A reed organ (often referred to as a pump organ) is a unique instrument that used to be found in many homes, churches, schools and many other places where people gathered whenever music was required. Over the past 100 years, the majority of these organs have not been maintained properly and have become less appreciated - except by those who know the music and vast array of tones they can create. I happen to be one of those who enjoy the hobby of restoring these old instruments back to their former glory, and playing them.
Choose the links in the Restorations section to see what I call the "Picture Diaries" of the organs I have restored. If restoring is something you might want to try, perhaps there will be pictures to help you through your restoration as many organs have a lot in common.
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The Dodge & Lord Melodeon Rebuild
A classic case of "You cannot judge the condition by looking at the outside". This melodeon had plenty of surprises in it, and new challenges were learned with undoing a previous "repair". This one goes into my books for the most botched repair that I have rebuilt to date.
The Ch. Austin Rocking Melodeon
One of the benefits of restoring as a hobby is that I allow myself to get side tracked. This little melodeon, which is also known as a lap organ or elbow melodeon are one of these where I start something and then just can't stop restoring it. The big Bell can wait a month!
The "Big" Bell Restoration Project
This is a picture story of an old and very large reed organ made by W. Bell & Co. The instrument was made in Guelph, Ontarion around 1892. It came to my care in the summer of 2019, and the restoration began in the summer of 2020.
Everything about it is BIG...
Restoring Reed Organs
Restoring reed organs is a great and rewarding hobby. If you have an understanding of simple machinery with valves and levers, then you can probably restore a reed organ. Some instruments are easy, some can be incredibly difficult or impossibly without a little experience. There are many 'pitfalls' and common errors that a first time restorer will encounter - this is why I suggest to read the document in the restoration link on the Reed Organ Society website first, then dig in!
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The Reed Organ Society
I am a member of the Reed Organ Society, an International Organization dedicated to the peservation and promotion of reed organs. If you are a reed organ enthusiast, I suggest you join, the ROS Quarterly alone is worth the minimal yearly dues.
The sounds of reed organs