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MMD > Archives > August 2004 > 2004.08.28 > 02Prev  Next

Mystery Fair Organ Plays Wurlitzer 165 Music Rolls
By Jack M. Conway

Hi Group, Isn't MMD a fabulous resource -- Thank you Jody and Robbie!
Just look at the response that Andrew Barrett got on his request for
organ and tune information.  Look at the help Tony Greer got on
information on Ray Siou and the titles for his terrific CD set of
Ray Siou's church-pipe organ.

It is time that I share with the group the responses I have received
from MMD members about my mystery organ.  My thanks to everyone that

Jack M. Conway, Los Angeles, California, USA

 - - -

Looking at the pictures attached to Mr. Conway's article, this is
99.9% sure a German barrel organ, built in Waldkirch [see the photos

In its original state it must have had between 50 and 60 keys and no
drums.  The white front pipes were always there.  Obviously, the side
wings were added later, and the main chest was built up at the rear
side; as a barrel organ there was a lid there, which would show the
barrel when open.  In the front, the innermost two columns were added
later, too -- they don't even fit!

The make could be Ruth or one of the Bruder factories.  Without very
close inspection of the wind-chest by an expert, it is impossible to
establish the exact make, and Waldkirch organ manufacturers often even
used each other's pipework!  I wish Mr. Conway much success with his
new acquisition; much of the original pipework still seems to be there.

Kind regards from the Netherlands,

Hans van Oost

 - - -

A few bits of info you may find of use.  The flue pipes look like Ruth
or Bruder.  Waldkirch makers often used outsourced pipes so pipes are
similar between different makers.  They have the characteristic angled
lower lip.  Another clue is dead length open pipes.

The trumpet helpers appear to have been added, possibly reused from
another organ where they were winded through the bottom rather than the
back, hence the leather disc on the bottom.

The trumpets are definitely not original.  They even appear to have
metal boots.  German trumpets have wooden boots with a leather end disc
opposite to the resonator end.  The leather end gives a more prompt
speech especially when keyed from a barrel.  Trombones, if you have
them, will have square boots if they are original.

The case chair is not Ruth, due to the shape of the feet.  Possibly
Bruder, but there were lots of Bruders as you will know.  Can you
find a serial number?

Your best bet is to get a look inside a number of original German
organs and compare the pipework layout.

Is there evidence of the upper manifold for the display pipes, usually
a single set of German piccolos or later a set of violins?  Bruder used
lead tubes off the main chest whereas Ruth used a wooden riser.  As
a purist I would recommend you convert the organ back to the nearest
standard German scale, operating from a book.  This will do justice
to the pipework and give you outstanding musical results.  A trip to
Waldkirch next June will persuade you!

Best wishes, Nicholas Simons, GB.

 - - -

The roll frame is more like B.A.B. in New York used when they
converted organs.

Don Teach

 - - -

The spool frame is not a Robotypist, it is similar to that used on
Artizan and North Tonawanda instruments.  The case is very similar
to that of a Welte barrel organ Models E or F as shown on page 927 of
Bowers' "Encyclopedia".  As you are aware, most of the German organs
share a lot of the same characteristics including pipe suppliers and
carvers which makes identification especially difficult.  When it's
convenient, forward some additional pictures of the interior mechanism,
pipe chest, pump, etc., as that may help.  The pipe work looks like
what you may find in any Ruth or Bruder, the trumpet pipes closely
resemble Wurlitzer.

Hope this helps.
Dana Johnson

(Message sent Sat 28 Aug 2004, 21:25:21 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  165, Fair, Music, Mystery, Organ, Plays, Rolls, Wurlitzer

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