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  • where to find the builder

    Where is the best place to find out who the manufacturer of a particular organ is? I have an address (3181 Fairmount Blvd. Cleveland Heights, OH) but I am unsure who the builder is, and the organist there doesn't know. There is no name anywhere on the console, nor did I see any particularly distinguishing marks on the pipes, at least I don't remember seeing any.

  • #2
    Re: where to find the builder

    I would begin with looking at church records, if any.  From there, it will have to be "forensic organology."

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    • #3
      Re: where to find the builder



      The Ruhland Organ Company was (and perhaps stillis) a fairly big name in your area. Of course, some of the bigger companies(Holtkamp, Schantz, etc.) are also nearby.




      Here is a list of builders currently in Ohio - one of them may have the information you are looking for:




      http://www.pipeorgans.com/cgi/builde...able=psbuilder




      If you post a photo of the console (assuming it is original) it might help us come up with some names.

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      • #4
        Re: where to find the builder

        One caveat about the list referenced above: the pipeorgans.com domain is owned by Peterson-Electro Musical Products, a firm that (among other things) supplies to the pipe organ industry. This list is complied from their own clientele (their policy is that you must purchase an organ control system to be placed on the list), and therefore should not be considered authoritative or complete.

        Otherwise it is a decent resource. Another, possibly more fruitful resourcce is the OHS database:

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        • #5
          Re: where to find the builder



          Many thanks to you both, I haven't had a chance to visit the church in several months, and am actually working on a list of what it isn't. This list includes Holtkamp (the closest organbuilder to the church), Schantz, Reuter, Skinner, Austin and many others. I have used the OHS database, and they do not have anything on this particular location.



          I am currently considering the theory that it is perhaps entirely a supply house (i.e. supply catalou) organ, was/is this a common practice, to create an organ entirely form supply-house parts?

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          • #6
            Re: where to find the builder

            [quote user="Austin766"]

                I am currently considering the theory that it is perhaps entirely a supply house (i.e. supply catalou) organ, was/is this a common practice, to create an organ entirely form supply-house parts?

            [/quote]

            It is among some.  There is little point naming names.  The fact that historically speaking, some major builders have been known to outsource portions of their operations has been often used for justification among operations who are "builders" in name only and basically play the role of "organ-assembler."  Some do this with skill while others do not.   As I often say, your mileage may vary.  Most of the supply houses do turn out quailty products, but that does not guarantee quality in the final product.

            Speaking for ourselves, we endeavor to build as much of our pipe organs from raw materials whenever possible.  This includes building consoles,  chest and case work from rough lumber as well as our own wooden and metal pipes. We also work from our own designs, do our own voicing, installations and tonal finishings.  For us it is not solely an issue of quality, but also of origin: we feel it is important that our clients know that when they contract with us that they are dealing  with "the source" rather than a ""go-between".


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            • #7
              Re: where to find the builder

              Double posted for some reason. Apologies.

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              • #8
                Re: where to find the builder



                I still haven't had a chance to look at the church records, but I am ruling out crertain companies either through opus lists, the year the comapny was founded, through contact with the company, or just by knowing what the console at this church looks like, and that not matching the style of certain companies. I do have a list of what it isn't. The list of what it is not currently is : Austin, Holtkamp, Moeller, Schantz, Bedient, Schlicker, Kilgen, Flentrop, Fisk, Goulding and Wood, Buzard, Reuter, Noack, Dobson, Kegg, Casavant and Odell. So if anyone can think of builders I've missed, please let me know.



                Also, this organ is entirely in chambers, there is a pipe screen, which used to have a curtain behind it, but this curtain was recently removed, there is literally NO facade pipe work, and no case. behind the screen now, one may see what I believe is a tremulant, but absolutely no facade, no case, no name on the console.

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                • #9
                  Re: where to find the builder



                  Dear Austin,




                  How about Wicks? There are many home-grown organs out there that are rebuilds and reconfigurations by skilled local craftsmen that have actually turn out very nicely. My own residence organ falls into this category. It consists of components by Jerome Meyer, Schopp's, Stinkens, Peterson, Klann, Meidinger, Astron, Laukhuff, anonymous, miscellaneous, etc. My Klann console has no name plate on it and its inner workings are now half Klann and half Peterson.




                  So the church organ for whichyou are trying to provide an identity may be beyond the scope of simple archaeology.




                  Have you tried contacting some of the local organcraftsmen, especially ones that have been in business in the area for a while, to see if they have any historical information on theinstrument.




                  Good luck!

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                  • #10
                    Re: where to find the builder

                    I actually contacted Holtkamp, Austin, Schantz, Casavant, Bunn-Minnick and one other company, I got responses form all but Bunn-Minnick, if that is what you mean

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                    • #11
                      Re: where to find the builder

                      There are a couple other things I wish to mention about it, two of which I just remembered, and all of which are about the console. The first thing is that the clock on it is what I wold call "analog digital", by that I mean that it is like some of those older electric alarm clocks, or an odometer,and it just rolls to the next numbered "tile" every minute, I have seen no other organs with clocks like this, every other organ I see with a clock, the clock is either a traditional analog (round, and you have hands) or "standard" digital. The second thing I want to mention about the console is that it looks like is has a floppy disk drive, with a little, square red button underneath it. The third thing I want to mention is that the console is sort of in a pit, and there are these panels around the console, which presumably can be moved, because it looks like they lock and unlock.

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                      • #12
                        Re: where to find the builder

                        Scratch what I said earlier about it not being Holtkamp, I spoke with one of the older members of the church and she told me that originally it was a typical Holtkamp, and that it had preparations for later additions, some of which have been made. I find this odd, that the company has no record of this ever being installed in the church. Also scratch what I said about facade pies and that, there is facade, and you do not see the tremulant, but rather a rank of very small pipes.

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                        • #13
                          Re: where to find the builder



                          Has anyone been performing periodic maintenance on this instrument? They may have some historical data about it.




                          David

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                          • #14
                            Re: where to find the builder

                            Well, someone has, I don't know who, but it has been maintained, I did contact my local AGO chapter, and got a reply from a gentleman who knows the history of many local organs.

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                            • #15
                              Re: where to find the builder



                              There has to be someone at the church who pays the organ tech, and can tell you who it is! I'd probably start there.




                              In the meantime (if you just have to know in a hurry) I think you should focus on the small, local builders - many of whom are listed in that link I posted. It is just a hunch.




                              Is there no way to post a picture? There is a chance someone here might recognize something.

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