The "Dumped" Dominion
Lately, I have come to the realization that I cannot save every reed organ that faces an uncertain future. This is one of those organs that was facing a certain demise, before I came to this previously mentioned understanding.
My mother and her husband live in a small village a few miles north of us. Every month, there is garbage pickup for larger items, where this organ was sitting at the side of the curb in the snow, and the truck that was going to crush it into a pile of splinters was a short distance away. My step-father was out for his morning walk, saw it as he was passing by. Knowing it was a pump organ he immediately dragged this dilapidated little organ and all its parts away from the curb side, towards the house of the person that was trying to toss it out.
Later, the garbage truck passed, and the old organ remained in the snow not very far from the owner’s front door. If the organ had working bellows I'm sure it would have let out a sigh of relief!
My step father came back later, and asked the owner about the organ, who didn’t seem to mind that he pulled it aside. With help of another neighbour, they lifted it into the trunk of his car and drove the short distance to his house with it, and then he called me...
It didn’t take long for me to drive out to see it. A simple parlour organ, 10 stops with 2 ranks, the finish was completely stripped, the treadles were screwed shut and there was an on/off switch for a suction unit on it. There were a couple of boxes of parts, which was for the top that was completely disassembled and broken apart in many pieces.
Plugging it in, and turning it on, the blower started to quietly hum and ciphers could be heard. I played a few chords but the sound was weak and dull. Many reeds were not sounding, and it was out of tune. For now, the organ was going to stay there until I figured out what I was going to do with it. Also, with the suction unit installed the bellows were lost long ago, if a restoration was to take place they would probably have to be built from scratch.
A couple of months later, I decided to bring the organ home, disassemble the case and store it away for a future decision if it was going to be going for parts or bring it back to life. The decision was to bring it back to life, and this website is the picture diary of this organ resurrection.
Restoring reed organs is a hobby of mine, I do not do it professionally. It is a passion that could be taken up by almost anyone - you would not believe the sounds that these instruments can make once restored.
If you decide you would like to try and restore a reed organ, be sure to learn the "do's and don'ts" before you start. More information can be found on the Reed Organ Society website on restoring reed organs.
Restoration and Rebuilding Pictures
The following chapters will lead you through the story of this restoration, 264 pictures in all.