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Water Motor–What Is It & How Does It Work?

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  • Water Motor–What Is It & How Does It Work?

    In the same publication The Organ, I found this advertisement for a Water Motor. Does anyone know what it is and how it works?

    Michael
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    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

  • #2
    The pipe organ water motor was powered either by an artesian well or city water pressure. It replaced humans in pumping the bellows of a pipe organ. Here are two photos of a Spencer Water Motor in the museum room at Morel and Associates - a multi generation pipe organ builder here in Denver.

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    Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand. Allen RMWTHEA.3 with RMI Electra-Piano; Allen 423-C+Gyro; Britson Opus OEM38; Steinway AR Duo-Art 7' grand piano, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI; Hammond 9812H with roll player; Roland E-200; Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico grand piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with MIDI, Allen MADC-2110.

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    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      WOW! What an historical item!

      Michael

  • #3
    HI all,

    Here is a video of a "water organ" in Scotland. https://youtu.be/MNHkCc9P_A4

    Hope this helps.

    Allen
    Currently own: Roland Atelier AT-90, Yamaha 115D, Roland DP-90SE, Yamaha PSR-S910

    YouTube Channel

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    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Allen,

      Thank you for the video reference. It was especially helpful to see the mechanism in action. I wonder how it would work with gravity-fed water? It seemed a bit leaky too.

      Michael

  • #4
    It may have been designed to leak a little bit for the purpose of lubricating the seals. Sort of like the stuffing box for a propeller shaft on an inboard engine boat (pardon me, wrong forum).

    Was hoping to see that instead of an on/off switch by the console, the organist would have to operate a large valve handle off to the side to start the water flow.
    Hammond RT-3, Boston studio upright piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

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    • #5
      There is a water motor for the 1867 Odell organ at Emmanual Episcopal Church in Hastings, Michigan. It is no longer in use for the organ, however, the parish still has it and has occasionally connects it to a hose to show how it works.
      Bill

      My home organ: Content M5800 as a midi controller for Hauptwerk

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