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Reed Replacement Compatibility? For 1890 Doherty Chapel Organ

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  • Reed Replacement Compatibility? For 1890 Doherty Chapel Organ

    I'm seeing other reed organs nearby listed for free, or close to it, and some in very rough shape and likely destined for a landfill. This causes me to wonder which organs might have the highest probability of compatible reeds as backup for my 1890s Doherty organ if I were to part out the organs in rough shape. For example, there is an Uxbridge and Karn organ I could likely get for free. What is the chance that reeds from other organ brands like these might fit my Doherty?

    I attached photos of a reed I pulled from the Doherty. It has a diamond imprinted on the backside, in case that means anything.

    I've scoured the forums and internet and came up with this helpful info from Casey/Sub Base on a previous thread:
    "90% are pretty generic. Few manuf. who went to extra trouble to ensure their reeds could not be poached and put into other organs. Most are about 3/8" wide frames; Estey reeds can be slightly thicker than generic reeds. Mason & Hamlin reeds can have chamfered edges that prevent using in square-edge slots. Some larger models used 1/2" wide sets of reeds. There are at least 5 different scales of sub bass reeds. "
    https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...-and-thickness



    However, there is no specific mention from Casey about compatibility between Doherty, Uxbridge, Karn, etc. or other Canadian organ companies. I understand that ultimately I will need to compare the reed dimensions in person at some point. But if there is any knowledge of general compatibility, I would much appreciate it to narrow down my field trip investigations, as my transportation access and range is limited. Perhaps someone like Rodney would know?

    See my previous post for photos of the organ. Note I changed my username, in case that causes confusion.
    https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...i-be-concerned

    Thanks!
    Attached Files
    Harmony Chord Briscoe (fan powered reed organ)
    ca. 1890 Doherty Chapel Organ

  • #2
    I really have no idea about reed compatibility, but I would advise that Sherlock Manning bought out some organ companies, included are Doherty and Karn. So based completely off that, one would assume that Karn reeds may be compatible. Given, reeds may differ in a parlour organ vs a chapel organ. Hope this makes sense!
    Joshua

    Comment


    • #3
      There was a time period after the late 1890s until WWI that Doherty bought their reeds out of Germany, which are slightly thicker than the earlier ones that they used. The one in your picture looks like a Munroe reed, which would be the same size as those made by Hammond, and both Karn and Uxbridge used Hammond for the most part in the examples that I have seen.

      Long story short, I'm pretty sure that if you get a Karn or Uxbridge, you will have no problems exchanging reeds for an early 1890s Doherty.

      However, with that said, if the reed is not visibly broken and only doesn't sound, I always feel it is better to try and fix the reed before replacing it...
      To play a reed organ or harmonium, it helps to disconnect your feet from your brain and connect them to your emotions.
      Most of all, be creative, make music and have fun...


      Website: http://www.rodneyjantzi.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Rodney View Post
        I always feel it is better to try and fix the reed before replacing it...
        Of course Rodney is a god when it comes to reed organs (especially Canadian), I agree with him wholeheartedly.

        This AM I had composed a response to your post linking to another extensive thread about replacement reeds and how to tell them apart (i.e. cross-hatched rivet, etc.), but the Forum went down again before I could post it. You can probably do a search for "replacement reed" and find the posts where Casey (SubBase) & others provided specifics regarding the reed characteristics of various organs.

        Rodney has already provided you the name of Hammond reeds (who knew?), and there was one other that I don't remember, but don't have time to look it up now.

        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


        • #5
          I should add that Hammond reeds refer to A.H. Hammond in Worcester MA, they had nothing to do with the makers of the B3.

          There were a number of reed makers, Canadian makers mostly got their reed boards and reeds from Hammond or Newell.
          To play a reed organ or harmonium, it helps to disconnect your feet from your brain and connect them to your emotions.
          Most of all, be creative, make music and have fun...


          Website: http://www.rodneyjantzi.com/

          Comment


          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            Sorry, I didn't disclose that I knew the difference. Then, there's John Hammond, who held hundreds of patents, and created the Hammond Castle with the pipe organ in the great hall.

            The Hammond name seems to be connected with many things from the 19th and 20th century!

            Michael

        • #6
          Thanks for the tips everyone! Much appreciated. I certainly won't be replacing any reeds that are still serviceable with appropriate cleaning and tuning. Just thinking ahead as I hope to play my organ for years to come.

          As a newbie to reed organ maintenance, I'm a bit nervous I might break a reed by accident at some point, so this research is part of developing a contingency plan in case that happens. And, I've been thinking about what I can do to reduce organs going to the landfill and gathering info that might be relevant to parting out organs in very rough condition (though I would certainly check in here before doing so, in case there was consensus opinion that a particular organ may be worth restoring without losing any original parts).

          I have come across this previous discussion about Hammond reeds. Is that the post you were thinking of Michael?
          https://organforum.com/forums/forum/...identify-reeds

          Dan
          Harmony Chord Briscoe (fan powered reed organ)
          ca. 1890 Doherty Chapel Organ

          Comment


          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            By jove, Dan! You found it! I should have searched for "crosshatched," instead of "replacement reed."

            Michael

        • #7
          Originally posted by Rodney View Post
          There was a time period after the late 1890s until WWI that Doherty bought their reeds out of Germany, which are slightly thicker than the earlier ones that they used. The one in your picture looks like a Munroe reed, which would be the same size as those made by Hammond, and both Karn and Uxbridge used Hammond for the most part in the examples that I have seen.

          Long story short, I'm pretty sure that if you get a Karn or Uxbridge, you will have no problems exchanging reeds for an early 1890s Doherty.

          However, with that said, if the reed is not visibly broken and only doesn't sound, I always feel it is better to try and fix the reed before replacing it...
          Thanks again Rodney for your tip. I'm looking at another option for a backup set of reeds for my 1890 Doherty chapel organ: a 15 stop Farrand organ. The organ case was removed 40 years ago to make into a bookcase, and only the internals remain, so I don't have a serial number. I believe the "Farrand Organ Co." name was used from 1901 to 1914, after the company split. So that's all I know about the age of the organ. The owner is trying to track down the current owner of the case.

          The owner wants to dispose of the internals. I'm thinking to take them for parts, the reeds in particular. It's located out of town, so it would be nice to know the probability of reed compatibility with my 1890 Doherty chapel organ before I embark (possibly this weekend).

          See attached photos of the Farrand internals.
          Attached Files
          Harmony Chord Briscoe (fan powered reed organ)
          ca. 1890 Doherty Chapel Organ

          Comment


          • #8
            I can't offer anything technical to this but would just like to add that if anyone knows for a fact that a distressed organ will be going to the landfill, then intercepting it and parting it out does a service to all RO fans, even if the salvager ultimately can't use any of the parts he's saved.

            John

            Comment

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