In MMD 030520, Hans van Oost pointed out that band organs, in
particular, are often modified at various points in their life,
frequently only a few years after their original manufacture.
Last year I had the privilege of meeting Michael Woolf in New Zealand
and seeing (and hearing) his Decap cafe organ. He has chosen to retain
the garish 1950s style facade, even though the organ, built in the
early 1900s, would have originally had a more traditional carved case.
I believe, in this situation, Michael was justified in preserving
the non-original design modifications. They are as much a historical
feature as the organ itself.
We know that many instruments that were originally played from barrel
have been converted to play from book or roll. Surely there is
(historical or other) value in rebuilding an instrument (with quality
materials and workmanship) to the former glory of any stage of its