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Estey Number 429048 - Restoration Project

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    Estey Number 429048 - Restoration Project

    Hi Team,

    I live near Perth, Western Australia, Australia and have acquired Estey No. 429048. The assembly label is readable and the look over was completed on the 10th of February 1925. I was told it was imported into Australia circa 1930.

    Overall the organ is not in the worst condition I have seen, the case is dark and dull on the outside and it appears looking under the top plate that it was originally a reddish timber colour. The internal dust is not too bad, so far I have only seen what looks like two mouse-droppings, a couple of living silverfish, since deceased and a couple of old and very dead spider casings with very few cobwebs. Given her age, this does not seem too bad however, she definitely needs a full disassemble and clean as not all the keys play for all the voices.

    Some of the Stop knobs have been broken off, I have them all. It was great to see that the Stop labels are mostly readable and no one has attacked them with a pen, etc. as such when I eventually get to them on the rebuild I will have to sort which goes where.

    If an assembly/workshop manual is available it would be great, I'm not sure on the model number, the case is not very ornate.

    The only unfixable problem I have come across so far is with the Treble 2' Harp stop out I could not hear the top octave playing. My wife assures me that each note sounded in turn, I suppose I will have to now admit that my higher frequency industrial deafness is real

    I look forward to tapping into the available resources and advice in the forum.

    Terry

    #2
    Hi Terry and welcome to this wonderful and intriguing world of pumpers! You have yourself a good organ there, apparently a bit newer than what is normally the case with reed organ enthusiasts, however, having said that, I own a couple that date back to the 40-ies and even the 50-ies... You mention that yours is not very ornate, a sure sign of the more recent (?) dating of the manufacture. As is the case with many man made things, the tendency to decorate with scrolls and knobs seem to be watered down with modernity.

    'nough of that. I would advise against delving into the innards with a view to "fully dissemble" the thing head first. Get to know the beast properly, what does what, how does that thingy change the sound or volume and what the heck is this knob here... kind of thing. Enjoy the sweet sounds of whichever notes do work while getting fully acquainted with your most recent prized possession. You will likely find that some of the pains and aches go away or get better with caressing and fondling. Ask many questions and post some pictures when you are allowed by the Forum. There are no specific manuals that I know of for this type and age of organs, although there are some general literature available that will help. However, the best advice and assistance you will find right here on this Forum, so lets hear from you some more.

    Glad to have ya - enjoy!

    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by Organfella View Post
      Hi Terry and welcome to this wonderful and intriguing world of pumpers! You have yourself a good organ there, apparently a bit newer than what is normally the case with reed organ enthusiasts, however, having said that, I own a couple that date back to the 40-ies and even the 50-ies...

      Glad to have ya - enjoy!

      Nico
      Thanks Nico. Everyone has to start a hobby somewhere, when the price is right (free) it has to be taken, the alternative for the old girl was the rubbish dump.

      I wasn't actually looking for a reed organ, I have been negotiating with my wife about building a pipe organ, I picked up some pipe plans a few years ago and had decided to start building when the Estey came to my attention. The discussion was around where my wife had hidden the plans or which safe place I stored them in either case I was looking for them. With the Estey now in my possession, the pipe organ takes a back seat again. The wife is keen to be a part of the restoration project, at least this way she can be involved instead of me disappearing into my workshop every weekend.

      I am a newbie in organ restoration and have been lurking as a guest reading what is going on in this forum before joining.

      I learnt to play on a Thomas Electric Organ back in the 1970s. I don't remember the exact model, but the keys lit up and it had a red LED light for a metronome of sorts. By the 80s I was too busy chasing girls and riding motorbikes and have not played an instrument since.

      My first exposure to reed organs was as a child, our Church had a couple probably of similar age and design to mine, one had blue cloth the other burgundy not that that helps identify them. Sadly the church burnt down and these instruments are now lost forever. I have a reasonable set of woodworking and machining skills and a background in research, as such I tend to find anything and everything about a subject before getting down and dirty. Some think I am a procrastinator, the truth is until I have what I consider sufficient knowledge I don't lift a screwdriver or a spanner.

      Maybe I should have broken this post up into a number of replies to get my count up quickly so that I can post pics. I have not found any pics that match my organ exactly. Did Estey allow the cabinet makers free range, or did they batch build the cases?

      I look forward to contributing, eventually.

      Terry

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Terry,

        You can post pictures in the post. They, along with the post, need to be approved for new members. If you think about it, I'm sure you can figure out why.

        Please post the photos, and I can approve them when I have time tomorrow (4th of July here in the US). I am playing for a parade and a concert later in the evening, so perhaps in the afternoon our time, I can approve the photos.

        Michael (Moderator also).

      #4
      Hi, and welcome;
      If you have an Estey with the 2ft Aeolienne treble, you have a gem. To the best of my knowledge, there was one class of instrument that had this stop, that was their "Artist's Organ" with 6 1/2 or 7 ranks of reeds (some did not have a bass Clarionet/Bourdon stop, but made do with a 17 note extended sub bass). These actions for the most part were installed in the style Z case, with a low top and venetian swell shutters on the back. Occasionally they put the action into a different case, like the Salon Style D, or one called the Greek Revival case. I do not recall of hearing of one in a high-top parlor organ cabinet, as their normal parlor cases were to shallow front to back to admit this action. Maybe yours is something unknown and different all together! What fun. Link to a video of me demonstrating a Style D that I restored.
      https://youtu.be/Yj6PvRYBD0o
      Casey

      Comment


        #5
        Originally posted by WestAussie View Post
        By the 80s I was too busy chasing girls and riding motorbikes and have not played an instrument since.
        Terry
        Eh, it sounds like you caught y'self the right one - she loves organs too...

        Casey is an authority on Estey's and you will surely get all the right advice and pointers from him. Do post some pictures, especially close-ups of the stops. The comment Casey made has me all worked up here about exactly which model you have snared.

        Nico
        "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

        Comment


          #6
          Thank you team and happy 4th of July.

          I hope that you all had a wonderful celebration, especially Michael. I am imagining him sitting at his organ on the back of a truck, tails blowing in the wind playing happy circus songs entertaining the crowds of flag-waving children.

          Casey is obviously a genius.

          A couple of YouTube Clips and a page on Harmonium Net shows and describes the Z with 4ft Harp Aeolienne. The pic below confirms 2 footers. Does this make it extra special? To date, I have not found anywhere an exact match for the stops on this instrument.

          Like Nico, I am wondering exactly which model I have to hand.

          From the bass side the stops are:
          • Bass Coupler
          • Sub Bass 16
          • Clarinet 16 - broken off guessing position.
          • Oboe 8
          • Diapason 8 - broken off guessing position.
          • Max Tribulante 8 - broken off guessing position.
          • Flute 4
          • Harp Aeolienne 2
          • Tremolo
          • Harp Aeolienne 2
          • Flute 4
          • Max Tribulante 8 - broken off guessing position.
          • Diapason 8
          • Oboe 8 - broken off guessing position.
          • Clarinet 16
          • Treble Coupler
          As you can see there is a lot of dust buildup and there is some visual damage, the pedals do not have a lot of wear for its age.

          I am not sure if the wire mesh on the front opening is original or if it was fitted locally to try and keep insects out.

          Typically the music stand will decapitate any of the 12 middle stops if the lid is closed with the stop drawn

          Estey 429048



          2ft Harp Stop

          Rear swell shutters



          Bass side view from top

          Treble side view from top

          Comment


          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            I hope that you all had a wonderful celebration, especially Michael. I am imagining him sitting at his organ on the back of a truck, tails blowing in the wind playing happy circus songs entertaining the crowds of flag-waving children.
            For the parades, I play Saxophone. For the concert, I'm the percussion section leader.

            The wire mesh is actually original for an Estey. Personally, I don't like it much, but I prefer keeping my organs original. To replace the cloth, I've just used broadcloth, but others might have better ideas (Casey?).

          #7
          Newish to reed organs, I'm wondering how you activate that fan tremolo - I don't see a Tremolo knob. Regardless, with all those stops, made by Estey, equipped with swell shutters - wow, what a great instrument you have there. And for free!

          Congratulations on the find!
          Tom M.
          PS - most reed organs are vacuum (not positive pressure) instruments. You need cloth (not just screen) over those inlet passages, to keep out dust.

          Comment


            #8
            Originally posted by nutmegct View Post
            Newish to reed organs, I'm wondering how you activate that fan tremolo - I don't see a Tremolo knob.
            On most organs, the fan tremolo is activated by pulling the Vox Humana knob. On the right-hand side of his photo, you can barely see the lever used to activate it.

            Michael
            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)
            • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

            Comment


              #9
              Congrats, that is the Estey Artist's organ style Z-56, with 440 reeds. And the rarer for having the Harp at 2ft instead of the normal 4ft.
              I strongly recommend backing up the wire with cloth. The wire was only there to prevent fingers or mice from going through the large expanse of fabric. You might want to take off the wire, and repaint it, and glue down the fabric of your choice (though heavily-starched cotton broadcloth is my go-to) before tacking down the wire.
              Last edited by SubBase; 07-04-2019, 01:07 PM.

              Comment


                #10
                Originally posted by nutmegct View Post
                Newish to reed organs, I'm wondering how you activate that fan tremolo - I don't see a Tremolo knob. Regardless, with all those stops, made by Estey, equipped with swell shutters - wow, what a great instrument you have there. And for free!

                Congratulations on the find!
                Tom M.
                PS - most reed organs are vacuum (not positive pressure) instruments. You need cloth (not just screen) over those inlet passages, to keep out dust.
                Hi Tom,

                The fan tremolo is activated by the Tremolo stop, which is the central stop between the Harp Aeolienne stops on this instrument. It is not working at the moment and I haven't investigated as yet. It looks like it is vacuum operated and as such shouldn't be too difficult to repair.

                My goal for this weekend is to investigate the instrument as a whole and develop an overall restoration plan.

                Given the significant number of reeds in this instrument, I have designed a Keyboard Analysis Form (attached) to build a map of which reeds do not play correctly. The form has three 61 key keyboard pictures per A4 page on which I can mark the reeds that need attention. Something similar is probably already available, but it only took a couple of minutes to create. Given that the bass or treble stops each activates only half of the keyboard each row on my form will describe two stops.

                The insect screen appears in excellent condition of either copper or brass, on second viewing and analysis, I think it is original. The description of the instrument on YouTube said that depending on which stop is activated sound comes out of the vents under the keyboard.

                The top vents, closeup pics below, also have the mesh and behind that, an open weave relatively course cloth that appears to have been waxed to prevent airflow, they would potentially act as muted sound-boards when the instrument is played and of course because of the swell shutters at the rear the last thing you would want is a loss of sound to the front as it would render the swell shutters useless.

                The pics show that the cloth has been damaged by months or silverfish and there is no indication of dust being drawn through the cloth which supports the theory that this was decorative. Note also the nails used to hold everything in, to my eye they appear to be consistent with the known age of the instrument.

                Top vent showing insect screen and cloth

                Looking at the back of the top vent cloth

                Note that the cloth of a relatively consistent colour except the bottom which is very dark. My guess is that the darkness is dust that has collected over the years that has made its way between the case the mesh and the cloth.
                Attached Files

                Comment


                  #11
                  At first glance, that cloth looks like canvas. However, it could be the magnification of your camera leading to that impression. I second Casey's recommendation of cloth behind the screen.

                  My small glance at your Vox Humana makes me wonder if the lever has come unattached from the stop, but the picture doesn't show the entire action. The other common failure is the leather flap that stops the hole in the circular section of the mechanism. They're generally simple repairs if you have the materials at hand.

                  Michael
                  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)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Terry, on your "keyboard analysis form" - Your analysis form runs five octaves beginning and ending on C.

                    But your organ's keyboard runs five octaves beginning and ending on F.

                    Details, details ...
                    Tom M.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Originally posted by nutmegct View Post
                      Terry, on your "keyboard analysis form" - Your analysis form runs five octaves beginning and ending on C.

                      But your organ's keyboard runs five octaves beginning and ending on F.

                      Details, details ...
                      Tom M.
                      Tom,

                      Good pickup...

                      Comment


                        #14
                        I don't see the need for the form; every rank and every reed need to be removed. cleaned, and returned to its slot even if it is sounding for the moment, it's dirty with a century of dust and pollutants.

                        Comment


                          #15
                          Another good point: when you start opening up the cabinet and cleaning, you'll loosen up more dust that will inevitably be sucked into the reeds, even the ones which are working fine now.

                          Ask me how I know!
                          Tom M.

                          Comment


                          • WestAussie
                            WestAussie commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Tom,

                            I am here so that I learn from your collective mistakes

                            Terry
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