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MMD > Archives > November 2000 > 2000.11.06 > 08Prev  Next


"Wurlitzer Band Organ Pipe Scales" by Doyle Lane
By Matthew Caulfield

Among the equipment and artifacts which Doyle Lane acquired in 1975,
when he bought the remains of Ralph Tussing's T.R.T. Manufacturing
Company (which was the successor in 1946 to Wurlitzer's band organ
business) were the old Wurlitzer pipe scale boards.

Doyle transcribed the data and self-published it in 1981 in an 88-page
spiral-bound book titled "Wurlitzer Band Organ Pipe Scales."  I don't
know whether Doyle still has copies for sale or not.  His email address
and phone number are listed in the 2000-2001 MBSI directory.

Apparently the Wurlitzer pipemakers found it faster and more accurate
to pick off the various pipe dimensions from the scale boards using
dividers, rather than measure with rulers.  Doyle found prick marks in
the boards at the line intersections, showing the repeated use of
dividers to set the woodworking machines to the proper dimensions.

Doyle describes finding the scale boards in the dark, damp basement of
the T.R.T. shop, where some of the boards had fallen into the water on
the basement floor and partially rotted.  Nevertheless, his book
contains many essential pipe dimensions for the following Wurlitzer
band organ models: 103, 104, 125, 145-146, 148 & 150, 153, 157, 165,
180, and Caliola.

Reed pipe information is sketchy.  Because pipe lengths are not given
for most ranks, one needs to determine elsewhere, before beginning to
use the data in the pipe scale book as a guide to making pipes, what
octave a pipe rank should speak in.

It is on page 55 and page 65 where I noted proof of the conflict in
Wurlitzer nomenclature vs. Wurlitzer practice with regard to the four
violin ranks in the 165 band organ.  The tracker scale for the 165
speaks of "loud violins" and "soft violins", leading one to suppose
that of the four violin ranks in the organ (actually two double ranks)
half would be loud violin (or as the terminology Doyle found on the
pipe boards has it "large scale violins") and half would be soft
violins ("melodie violins").  But every 165 I have seen have four
identical ranks.

On page 65 of Doyle's book, the style 165 specs call for 4 ranks of
melodie violins.  But on page 55 it says "[style 165] large scale
melodie violin [is] same as style 157 large scale melodie violin."
And on the page 52 for the style 157 melodie violin (large scale)
it specifies "two sets per organ."

So it appears that Wurlitzer changed its mind somewhere along the way
and made a design change in the 165 violin ranks (one of many Wurlitzer
design changes, as one who studies the details of its manufacturing
history finds out).

Doyle had for sale at one time -- and maybe still does -- a large
assortment of parts from the old days, such as pipe freins and gears.
In addition he owns some of the historically interesting molds and
equipment associated with the Wurlitzer/T.R.T. business.

Matthew Caulfield


(Message sent Mon 6 Nov 2000, 19:44:24 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Band, Doyle, Lane, Organ, Pipe, Scales, Wurlitzer

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