recorded live in the restaurant Background Noise

Rotating on the rise
Chatanooga Choo Choo
Behind the scenes
Medley 20 minutes
Phantom of the Opera
The Entertainer Smiley icon
Mamma Mia
Sound of Music
Organ Stop Pizza Organ Stop Pizza
Organ Stop Pizza
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Orion Centre Wurlitzer
Gershwin selection - David Wickerham
Mancini Medley - Nathan Avakian
Marches - Dave Wickerham
Rondo in G & Waltzing Matilda - Dave Wickerham
audience requests - Dave Wickerham
Medley - Nicholas Martin
The Storm at Sea - Nicholas Martin
Someone To Watch Over Me - Margaret Hall
Orion Centre Wurlitzer Orion Centre Wurlitzer
Orion Centre Wurlitzer

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Peterburgh Area Theatre Organ Society  3/19  WurliTzer
Tico Tico - Dave Wickerham
Danny Boy - Dave Wickerham
Easy Winners Rag - Dave Wickerham
PATOS Wurlitzer PATOS Wurlitzer
PATOS Wurlitzer
The PATOS WurliTzer started life in 1926 as Opus 1497 in the Prospect Theatre in Brooklyn New York.
In about 1960 it was removed from the theatre and placed into storage by an individual with no firm plans for its use.
In 1974, PATOS purchased the instrument (then a 2/10) and moved it to Pittsburgh. Following a complete restoration effort, it was installed in the Keystone Oaks High School south of Pittsburgh and was dedicated on February 18, 1978.
Since then, the organ has increased to its present size of three manuals controlling 19 ranks of pipes. 
Extract:- Theatre PATOS page
Proctors Theatre New York Twittewr logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo
GOLDIE The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jack Moelmann
Interview with John vanLaak
Goldie the mighty Wurlitzer Goldie the mighty Wurlitzer
Goldie the mighty Wurlitzer
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Royalty Cinema
Ian Midgley
Festive tunes - Ian Midgley
Hello Dolly - Chris Lawton
Drifting and Dreaming - Chris Lawton
Lunchtime Concert - Matthew Bason Lunchtime Concert - Howard Beaumont
Royalty Cinema Royalty Cinema
Royalty Cinema
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BBC logo
Rye Wurlitzer
Conceret Diary
Rye Wurlitzer Academy
Rye WurlitzerRye Wurlitzer
Rye Wurlitzer
Sanfilippo Wurlitzer
Instrument overview
Overview two
There's A Rainbow Round My Shoulder - Martin Ellis
Titanic Theme - Martin Ellis
Sanfilippo Wurlitzer Sanfilippo Wurlitzer
Sanfilippo Wurlitzer
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Scarborough Fair Collection Facebook
Compilation - Jon Taylor
Blaze Away! & Seventy Six Trombones - Jon Taylor
Pop Tango - Jon Taylor
Just The Way You Look Tonight & Moon River
Medley - Ian Midgley
Scarborough Fair Wurlitzer Scarborough Fair Wurlitzer
Scarborough Fair Wurlitzer
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The Scottish Cinema Organ Trust
Concert Diary Page
The Scottish Cinema Organ Trust The Scottish Cinema Organ Trust
The Scottish Cinema Organ Trust
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Thursford Collection
Also check the Robert Wolfe section
Cameron Lloyd
Robert Wolfe
Organist goes Crazy
Thursford Wurlitzer Thursford Wurlitzer
Thursford Wurlitzer
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The Lancastrian Theatre Organ Trust
Stockport Town Hall Concert Diary
The Heritage CentreConcert Diary
Video Page
LTOT Wurlitzer LTOT Wurlitzer
LTOT Wurlitzer
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Troxy Wurlitzer
UK’s biggest? theatre organ returns to London Person logo
More on the Troxy
Troxy Wurlitzer Troxy Wurlitzer
Troxy Wurlitzer
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New Gallery Cinema Regent Street 12th June 1925
played by Richard Hills

You Tube link icon You Tube link icon
New Gallery Wurlitzer New Gallery Wurlitzer
New Gallery Wurlitzer
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On the 8th April 1925, Wurlitzer Opus number 1034 was shipped from the USA and installed in the New Gallery Cinema in time for its opening on the 12th June.
Although there were already a few organs installed in cinemas at that time, the Wurlitzer at the New gallery was the first of its type to be heard on recordings and the radio.
Florence De Jong was appointed principal organist, a position she held until June 1938.
In 1953, after a decline in business, the Rank Organisation agreed to sell the lease of the New Gallery cinema to the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Between 1953 and 1992, when the church vacated the property, the organ was heard regularly.
Between 2005-6, having been closed for some 13 years, the building underwent a major refurbishment and became the flagship store of the Habitat group. During the building's conversion the Wurlitzer was completely restored to its original condition.
Extract:- New Gallery COS page
Organs of Interest
Largest Pipe Organ in China
Oriental Arts Centre
Largest organ in China Largest organ in China
Largest organ in China
Dangerous Organ
The only pipe organ with 128' stop
Part 1
Part 2 a little loud
Part 3 oops!
128' pipe 128' pipe
128' pipe
Fortress Cathedral
The Oldest Playable Organ in the World
Diane Bish - Part 1 Person logo
Diane Bish - Part 2
Swiss Documentary part 1
Swiss Documentary part 2
Swiss Documentary part 3

Audio only
Guy Bovet plays Haydn, Flötenuhrstücke
Fortress Cathedral Fortress Cathedral
Fortress Cathedral
St Munn's Church Logo, Wikipedia web site
Water Organ at St Munn's Church, Kilmun
St Munn's Church St Munn's Church
St Munn's Church
Ossett Town Hall
Medley 1 - Nick Martin
Medley 2 - Nick Martin
Osset Town Hall organ Osset Town Hall organ
Osset Town Hall organ
Logo, Web site link
The Great Organ of the Esztergom Basilica
An introduction to the Great Organ
Playing at a wedding
The Great Organ of the Esztergom Basilica The Great Organ of the Esztergom Basilica
The Great Organ of the Esztergom Basilica
Logo, Wikipedia web site
Odd Bits

Video clips that just don't fit anywhere else
East Anglia organs
The Cinema Organ 1931
We are the champions on classical organ
Pirates of the Caribbean on classical organ
Raiders March
Harry Potter
Java Jive
2nd Waltz
Zirkus Renz
The Dam Busters March
Stevie Wonder Medley
Meet the Theatre Organ