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Just received a family airloom

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  • Just received a family airloom

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the forum as I have just received an organ from a family member and was starting my research. With that, please excuse my ignorance of terms as I am new to organs.
    I am trying to find a year and any additional information on this new piece.

    The organ is a Doherty, built in Clinton, Ont. and has the "Mason & Risch Piano Limited Toronto" printing above the keys. I have attached some pictures and can add any at request.

    Additional characteristics:

    It has the knee swell, inside has a stamp "No. 680" and "Style 12"

    Edit: I took the stoppers out to reset the key that was stuck down, the dowel was gently stuck down a tad

    Click image for larger version  Name:	doherty organ.png Views:	8 Size:	1.70 MB ID:	743144Click image for larger version  Name:	doherty organ 3.png Views:	8 Size:	1.72 MB ID:	743145Click image for larger version  Name:	dhoerty organ.png Views:	8 Size:	1.76 MB ID:	743147
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    Last edited by Bokor; 09-27-2020, 01:45 PM.

  • #2
    Bokor,

    Welcome to the Forum! Congratulations on your acquisition!

    Originally posted by Bokor View Post
    It has the knee swell, inside has a stamp "No. 680" and "Style 12"

    Edit: I took the stoppers out to reset the key that was stuck down, the dowel was gently stuck down a tad.
    It would help if you could provide a serial number for the organ. Often you will find it imprinted/embossed on various parts of the cabinet inside–depending on the maker. It is difficult to tell, but your organ may have had some sort of top to it. It has certainly been kept in great condition.

    You did well to find the issue with the depressed key. There were two possible causes, and you found the one to fix it. By firmly providing pressure from side-to-side, you can often compress any felt that may have swollen due to moisture (i.e. a spill, etc.), thereby causing the key to be stuck down. The other cause can be a mis-aligned spring under the key, inside the bellows. Sometimes that can be repaired with non-invasive techniques, but other times, it requires some disassembly.

    To test your organ's bellows, pull one stop and see how long one note will last without pumping. It's a quick and easy test.

    I look forward to learning more about your organ as you delve further into it. It apparently didn't wander far from home (Canada), and seems to be well-preserved as well. Good find!

    Michael

    P.S. Sometimes a builder will write his name in pencil somewhere in the back of the organ. My Sears & Roebuck organ has it written on the back of the highest keystick (or lowest–I can't remember).
    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


    • Bokor
      Bokor commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the feedback. Indeed it is in great shape, and the sound is quite harmonious. When I took the stoppers out (with the wood frame, not sure what it would be called), there was some blue film foam. I also noticed some glue inside, so immediately I knew it was restored or partially restored at some point in time.

      I was given this by my cousin who bought it about 20 years ago from her antique dealer friend.

      I did find an imprinted number on the top left corner on the backside which just says "652". I will assume that is the serial number. The style number has no match in the catalogue from Doherty found here https://antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum/doherty/ . So it must be later than 1901, as that's when that catalogue was issued.

      I did notice some pencil writing on the keys under the stopper frame, some numbers; perhaps from tuning? I am uploading a video right now to share here, with a couple more pictures

  • #3
    Video demo https://youtu.be/4X6yr9c-IoQ

    Here's some inside photos, I damp ragged most of the dust off. There is a long horizontal dowel with what looks to be paper that spins when the middle stopper is pulled, I was told this was to cool the brass inside? Click image for larger version

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    • #4
      Congratulations on the Doherty! Good reputation, and played by artists.

      http://www.rodneyjantzi.com/

      You fast footwork tells me you'll probably have to rebuild/recover/repair the air handling system ("bellows"). I envy how relatively clean the instrument is inside, compared by my George Woods when I first got it.

      Do please keep us advised as you progress through the restoration.
      Tom M.

      Comment


      • Bokor
        Bokor commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you. To be clear, this is the first time I've ever played a pump organ so I'm not sure how to fluctuate the pedals. I guess the fast movement is based on my drumming experience? lol. But I checked the bellows, they are clean and in tact, and it does follow through with the sound when pedals are moved relatively slower. Probably through the winter when I have more time from work I can begin doing any restoration.

    • #5
      Originally posted by Bokor View Post
      Here's some inside photos, I damp ragged most of the dust off. There is a long horizontal dowel with what looks to be paper that spins when the middle stopper is pulled, I was told this was to cool the brass inside?
      ROFL!!!

      I've heard some funny ideas in my day, but this qualifies as one of the funniest! The brass inside doesn't need to be cooled. Someone's pulling your leg.

      The dowel with the paper on it is called a Vox Humana, and is intended to create a wavering sound like a vibrato. From what I can see, the mechanism needs to be rebuilt, and the paper replaced on that vane. I can't tell from the angle of the photos, but it looks like your organ has the square version of the Vox Humana mechanism. I don't know this to be fact, but I've heard the square version is less effective than the round version.

      I really like the sliding lampstands! I've never seen those before. What a nice instrument! I'm jealous. Please keep us posted on your progress restoring 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


      • Bokor
        Bokor commented
        Editing a comment
        They were serious but they were probably having a hard time remembering the mechanics, as the last time they seen a pump played was back in the 60s. But that's very interesting and I think that will be the first thing to replace is that Vox Humana. Thanks for the input, greatly appreciated.

    • #6
      Bokor, welcome to the mob!
      You have a very nice specimen there - and thanks for sharing the pictures and your experiences with the introduction to reed organs. The case looks very much like the Mason & Hamlins and other references and signs very much reminds of that make. However, many different makes of the era kind of looked alike - just like the first cars looked similar to one another. I particularly like the latch above the treadles (pedals) which no doubt gives access to the treadle straps. Everything on this organ seems to have been ornately finished and nothing plain about the whole instrument. You might do well to continue enjoying it with TLC and it will reward you with a lifetime of thrills!
      When you are ready, lets have some sound clips too!

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

      Comment


      • Bokor
        Bokor commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you. The craftsmanship of it is the main thing that caught my eye. I love history, especially hand crafted things.

    • #7
      That's a nice early example from Doherty, it could be the earliest example on record - I'm thinking pre 1880, especially if the number 680 is the serial number, which would lead it to 1876 to 1879.

      Take care of this instrument, and watch closely for any dates on the keyboard as it could help answer a lot of missing history on Doherty with the earlier organs that they made.

      Mason & Risch were the sellers - Doherty did not sell from the factory and only had one sales person that dealt with the trade.

      Good luck!

      Rodney

      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


      • Bokor
        Bokor commented
        Editing a comment
        That's mind blowing, thanks for the information. I appreciate the reply, and as I continue with the TLC, I will be checking for anything that resembles some sort of clue. I will also get those stopper pictures to you asap.

    • #8
      I don't know if it was on purpose or an accident, but I noticed you used "Airloom" instead of "Heirloom" on the title. Very fitting for an air powered pump organ.
      Ed Kennedy
      Current Organ - Conn 645 Theater

      Comment


      • Bokor
        Bokor commented
        Editing a comment
        quirky ain't it

    • #9
      I've been out of town for work lately so I haven't made any progress since my last post here. And I just received a Le Sage piano now from work, but that one is in great shape, playable without being cautious, and will be used as a beginner piano for my kids. I will check back and update when I can about the organ.

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you, Bokor, and I'm glad you're part of the group. Don't forget about us! You made a nice find. Perhaps when the kids get older it'll be a nice father/child project.

        Michael

    • #10
      I just opened it up again and found some writing on the keys, but it's hard to read. I can see a date maybe 1880 or 1890? Here's a few different shotsClick image for larger version

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      Attached Files

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      • Rodney
        Rodney commented
        Editing a comment
        Excellent! My vote would be for Sept 28th, 1880. Although this does seem that the number 680 does not coincide with that year, Gellerman database claims they were making 100 organs per month in 1879. Maybe it was serviced and repaired that date...

    • #11
      Rodney,

      Yes, it does look like 2 8's and right above that looks like the Rische name. Perhaps it was serviced at that time? I did another thorough look inside and did not find any serial numbers, but I did find more '652' stampings in the edges of some boards.

      Comment


      • #12
        Whatever the exact date, this one is old - and in pristine condition for its age. Besides this it would appear to be a rare example so please take care of it (I suspect this comment is quite unnecessary) for the next generation's sake. If I had any, I would give eyeteeth to be able to just ogle that one in person. One almost feels hesitant to touch something that precious.
        I own a two-manual pressure church reed organ that was made in 1880. The cabinet is made from lightish oak but it is nowhere near as nice looking as yours.
        Enjoy - and thanks for sharing this wonderful experience!
        Nico
        "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

        Comment

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