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Manufacturing a New Theater Pipe Organ to Wurlitzer et al Specifications

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  • Manufacturing a New Theater Pipe Organ to Wurlitzer et al Specifications

    Sorry, this is just a question, not a project of mine.

    I read about societies and private persons rescuing, rebuilding, refurbishing, installing old TO's in new venues, but I never have heard, probably for good reason, anyone building a new TO from scratch to yesteryear's specifications.

    Perhaps fairground organ builders could pull it off? Or could any pipe organ builder come to a pleasant result if adhering strictly to Wurlitzer et al designs? Of course, voicing the instrument accordingly to its purpose probably is an equally compelling task.

  • #2
    The answer is of course it could be done, but there's no reason to. First there're plenty of theatre pipe organs needing a new home. Second, the expense would astronomical. Third, electronic versions are so good as to be indistinguishable from the real thing.

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    • #3
      Admin has put it quite succinctly.

      Wicks made a unified theatre organ, 2 manuals, of about 8 ranks, if I recall correctly, in the 1970's, (again, if memory serves me). The stopboard had angled sides rather than a true horseshoe, and it was, of course, direct electric action. Took quite a while to find a home.

      The current trend in theatre pipe organs is for a much enlarged organ than were originally built, which isn't necessarily to my liking. The early theatre organs were built with a lyrical quality, suitable for movie accompaniment. The current trend to for big effects.


      • #4
        Yes, as I assumed, probably for good reason it's not being done. I looked up the mentioned Wicks's organ. There is a thread about it here in the forums. Built in 1982. Interesting the remark by artkt how another Wick's 1970s TO failed at mimicking Wurlitzer's sound. Both years of manufacturing come already as a big surprise to me. Something learned.

        So, material wise and specification wise something that could be done "any day of the week", but the "secret sauce" might be the missing and decisive part.
        General discussion of theatre pipe organs