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MMD > Archives > January 2009 > 2009.01.24 > 05Prev  Next

Restoring Wurlitzer 105 Band Organ
By Matthew Caulfield

Researching the history and travels of Wurlitzer band organ serial
#4096 should start with a check of the Wurlitzer manufacturing ledger
and the Wurlitzer repair ledger posted in the MMD archives.  The
Archive versions have been reformatted, for ease of use and searching,
as Excel spreadsheets by COAA treasurer Mike Schoeppner and Jack Conway
and are available from Mike.

The manufacturing record shows that #4096, a Style 105 band organ, was
shipped on July 17, 1928, to North Tonawanda, New York (if you can call
it "shipping" to move an organ from one street in North Tonawanda to
another street in the same town).  This entry suggests that the organ
was sold to the Allan Herschell Company for use on one of the carousels
Herschell was selling.

No. 4096 doesn't appear in the repair ledgers, which means that it
was never returned to the Wurlitzer factory for repair or servicing.
If you can get Californian David Reidy, who owns the original copy of
the Wurlitzer shipping dock records, to look up #4096, there probably
will be a bit more detail in those records.

Removing the vacuum pumps shouldn't be difficult.  First, of course,
detach all the hoses and tubes connected to the pumps.  Then on the
right side of the case, as you stand at the rear of the organ, there
should be a rectangular cutout in the case, covered by a thin sheet of
wood screwed over the opening.  That cutout gives you access to the two
pump sticks and the screws clamping the split ends of the sticks to the
movable boards of the pumps.  Remove those screws, or at least the top
one, loosening the bottom one enough to allow you to force the metal
bearing of the movable board out of its slot in the pump stick.

You should find the vacuum pumps attached to the top of the organ case
by two sets of screws.  The screws at the right end are accessible from
the outside of the case top; the screws at the other end, where the
vacuum hose was attached, are accessible from inside, on either side of
the vacuum hose nipple.  Alternatively, you could remove the whole top
of the organ and lift the vacuum pumps, still attached to the top, out
that way.  The pro of that method is that you don't have to fiddle with
any obstruction caused by the roll frame or its accoutrements.  The con
is that there are quite a few screws holding the top to the case, and
you have to lift the added weight of the top board as well as the pumps.

As for unit block gaskets, I have forty-seven of the PPCo cork-rubber
gaskets that I will never use.  You can have them.  But if I were you,
for authenticity, beauty, and tactile pleasure -- yes, the cork-rubber
gaskets are ugly looking things and stiff to handle -- I'd make, or
have made, a set of sueded leather gaskets.  I don't know that they are
any tighter or less tight than the cork-rubber ones, but they are what
Art Reblitz recommends and what I use.  I made my own, but I'm sure
that Mike Madeira's Leather Supply House can make you a set.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

(Message sent Sat 24 Jan 2009, 16:07:23 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  105, Band, Organ, Restoring, Wurlitzer

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