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1899 Kimball Parlor Organ

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Another day. Decided to put the rear panels back on to check the fit and see if the organ sounded much different - makes it noticeably more mellow. The tremolo/Vox Humana is a very slight effect. Neat design - when you pull the stop, the lever on the drum "kicks" the stem to provide impetus.

    Nico, I've watched quite a few of Rodney's videos on YouTube. He's amazing.

    The crazy observations of today... First of all, sitting on the stool and leaning forward to the organ makes singing difficult - I run out of air due to the pressure from my prodigious gut. I wonder if it would be more comfortable to get my knees UNDER the organ. It wouldn't be terribly hard to raise it an inch or so. My feet are bigger than the pedals. If you noticed the footprints on the pedals in the picture on the front page of this thread, the footprints of that former player (reputably a church organist) are about 45% the size of my size twelves. Another reason to raise the organ is that I thought about putting slide rails under it, using something like that "greasy metal" stuff that Hammond used. More joy - if I fold the volume and crescendo levers out, I can't play without pushing them - they're not far enough apart for my knees.

    Guys, I'm not huge. When they made this organ, people were smaller. (And they used lanterns and coal heat.)

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  • Organfella
    replied
    Great going Lamar!

    Casey is really good with reed organs in general but especially with the Mason & Hamlin makes. He has helped me a lot also. This is really a labor of love which has as a result a great feeling of achievement and satisfaction. The sound of a reed organ is really something.

    Be sure to search and listen to music played on reed organs. Rodney Jantzi has a website where he has posted some worthwhile stuff.

    Enjoy!

    Nico

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Today I took apart and re-glued the back panels that were falling apart. The old organ is either sounding better as I play it or I'm getting used to it. The Zenith cleaner solution is on its way - thanks, Subbase.

    Nico - an interesting factoid - the Hammond Reed Organ Company reed-stamping machines were bought by Estey.

    I'm somewhat amazed how many people call the company that made this organ "Kimball Chicago" I guess because it says that on the front. I interpret it as "Kimball, Chicago" and NOT part of the company name.

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Hi, Nico. I've seen vinegar used to clean brass and copper. The acidity of apple cider vinegar is only about 5%. I've used a lot of it over the years because I like to make pepper sauces - 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% rice vinegar is shelf stable. I have a few bottles that are ten years old now. The watch-cleaning solution that SB suggested will be what I'll try, though.

    Pictures? Sure, when I get something to document. Right now, it's just an old Kimball. One of 403 thousand made.

    You guys are being great. Thanks for the support!

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  • Organfella
    replied
    I would be careful with any acidy kind of stuff on reeds. If you really have to, test it on something else first, such as the reeds from a busted mouth organ or harmonica. The old organ reeds are precious and although it may seem so, they are difficult or even impossible to replace. Wire and wood one can make again but not so easily with reeds.... Just my own thoughts...

    How about some pictures?

    Take care
    Nico

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thank you! Minn. is a ways off from me, but I ordered a gallon.
    Last edited by Silken Path; 07-05-2017, 02:54 PM.

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  • SubBase
    replied
    Rather than a home brew, I would try this: http://www.esslinger.com/zenith-radi...tion-1-gallon/

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Good idea. Spent some time today working on the stool. It's one of the circular ones that you spin to raise or lower. It doesn't match the organ, but it has claw feet grasping a ball. Kind of Gothic. In other news, my ultrasonic cleaner should arrive today. I've been sort of wanting one for a long time. This is a good excuse. Plan to use the warm, but not hot, apple cider vinegar and Dawn (which worked on the ducks and water fowl after the big BP spill) dish detergent method of reed cleaning. Then I might just go nuts cleaning other things. We'll see... Yes, I know to rinse the reeds in clean water immediately after taking them out of the vinegar. I also picked up some neutral colored microfiber cloths to tenderly wipe them.

    Leave a comment:


  • Organfella
    replied
    Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
    Thanks, John. That was helpful.

    Back to reed organs, um, I know what the celeste effect is on pipe organs and digital organs where two pipes have a slight offset that produces a beat. But do reed organs have two sets of reeds just to provide the celeste?
    Yes they do. As you go, you may also find other very interesting and creative inventions the old folk designed to produce beautiful music. The Vox Humana is just one such creation. Others have tremulant valves which produce a quivering effect and is quite striking.

    Use your duct tape to secure a reverse shaped funnel to the end of your vacuum hose. Make the small end about 3/4 to 1" in diameter and long enough to reach those inaccessible areas. I used a sturdy piece of rigid plastic pipe which I flattened on the front end and cut at an angle. Split it lengthwise a little way to fit over the vacuum hose if necessary and seal with tape. It works like a charm....

    Nico

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  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks, John. That was helpful.

    Back to reed organs, um, I know what the celeste effect is on pipe organs and digital organs where two pipes have a slight offset that produces a beat. But do reed organs have two sets of reeds just to provide the celeste?

    Leave a comment:


  • John S
    replied
    Originally posted by Silken Path View Post
    Thanks again. I was cleaning with a soft brush trying to move the dust/crud toward the vacuum but didn't have a nozzle small enough to get any closer. Whew - I would have jumped right in there. My latest adventure: found a hole in the bellows, a really obvious hole. Said "Hmm" and put a handy piece of duct tape on it. The next time I played it, that side of the organ was groaning. Rigged up some mirrors to watch it, and the side I'd "repaired" was pulling in faster that other side...

    By the way, what does the "Celeste" do? When I select it, the organ gets louder and the missing D sounds again. I see that it picks up the muting shutters just like the crescendo lever does. The organ, in fact, is LOUD. I'm amazed at how loud a people-powered machine can be. Of course, some people can ride a bike 100 miles...
    Celeste
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10B3e3k6CVs

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Thanks again. I was cleaning with a soft brush trying to move the dust/crud toward the vacuum but didn't have a nozzle small enough to get any closer. Whew - I would have jumped right in there. My latest adventure: found a hole in the bellows, a really obvious hole. Said "Hmm" and put a handy piece of duct tape on it. The next time I played it, that side of the organ was groaning. Rigged up some mirrors to watch it, and the side I'd "repaired" was pulling in faster that other side...

    By the way, what does the "Celeste" do? When I select it, the organ gets louder and the missing D sounds again. I see that it picks up the muting shutters just like the crescendo lever does. The organ, in fact, is LOUD. I'm amazed at how loud a people-powered machine can be. Of course, some people can ride a bike 100 miles...

    Leave a comment:


  • Organfella
    replied
    Great stuff!

    From your comments it would appear that the organ had been worked on - perhaps recently. You can carefully use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of the major dust. STAY AWAY FROM THE REED CELLS WITH THE SUCKER! Reeds can be damaged by strong suction so leave those areas for manual cleaning with a soft brush. Better to keep all the stop valves closed when vacuuming.

    All the reeds I have seen have the pitch stamped on them. That makes matters much easier.

    Happy fondling!

    Nico

    Leave a comment:


  • Silken Path
    replied
    Cool beans, Nico. Found one guy saying to "pull the reed right below the key and the same one on the opposite side." Also found a company a couple of states away advertising a pump organ repair DVD. Their example is a Kimball (!). So the project is paused until I get some stuff to watch and read. The reed area in the back was MUCH dirtier/dustier/full of debris than the front. I also found some scratches indicating that a half-dozen reeds or so have been previously pulled out. I'm going to get in there with a small mirror to see if the reeds have the note stamped on them. That would make octave-a-time a possibility.

    Wikipedia says that Kimball made 403K pump organs.

    By the way, it already has three keys that are not even with the others...

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  • Organfella
    replied
    To identify a reed one needs to know the lay-out more or less. When you find the first one, the rest are easier to identify. Go carefully with any fancy reed cleaning stuff. A reed need not be shiny to produce the right sound and pitch. Gently wipe them with a clean cloth first. Easy when pulling them out - preserve the cell walls and do not force anything. Test each one before going to the next. Do them one by one, otherwise one can easily get confused and put them back in a different order.... Happened to me...!

    Good luck and enjoy!

    Nico

    Leave a comment:

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