The "BIG BELL" Restoration Project

This is a 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.

This is a very heavy and awkward instrument to move, it took six people to move it after it was sold at an online auction in Dresden, Ontario.

The condition of the organ is what I would consider poor, it does make a little sound, but not playable.  The finish is badly damaged with it flaking off everywhere.  The leathers are crumbling into powder, and it is just basically worn out.

The provinence of this instrument is currently unknown.  There are accession numbers written on the organ, which means it was in a museum at one time.  The overall size of the organ is not what would be in any home, there is a solid layer of tar from tobacco smoke, and with the signs that it was well used makes me wonder if it
was used in a theatre, hotel or lodge.

This website will be updated as the restoration progresses, be sure to come back and watch for the added chapters below!

Organ Information:

This organ contains two separate reed chests above the keyboard.  Each chest contains 3 rows in the bass and 4 rows in the treble, plus a 21 note sub bass for a total of 453 reeds.  The stop list is as follows, from bass side to treble:

Bourdon Bass 16 FT Aeoline 8 FT
Diapason 8 FT Cremona 16 FT
Dulcet 8 FT Euphone 16 FT
Viola 4 FT Gamba 8 FT
Dolce 4 FT Piccolo 2 FT
Sub Bass 16 FT Echo 8 FT
Violetta 2 FT Celeste 8 FT
Fagotte 8 FT Flute 4 FT
Cornettina 2 FT Dulciana 8 FT
Octave Coupler Melodia 8 FT
Forte Bourdon Treble 16 FT
Vox Humana  


Registered with the Reed Organ Society, #6469.