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MMD > Archives > May 1998 > 1998.05.14 > 04Prev  Next

External Blower for Reed Organ
By Berley Firmin

Hi everyone,  Mr. Jeffrey Scott inquired about adding a blower to an
Aeolian Orchestrelle.  I would strongly advise against it.

Over ten years ago I bought an Orchestrelle from Doyle Lane.  The
feeders had been removed and an external blower attached.  There was a
curtain valve with weighted curtain connected via cord and pulleys to
the reservoir.  The cord had broken, so a smart person tied the curtain
open permanently.  A full five inches of wind was therefore free to
make its unregulated passage through the treble reeds, some of which
are the width of a hair.  As a result many reeds were broken and many
were fatigued.

Properly restored now, the Orchestrelle has more than sufficient wind
by foot power.  I spent years locating the reeds, only a few of which
I found.  Others I re-tongued.  On this model, serial # 1606, dated
1-1-98, the reeds throughout the ranks are one inch wide, unlike
regular reed organ reeds that are narrower.

If a blower is attached to the organ you will break reeds unless a
means of regulating the pressure to below three inches is provided.
You will also lose the "interaction" of being seated there to control
the stops, the tempo, the *rewind* (!) and the swell.

By the way, I changed the "originality" of the wind system by covering
the feeders and reservoir in leather.  (My first re-build with bellows
cloth didn't satisfy me.  Also a problem arose when 26 inches of water
fell in 24 hours and flooded my home to a depth of 18 inches!)

Mr. Berley Antoine Firmin II
30346 Old Keller Road
Bayou La Combe, Louisiana

(Message sent Thu 14 May 1998, 13:33:27 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Blower, External, Organ, Reed

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