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Period correct covering for Estey bellows pedals?

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    Period correct covering for Estey bellows pedals?

    I am refurbishing a 1903 Estey reed organ. The pedals for the bellows are currently covered with some well worn, as in clear to the wood, low pile carpet of some kind. Given that the organ is over 100 years old that may not be original.

    What type of covering, and color was originally used?

    Thanks.
    Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

    #2
    I can see it's been a while since your post. I hope my response is still of some use!

    Estey parlor organs of that era typically featured symmetrical, shallow, patterned carpeting, identical on each pedal. A little later, solid colors were used. The colors varied, but were always muted, matching the color scheme of the piece.

    For a replacement, look for something durable, with short strands. Personally, I use antique carpets which are in partially poor condition, cutting out the needed dimensions from the good fabric. Antique stores are better than buying online since you can handle the carpet in person.

    Are you keeping record of your restoration? If so, do you plan to post it on the forums?

    Comment


    • myorgan
      myorgan commented
      Editing a comment
      Another possibility is upholstery materials. It is thinner, but thick enough to last for a while. It is also easier to match the pattern on such materials.

      Michael

    #3
    Nice to see some replies. Thanks a lot. Many photos I've seen have a low pile red carpet, which is what I'd planned to go with, but I like the idea of finding some old carpet, especially if it has some noticeable fade to it for a real antique look.

    I do have some documentation of the project for my own personal use, but no blog for others to enjoy or possibly learn anything from. I'll give you all a quick summary:

    Started working on it the first of the year, mainly cleaning the exterior with Murphy's oil soap and super fine (forget the number) steel wool. Had to get all the decades of grime out of the alligatored varnish, at which point I'd planned on melting back to smooth with lacquer thinner. Biggest issue the organ has, mechanically, is that the spring which holds down one of the mutes is broken, so one 'rank' can't be turned off. That rank is of course in one of the bottom most swell boxes, in the center of the organ. Days worth of delicate surgery to get in there. Oh, I could do it, but I never got to that point of disassembly, deciding to get the exterior looking nice first.

    Then it was a cold winters evening in late January, another evening of scrubbing grime. It was looking like it might be time to use the lacquer thinner soon, but not quite yet, and you only get one chance to get that right so best to scrub another night. Pausing in a moment of tired frustration, I glanced over at my Hammond RT3. I hadn't seriously played it in a few years, and think I might have heard it sobbing. So I pulled an old hymnal out of the bench. The Hammond tone generator easily cranked over and started up, because even if I hadn't played it in years, I was responsible enough to maybe once a month start it up and let it run a while, and also filled the oil reservoirs annually.

    Been playing the Hammond every night since and really enjoying it. Hadn't played pedals in years but like falling off a bicycle, you never forget how to do it. Its a sad ending for reed organ fans, but maybe next winter I'll spend some time on it.
    Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

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      #4
      Here are a few photos: The reed organ at the peak of disassembly for inspection. As it sits today, mostly reassembled, parts on top bagged and tagged. The Hammond RT3 that stole me away. If the moderator removes that photo due to it not being a reed organ, I understand.

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      Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

      Comment


        #5
        You are a very lucky man to have front board access to the air system!

        Tom M.

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