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Inheriting an antique organ

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  • Inheriting an antique organ

    Hello - I'm hoping you might be able to help me answer some questions about an antique pump organ that my wife (sadly) has inherited. I know nothing about it, and all I have is the picture below. We are going to need to move this instrument across multiple states and could use some recommendations. We believe that the organ does come apart (the top potion can be disconnected). We also believe that the instrument is not currently in working condition. Do you have any idea what this organ might be? (I live a few states away, so I can't hunt for markings - and I won't see it again until I'm supposed to move it or have it moved).

    Is this something I can move myself, or is this something I should be using movers for?

    Thanks in advance for any information you might be able to share - I may be back at a later date trying to figure out how to get it in working condition.

  • #2
    Cowboy,

    Welcome to the Forum! Also, congratulations on your acquisition, even though it is during a difficult time.

    That organ looks quite nice, and if it is the right maker, it could have sub-bass reeds, which are highly desirable. You can look for similar organs on the Reed Organ Database: https://www.reedsoc.org/index.php/rosdb/ros_search. To be blunt, it will probably not be worth your time until you know the maker.

    I enlarged your photo to see if I could find a maker's name, but couldn't. Sometimes the maker's name will be on the metal of the foot pedals, often it is above the keyboard and below the stops, while other times, it will be on either side of the stops–maker on the left, and location on the right. The Corinthian scroll work below the keyboard should be a good clue to the maker, but I can't remember seeing it before.

    When you obtain the organ, please let us know the maker, and I'm sure we can help you further.

    To move the organ, the top is removable. There should be two screws in the back, and two connecting the top of the front to the lower part of the organ. After you've removed the screws, the top should be able to be removed easily. Make sure to protect the mirror–it has survived at least 100 years and you don't want 7 years of bad luck!

    I move my pump organs with just myself and one other person. The bottom portion will be the heaviest, but they are usually on casters which still roll, but generally left and right (if you're sitting at the organ). If not, just use a furniture dolley and make sure it doesn't tip off. It will fit inside the back of a pickup, or a van if the seats fold down or are removable.

    Hope this helps.

    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)
    • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you Michael - I appreciate the advice and the thoughts. I will get in there in about 6 weeks and take some more pictures as I move it. We have go down a few stairs, so I may hire a couple of guys for more muscle ... Do you think better in the back of a truck for a multi-state trip (padded and covered properly, and upright) as opposed to a trailer? I was thinking it might get more jarred in the back of a trailer ....

      Comment


      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        Cowboy,

        It may travel better in an enclosed trailer. Preferably for a multi-state trip you could use an enclosed pickup bed or enclosed trailer. You never know what the weather will give you on the way! I would also suggest not shipping it on its back because the vertical movement could cause reeds to be dislodged.

        If the stairway is a straight shot, it shouldn't be a problem with 2 people. The person on the bottom can control the descent. If the people are older, then perhaps you could have and extra person.

        Hope that helps.

        Michael

    • #4
      Hi there,
      I can tell you for certain that you have a Chicago Cottage organ. We have a much smaller model of it, hence I recognized some markings on it. The lower link is identical-ish to yours. It looks like it is a large parlor organ, definitely worth getting.

      The Reed Organ Society :: ROS Database (reedsoc.org)

      The Reed Organ Society :: View Organ (reedsoc.org)

      Comment


      • #5
        Hey Farmer, yes you're right! I had it moved today and got some images. (Not sure why I didn't get notified of your post). The serial number is in the 115000 range, so a little newer than the one at your post.

        Thanks, y'all! Now, to move it down here and then to determine how to get it repaired so it is in working order.

        Comment


        • myorgan
          myorgan commented
          Editing a comment
          Can't wait for the photos!

          Michael

      • #6
        My family has a 1890s reed organ made in Pennsylvania. Reed organs were manufactured in large numbers between 1870 and 1930 made possible by advances in mass production technology including wood turning that allowed all those complex parts to be made quickly.

        The most common problem with them is that the bellows made of rubberized cloth will be leaking, as may leather valves on the bellows.

        Also, many of these were made before A440 was the general standard, so it may or may not be tuned to standard concert pitch. Ours is about a quarter tone sharp.
        I'm David. 'Dave' is someone else's name.

        Comment


        • #7
          Ok, I now have this organ sitting in my office - and starting to look for someone to help me fix it. Thanks to all -

          Comment


          • myorgan
            myorgan commented
            Editing a comment
            Please keep us posted–with pictures. I know Valiant Farmer has posted copious photos of some of his restorations. You can click on his name to see his posts and follow along his progress on his organ.

            Michael
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