Popular Science Monthly/Volume 40/March 1892/The Development of American Industries Since Columbus: Musical Instruments II
By DANIEL SPILLANE.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN INDUSTRIES SINCE COLUMBUS. XIII.
THE organ is the most magnificent and comprehensive of all musical instruments. While the pipes of Pan—aside from that mythical personage—indicate a very ancient use of pipes as a means of producing musical sounds, the "water-organ of the ancients" furnishes to the student of organ history the first tangible clew regarding the remote evolution of the instrument. In the second century the magripha, an organ of ten pipes with a crude key-board, is said to have existed, but accounts of this instrument are involved in much obscurity. It is averred that an organ—the gift of Constantine—was in the possession of King Pepin of France in 757; but Aldhelm, a monk, makes mention of an organ with "gilt pipes" as far back as the year 700. Wolston speaks of an organ containing 400 pipes, which was erected in the tenth century in England. This instrument was blown by "thirteen separate pairs of bellows." It also contained a large board. There are drawings of that period extant, which represent the organ as an instrument having but few pipes, blown by two or three persons, and usually performed on by a monk. The keys, which were played upon by hard blows of the fist, were very clumsy, and from four to six inches broad. About the end of the eleventh century semitones were introduced into the keyboard, Fig. 1.—Antique Sculpture in the Museum of Arles, dated XX.M.VIII, representing organ blown by the mouth. but to all appearances its compass did not extend beyond three octaves. The introduction of pedals, in 1490, by Bernhardt—giving a compass B flat to A—was another important contribution to the instrument. These were merely small pieces of wood operated by the toe of the player.
Jordan's "swell organ," which was introduced about 1712, in England, is deservedly ranked as one of the greatest advances in organ-building known up to that year. Jordan was renowned among the builders of his century. Green, another noted English builder of the period, improved the swell and added a score of lesser innovations which give him a prominent place in histories of the instrument. Milton was cheered and consoled in his blindness, as we learn from his biographers, by a portable organ. This was a form of instrument called the regale, which was in use during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It has, however, been obsolete for over a century.
From being a mere accessory to church choral services, the organ has been improved in time by the introduction of stops, Fig. 2.—Representation of an Organ on an Obelisk at Constantinople, erected in the fourth century. instrumental effects, and the extension of pedal and manual compass, until it has attained such a recognized position as a solo instrument that it might now be called an orchestra in itself. In the last century the men notably associated as builders with its progress were Jordan, Green, Schroder, Siberian, Seltzer, Harris's, Avery, By well, and Father Schmidt. Fresco, the organist, who wrote the first fugues and musical compositions according to the highest capacities of the organ in his lifetime (1580-1640), gave the development of the instrument a great impetus. Treadwell, J. S. Bach, Handel, and Albrecht followed as executants and composers of organ music. Each of these eminent musicians assisted in the improvement of the instrument by suggestions given to the celebrated builders of his time. The builders of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were great enthusiasts in their art, and every fresh development in the region of tones and effects was introduced with considerable éclat. Of the old effects still in use, the Kremhorn (Cremona), the Gemshorn, and Hohl flute stops are Fig. 3.—Curious Drawing from MS. Psalter of Edwin, in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, England. most generally known. As we behold to-day the magnificent instruments in European and American churches and concert auditoriums from the workshops of the representative builders of both continents, we are given much to contemplate from a mechanical and artistic point of view, while the wonderful musical effects that they are capable of producing tend to fill us with awe and profound pleasure.
Among the most famous of the old organs in Europe is the Haarlem instrument, built by Christian Müller, of Amsterdam (1735-'38). This is celebrated as one of the largest and finest in the world. It has a manual compass of 51 notes, CC to D in alt, and a pedal compass of 27 notes, CCC to tenor D. It has 60 stops and 4,088 pipes, divided as follows: Great organ, 16 stops, 1,300 pipes; choir, 14 stops, 1,268 pipes; echo, 15 stops, 1,098 pipes; pedal, 15 stops, 513 pipes. The chief accessory stops, movements, Fig. 4.—From an Ancient MS. etc., are: (1) Coupler choir to great; (2) coupler echo to great; (3, 4) two tremulants; (5) wind to great organ; (6) wind to choir organ; (7) wind to echo organ; (8) wind to pedal organ—with twelve bellows nine feet by five. This magnificent instrument lacks the advantages of modern organs in the general action mechanism. The Haarlem organ can not be played without the expenditure of considerable muscular energy. The organist has to strip to his duties like a wrestler, and when the performance is over he withdraws covered with perspiration. Though endowed with wonderful musical effects in the extent and variety of its stops and combinations, these have been lost hitherto, owing to the disabilities of the manual and pedal action. Modern developments in mechanics, and particularly the application of pneumatics, as shown in the magnificent American instrument by Jardine & Sons recently erected in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, have rendered the most complicated and extended ensemble effects capable of easy expression, while allowing the organist that amount of muscular repose necessary for the mental demands of his art.
The Spaniards brought over the first organs heard on this continent, but so little is known concerning the subject that the historic Fig. 5.—From an Ancient Engraving, showing early key-board. attempt of Thomas Brattle to introduce an organ into the King's Chapel, in Boston, in 1713, may be accepted as the earliest reliable contribution to American organ history on record. Brattle's organ is at present in St. John's Chapel, Portsmouth, N. H. Thomas Brattle, a native of Boston, after whom Brattle Street and Brattle Square are named, imported the organ referred to. He bequeathed it to the Brattle Street Church, provided "that within a year from his death they would procure a sober person who could play skillfully thereon with a loud noise, otherwise to the King's Chapel." Whether it was owing to the inability of the management of the favored church to procure a "sober person" capable of playing with a "loud noise" on that historic instrument—which is rather an aspersion on the ability of Boston organists of the time, as well as a reflection on their muscular capacity—or through prejudice against the instrument as an alleged agency of the evil spirit, matters little now; suffice it for the historian to say that it was refused. It was accordingly thrown over on the congregation of King's Chapel and practically sent begging an owner, for King's Chapel also refused to accept it. The executors of Brattle's will having done their duty in the order intimated, refused to cart it away, and after considerable discussion it was allowed to lie in the porch of the church unpacked. It rested there for seven months, until the question was reopened in 1714, ending with the erection of the instrument. Here it was used from 1718 to 1756, when it was sold to St. Paul's Church, Newburyport. In 1836 it was transferred to St. John's, Portsmouth.
It has been generally accepted that Edward Bromfield, Jr., of Boston, built the first American organ, in 1745. The writer, however, is in a position to assert that, although a venerable piece of musical history, this is not a fact. Mr. J. W. Jordan, Assistant Librarian of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, who has paid special attention to the subject, recently discovered that Mathias Fig. 6.—Method of blowing described by Prætoritus; representing the old organ in the Church of St. Ægidien, Brunswick. Zimmerman, of Philadelphia, a carpenter and joiner, built an organ in that city some time before 1737. In his will, probated in 1737, he bequeathed the organ to a nephew, hoping that he would learn to play on it, adding that if not it could be sold to advantage, owing to its being so much of a curiosity. The record of Zimmerman's will forever disposes of the time-honored belief regarding Bromfield.
The Germans and Swedes were the chief organ-builders in America during the last century. In Pennsylvania, where several colonies located, no less than four organ-builders of note practiced their art from 1740 to 1770. These were Gustavus Hesselins, John Klem, David Tanneberger, and Robert Harttafel. Mr. Jordan, to whom I also owe the foregoing information, says the first named was a Swede. He adds in a communication, "Tanneberger's reputation as an organ-builder stood very high, and I know of at least one of his fine instruments still in use."
The Moravians of Bethlehem, in that State, were particularly noted for their connection with musical art during the last century, and their descendants manifest the same faculty. The annexed extract of a letter from Hesselins, of Philadelphia, to Rev. J. C. Pyrlaens, Bethlehem, May 28, 1746, has some value to students of national musical history: "I hope Mr. Klem will see the organ well and safe in your hands." The following is another record of a more explicit nature: "Received, June 9, 1746, of Jasper Payne, of Bethlehem, four pounds and three pounds for the half set of pipes, and one pound for coming and putting the organ up." (Signed) "John Klem, organ-builder." Franklin, in writing to his wife, in 1750, remarks that he "heard very fine music in the church" (at Bethlehem), that "flutes, oboes, French horns, and trumpets accompanied the organ."
After Bromfield, the next organ-builder in New England was Thomas Johnston, who built an instrument for Christ Church, Boston, in 1753. He is known to have supplied the Episcopal Church in Salem with another organ in 1754, containing one manual and six stops. This pioneer maker died in ] 769. Dr. Josiah Leavitt, a physician of Boston, became interested in the art through intercourse with Bromfield, with the result that he subsequently devoted himself to practical organ-building for many years, with a fair measure of success. The next organ-builder in New England after Johnston was Pratt, who went out of the business toward 1800. William M. Goodrich, a native of Templeton, Mass., born in 1777, began to build organs in Boston in 1803. He was a pupil of Leavitt, and was the first native-born organ-builder Fig. 7.—King's College, Cambridge, England. Built by Dallam, 1605-'6. who achieved a worthy place in that noble art. Several eminent makers graduated from the shop of Goodrich, the principal being Thomas Appleton, many of whose instruments are still in use. Ebenezer Goodrich left his brother's shop and began organ-building in 1816 on his own account. He drifted into partnership with Thomas Appleton subsequently, but after a few years they separated. Thomas McIntyre, another early Boston builder of note, appeared in 1823. This maker also left many fine instruments behind him as examples of his skill. Though Goodrich, Mclntyre, and Appleton accomplished much, taking into account their opportunities, the times they labored in, and the class for which they catered, the organs they built are insignificant beside more modern products of the Hook & Hastings, Erben, Jardine, and Roosevelt establishments. Meanwhile the development of organ-building in this country, it must be remembered, depended almost wholly upon the disposition of church patrons and clergymen to follow the example of their European brethren in giving the instrument a place in religious ceremonials. As evidenced in the Brattle incident, much prejudice formerly existed against the
Fig. 8.—Haarlem Cathedral. Built by Müller, 1735-'38.
use of the instrument in church services among the Protestant sects—the predominating element—but, unless in very rural districts, none of this feeling now persists.
The Hooks, precursors of the celebrated firm of Hook & Hastings, Boston, were the first builders in New England to display individuality and a desire to adopt new improvements in their instruments. The Hook brothers, Elias and George G., began business in Salem, Mass., in 1827. Elias, the practical head of the business, was, like Appleton, a graduate of the elder Goodrich's establishment. Winning notice toward 1832, they removed to Boston, and there entered on a remarkable career, in time forming the firm of Hook & Hastings, now known throughout America as organ-builders of the highest rank. Hook & Hastings came into being in 1865, through the accession of Mr. F. H. Hastings, an expert workman and a graduate of their shop. The Hook brothers died within a year of each other, George C. Hook passing away in 1880, at the age of seventy-three; Elias, the founder of the house, in 1881. The business thereupon devolved on Mr. Hastings, who has conducted it since then with much success. Evidences of the great skill of Hook & Hastings are scattered all over the continent. Among their important instruments may be mentioned the organ in Music Hall, Cincinnati, built in 1878, which is one of the largest in the country. The Tremont
Fig. 9.—Marien Kirche, Dortmund.
Temple organ in Boston, remarkable for its artistic qualities, although smaller than the Cincinnati instrument, is another notable product of this firm. Visitors to the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 may remember the magnificent instrument in use there; this was also supplied from the same establishment. These instruments are equipped with every mechanical and scientific device requisite for bringing their immense resources under control of the organist. Mr. Hastings, while adopting many innovations from European sources, improved upon them materially m his method of application; his coupling and draw-stop system, in particular, being most sympathetic and effective in operation. These organs possess remarkably well-balanced tonal qualities also, being free from the prevailing acoustic defects apparent in large instruments of some makers.
Organ-building, like all the arts, was encouraged in New York to a greater extent than elsewhere in the years preceding the Revolutionary War and immediately afterward The spirit of
Fig. 14.—General Plan of a Four-manual Grand Organ (St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York), showing wind-chest of great organ (A), sound-board (B), and sliders or registers (C). (For further exemplification of action principles see Fig. 15.)
of more extended effects. It was the original intention of the patrons of the church at that period to have an instrument equal to some of the famous organs abroad; but Geib and his contemporaries would not undertake what they looked upon as an impossibility to them with their limited facilities and limited capacities. There was then talk of bringing over an instrument from London; but Geib's friends succeeded in putting the contract in his hands, satisfied to accept the best results he could produce. In the mean time the money saved was put to other account, so the story goes. Certain it is, however, that the first notable examples of the art of organ-building were produced in New York. Adam Geib, the builder referred to, came to New York in 1760. In that year he began business on a very unpretentious scale, but attained some note soon after the conclusion of the war. He was succeeded by two sons. John E. Geib, the best known, remained in the business until past 1830, and was looked upon as a very skillful builder.
Loew and Hall were builders of some mark in years past. The first named erected a fine instrument in St. John's Chapel. Hall served his apprenticeship with Loew, and was, in a minor sense, an originator and inventor of note. Hall was in business in New York from 1812 until 1875, when he passed away, at the age of eighty-five. A noted individual came forth from the workshop of Thomas Hall, during the early days of his business career, in the person of Henry Erben. Erben was such a remarkable youth that he was taken into partnership by Hall in 1827, just after concluding his apprenticeship. Separating from Hall in a few years, he established a business of his own in New York. Erben was fortunate enough to secure the contract for the organ in Trinity Church during his first labors, and this brought him reputation and status in his art. It is by no means a remarkable instrument, though of large proportions. Erben's later efforts were indicative of more originality. He introduced some improvements in the disposition of the general action of the instrument about 1860, which, though credited to him largely as his own inventions, were nevertheless adaptations of ideas copied from abroad.
Jardine & Sons, of New York, have taken out several important patents for organ improvements, besides constructing instruments of rare excellence embodying a hundred features of originality of the unpatentable order. In applying pneumatics to the action of the organ they have been particularly successful. Their patent pneumatic vacuum and tubular systems, also methods for controlling the registers by piston-knobs, are singularly effective devices. These are intended to facilitate execution, while rendering the manual and pedal actions easy and sympathetic to every demand of the artist. Mr. A. J. Hipkins gives the following account of the introduction of pneumatic action, the most valuable of modern developments, in the organ: "The late Mr. Joseph Booth, of Wakefield, was the first organ-builder to whom the idea seems to have occurred of establishing
pneumatic agency, and of thus ingeniously turning the wind-power, one of the organist's antagonists, into his assistant." (Mr. Hipkins means the pressure of wind which impedes touch through the pallets, not the wind-power through which sound is produced.) "It was to some of the bass pipes of the organ he built for the Church of Attercliffe, near Sheffield, in the year 1827, that Booth first applied his little invention. The lower notes of the wood open diapason of the GG manual were placed on a small separate sound-board, and to the pull-down of each pallet Fig. 15.—Sectional View of Organ in the Brooklyn Tabernacle, illustrating the pneumatic and general action principles embodied (erected 1891). The great organ key-board in the above cut, also trackers and connections, are indicated by A throughout. he attached a small circular bellows underneath. From the great organ soundboard groove a conveyance conducts wind into this bellows, which, opening downward, draws the pallet with it. These small bellows Mr. Booth used to call 'puff:-valves.'"
Since Booth's experiments in this direction many European builders,among them Cavailld-Coll, of Paris, have contributed to the application of pneumatics, with the most remarkable results. American builders have not been behindhand either in adapting and improving upon the inventions of their contemporaries abroad, and their work is to be found illustrated the magnificent instruments erected in various cities throughout the States. Jardine & Sons are admitted a leadership by the fourscore and odd organbuilders who constitute the business in the United States and the British Dominion. The founder of this eminent house, George Jardine, was born in Dartforth, England, November 1, 1801. He learned his business with Flight & Robson, the famous English builders, and proved a workman of rare ability. In 1837 he arrived in New York, bringing over his family with him. American organ-building was in an embryo state at the time, and Jardine was compelled to put his mechanical skill to account in other directions; but he found an entry into the business in due time. Working along in an unpretentious way, he awaited an opportunity to show his ability. The Church of St. James gave him a contract for a small instrument, and the outcome Fig. 16.—Early Precursor of the American Parlor Organ. laid the basis of his fortune. E. G. Jardine, his son, who had been educated to all the niceties and comprehensive details of the business, was taken into partnership in 1860, and upon the death of his father became the head of the firm. This gentleman has traveled extensively in Europe, where he studied the celebrated works of Cavaillé-Coll and other noted builders to acquire a broader insight into his art. During recent years Jardine & Sons have erected the following instruments: Fifth Avenue Cathedral, St. George's, St. Paul's, M. E., Holy Innocents, New York; Pittsburgh Cathedral, Mobile Cathedral, Christ Church, New Orleans, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle organ, all these being four-manual organs, besides a vast number of other notable instruments, which can not be specified here. George Jardine died in 1883, leaving a name destined to live among the world's greatest organ-builders of this century.
The present condition of the art of organ-building in America is further exemplified in the magnificent concert instrument erected in the Auditorium Building, Chicago, by the Roosevelt house of New York. Hilbourne L. Roosevelt, the founder of this house, was a native of New York, who was educated to a scholastic pursuit. Interest in the instrument as a boy led up to an enthusiasm for the mechanical and artistic possibilities which it embodied, and believing himself capable of contributing to its perfection, Roosevelt entered the sphere of organ-building with love for the art, personal genius, and money to back up his ambition. Though cut off prematurely in 1889, he had succeeded in winning fame as an inventor and builder of the highest character. The instrument designated alone proves the capabilities of the house and the value of the mechanical and scientific principles which Roosevelt developed and helped to put into practical effect. Among his numerous innovations, which created considerable interest and discussion, was his arrangement of the swell effect. For instance, in a two-manual instrument of ordinary dimensions and capacity he inclosed all the pipes in a swell-box of his own construction and design, which enabled the executant to produce better nuances leading from forta to piano, or vice versa; at least, the champions of the Roosevelt system asserted these claims, while there was also a strong opposition among organists to that method of construction. I think, however, that the Roosevelt system will prove a valuable feature in time; at present it is somewhat immature and crude. Mr. Roosevelt also carried the principle into the region of three and four manual instruments. In the latter almost all the total register of tones can be brought under the influence of the swell at pleasure. This is accomplished by inclosing the various organs, solo, etc., constituting the abstract instrument, in separate swell-boxes, part of the grand organ being also partly inclosed. Apart from his original departure in the swell movement, Mr. Roosevelt introduced several notable improvements in the action of his three or four manual instruments. In the application of electricity and pneumatics to the instrument as well as in the region of tones this maker further displayed his remarkable ability. The Auditorium organ is an eloquent illustration of Roosevelt's capacity; the Garden City Cathedral instrument is another magnificent example of what the Roosevelt shop was and is capable of accomplishing. Though the late Mr. Roosevelt was the genius of the house he founded, the business is still carried on with success on the lines he laid down.
Johnson & Sons, of Westfield, Mass., are known as capable and progressive makers, destined through their past work to reach a high position in the future. William A. Johnson, the head of the business, has brought forth many inventions of value. In the region of voicing—a most important function—his son, W. M. Johnson, is regarded as an expert of the first order. Hutchings, Plaisted & Co., another Boston firm, have won considerable notice for their instruments within the past twenty years, many of which contain improvements of value, and are found in leading churches throughout the country.
The general principles of the Jardine Tabernacle organ shown in the accompanying plan will give the reader an idea of the modern improved organ, its wonderful mechanical and acoustic features, which involve such interesting complications of pipes, sound-boards, bellows, and draw-stop, mutative stop, manual and pedal action, through which one individual—the organist—can control a great domain of musical resources at one time.
The present organ is in singular contrast with the organ of
Figs. 17 to 22.—Representing Constructive Principles of a Mason and Hamlin Organ. Fig. 17 shows position of reed; Fig. 18 represents in sectional elevation part of one end with reed-valves and stop action; Fig. 19 shows auxiliary mutes; Fig. 20 exhibits method by which the stop-valve is mounted: wind-chest (U), reed-valves (I), stop-valves (T), swell-cap (V) with the swell-lids attached (W), stop-lever (X), transverse roller-lever (b' ), roller-board (c' ), name-board (a' ), draw-stops (a and b), and the tube-board (R). Some connections of the parts are indicated thus: The inner end of stop-valve (T) attached to tube-board (R) by butt-hinge (c); similar hinge (d) fastened to outer end of tube-board; stop-valve (T) joined to half hinge (d) by the bent wire (e); connection of bent wire (e) with stop-lever (X) by the link (y); brass incline (g) on stop-lever (X); also connection of stop with valve (P) at the back of tube-board (R). Figs. 21 and 22 represent relative parts according to exemplification.
past centuries. As a musical instrument, presided over by one mind, it is incomparably ahead of any other musical medium known, in the extent of its development, aside from its capacities in the artistic sphere. To dwell for a while upon its construction: Pipes in the organ are of two kinds, wood and metal, and of two acoustic classes—namely, reed and flue. The grouping and arrangement of the huge body of pipes which enter into the composition of large organs—many of them containing over six thousand—so as to get them under the command of the narrow compass of the manuals, reveal wonderful ingenuity, quite apart from the musical effects capable of being represented through the instrumentality of that noble art medium. Formerly the pipes were attached to one key-board. Then came the disposition of the pipes with two manuals and two cases. These were consequently termed double organs. A modern instrument is found in many instances to contain five separate organs within its case, but being all under the control of the organist, they are spoken of compositely as one instrument, though particularized in giving a description by their names—grand, swell, solo, choir, and pedal. Fig. 23.—Popular Style of Modern Parlor Organ. Emphasis has been laid on these points in order to give readers a clear idea of the terms used elsewhere in speaking of the instrument.
The aim of the organ-builder has been to increase the variety and extent of the sounds, so as to render them available for art purposes through the instrumentality of the key-board and pedal system. And in the order of things, when the number of pipes was added to from time to time to give increased compass, it became necessary to originate improvements in the wind collecting and distributing departments. These are, first of all, the bellows, then the wind-chest, wind-trunk, and sound-board grooves. Meantime it is seen that the perfection of this department, so to speak, was such that it permitted the builder to apply air to the action mechanism according to the laws of pneumatics, with obvious advantage. In the early centuries the instrument was blown with a rude bellows by hand; then came the pedal bellows described by Prætorius, in 1620, which he found in the ancient organ in the church of St. Ægidien, in Brunswick. This system referred to—working them by the feet, the blowers holding on. to a rigid transverse bar as they moved along the row (the bellows described by the authority named numbered twenty, and were operated by two men)—was, however, known a thousand years previous, in Constantinople. Passing over incidental contributions to that department, it is only necessary to point out that the demands upon the wind became so great in time that it was deemed necessary to introduce mechanical means for supplying and regulating the supply required. A hydraulic engine, invented by Joy and Holt, of Middleborough, England, though defective in some respects, was the first thing found to answer the purpose. Next came a water-moter, invented by Thomas Duncan, which met with some favor. Latterly, gas and electricity have been applied with much success, and in the operation of the most comprehensive organs little difficulty is experienced at present in supplying and regulating the stock of wind required.
When the organ-builder increased the compass of the instrument and its effects, the perfecting of the key movement, the invention of the draw-stop action for controlling the use of the various tiers of pipes, the introduction of composition pedals, couplers, and other features became necessary as a part of the major development, viz., the modern great organ as it stands. Of electricity and pneumatics nothing more need be said save that these agencies have been found invaluable in operating massive instruments.
A description of the Tabernacle organ in Brooklyn will show the mechanical and scientific points of interest contained in a modern instrument of that class: The great-organ key-board (A) is capable of controlling all the others—namely, swell (B), choir (C), and solo organ (D). In effect, the great-organ keyboard through the tracker (A) and squares (A) opens the ports of the pneumatic chest (E), the interior of one of which is shown. This is filled with compressed air of a power and quantity capable of raising a column of water seven inches. When the key is pressed, or operated, it opens the vent-valve (G) and closes the supply-valve (H). The compressed air from the chest presses on the top of the small bellows (I), one of which is furnished to each note, and the wind, consequently escaping through the vent-valve, pulls the wire of lever (J) and tracker (J). This passes up and pulls open the big valve in the great-organ wind chest, and affects all the other organs also, when coupled on to the tracker indicated.
To explain the action of the choir key-board (C): On being pressed, the key (C) opens the train of trackers and connections (K); the vent-valve (L) in that chest is opened, which closes the supply-valve (N), thereby allowing wind to escape from the small pneumatic bellows (N), which, being pressed down by the force of compressed air from the wind-chest, opens the large valve (O). This supplies all the pipes in that chest with wind. The swell (B) and solo (D) key-boards also operate their respective wind-chests on the same principle. Fig. 24.—General View of Interior of Parlor Organ (Estey system).—Case (A), lid to key-board (A"), bellows reservoir (B), escapement (b), treadle (D), tape connecting D with C (d), wind-chest (E), reed-socket (e), reeds (r r), dampers (e), swells (s), octave-coupler levers (H), tracker-pin (h), key (F), name-board (G), stop-knob (I), stop-rod (i), lever and link for swells (J), slide for opening dampers (M), grand-organ roll (n), vox humana tremolo (T), float-wheel of tremolo (t), fan (f), music-support (m), lamp-stool (L), and knee-swell lever (S).
The couplers are operated through the medium of lever (P), which is controlled through a block glued on the tracker (J). When the performer desires to couple the choir to the great organ, the draw-stop pulled out has the effect of pushing the square (G) up against the tracker (K), when the desired result is attained. Again, when he wishes to couple the swell to the great, the pulling out of the draw-stop brings up the lever (R) against the block on the tracker in that connection. The coupling of the swell octave is attained by the levers (S), which are placed at an angle so as to pull the tracker of the swell one octave higher, by an ingenious movement. In coupling the solo organ to the great, the lever (T) is moved up to the block on the tracker of that manual. A little study of the plan, and the points given, will explain the general system of action very clearly. In this instrument a set of bells of three octaves (U) are operated from the great-organ key-board by a mechanism of the square piano order; pneumatic agency is also used here, as the pressure of the key will not of itself furnish the dynamic impulse necessary to put them in vibration. This is attained by a draw-stop, which puts lever (V) and tracker (J) in connection by pushing the former up against the latter. To play any of the key-boards by pedals, a "cam" serves to raise the levers (W) to the tail of the keys, thus establishing a connection.
Among the special effects in this organ not specified are a bassdrum and tympani (kettle-drums), also operated by pneumatic agency. The great and swell organs are on a four-inch wind; the choir is on a three-inch; the thirty-two-foot and sixteen-foot open diapasons are on a seven-inch wind. In the region of tones may be found a German gamba—a unique stop with a string tone—and a vox humana copied from the celebrated instrument at Freiburg by Mooser. The vox anglica in the organ treated on is a remarkable expression effect, while the song-trumpet stop is a startling acoustic development. It is of such immense power that it is capable of leading eight thousand voices. The instrument also contains combination piston-knobs under the key-board and a combination pedal to every organ. These are adjustable. There are in all 110 stops and 4,448 pipes, divided as follows: Great organ, 18 stops, 1,464 pipes; swell organ, 18 stops, 1,342 pipes; choir organ, 12 stops, 854 pipes; solo organ, 8 stops, 488 pipes; pedal organ, 10 stops, 300 pipes; also 10 couplers, 11 mechanical movements, 6 pneumatic piston-knobs in great organ, 11 combination pedals, and 6 pedal movements.
The four manuals contain five octaves each, with an auxiliary pedal compass of two and a half octaves. The wind is furnished by three immense bellows of various wind pressure, operated by a C. & C. electric motor of an improved order on an Edison circuit. Its exterior, moreover, is most striking. It shows a fagade of richly decorated pipes forty feet in width and fifty feet in height, and is altogether one of the finest instruments in appearance and effect in this country, and an imposing exemplification of American organ-building.
The Parlor Organ.—Sound is produced in instruments such as the French and English harmonium and the American parlor organ through the medium of the free reed. The latter, though related to the former in a physical and mechanical sense, is in many respects so different from the European reed instruments of the class designated that it is entitled to stand alone as an instrument peculiarly American and distinct in point of construction.
The individuality of the American parlor organ rests largely upon the system of reed structure invented in this country, upon which a tone has been evolved which is easily distinguished from that produced by the reed instruments made abroad. Several other features in its interior construction and exterior finish, however, distinguish it from the reed instruments called harmoniums produced in Europe. The "free reed," as it was first applied in American accordeons and seraphines, was not by any means a domestic invention, as writers recklessly assert. It was used by European pipe-organ builders for stop effects, and also in a separate key-board instrument, prior to 1800. The "free reed" is so named to distinguish it from the "beating reed" of the clarionet and the "double reed" of the oboe and bassoon. It consists of a strip of flexible metal adjusted on a pan over a slot in which the reed vibrates on being set in motion by a current of air, thus producing a musical sound. Pitch, the height or depth of sounds, is regulated by the size and structure of the reed and pan, the smaller reeds producing the sharpest and the larger the gravest tones, while timbre, or quality, one of the three chief characteristics which a sound possesses, is conditioned by the structure of the reed, the nature of the metal used, and other incidental influences.
The seraphine was the first instrument of the class produced in America. It was invented by Mr. Chadwick, an American, and was merely a slight advance on the accordeon, its precursor, which was also a key-board instrument. The melodeon appeared about
Fig. 25.—Showing Body of Organ removed from Case (Peloubet system, Lyon & Healy, Chicago, manufacturers)—Ends of mutes belonging to two full registers of reeds (A); stop-board (B), with knobs in front; upright forked levers for stops (C). Also illustrates general principles.
1840, and differed little from French harmoniums until Emmons Hamlin—afterward one of the founders of the celebrated firm of Mason & Hamlin—introduced some significant improvements in the construction of the reed. The improvement was of a highly important character from the historical point of view, since it was the first and chief step toward the American parlor organ. Hamlin found that, if the tongue of the reed were slightly twisted or bent, a better quality of tone could be produced. This discovery was made in 1848. Subsequent experiments yielded remarkable results, and a new instrument was practically introduced. Meanwhile the discovery of the method of reed structure referred to has been a subject of dispute for years, the late Mr. Riley Burdette and others claiming to have anticipated Hamlin. As neither took out a patent, I can only give the version most generally accepted. In 1847 the two leading American firms devoted to the melodeon were Prince & Co. and Carhart & Needham, both located in Buffalo, N. Y. Hamlin was a clever workman and tuner in the employ of Prince & Co., to whose benefit he turned his discovery up to 1854, when he joined the celebrated Dr. Lowell Mason and founded the eminent Boston firm yet bearing their names. Other makers were not slow to copy the invention, and it became a commonly accepted principle in the melodeon within a few years.
The use of these instruments became wide-spread from 1850 upward, many patented improvements being brought forward in the interval in the acoustic and other departments. Of these, Jeremiah Carhart's invention of the exhaust or suction bellows in 1846 was the most significant. Harmoniums, so called, were also produced in this country similar to those of Alexandre, of Paris, but they varied little from seraphines and melodeons except in matters of detail. Carhart's bellows became generally adopted subsequently, and at this period is used exclusively in American organs. The old method of playing air upon the reeds yet obtains in Europe, owing to the claim that it secures more prompt speech, while the opposite method is employed in this country.
Toward 1861 the first instruments resembling the modern parlor-organ appeared. The case became individualized, new tone effects were added, two or more sets of reeds employed, and the name of "organ" applied formally. Mason & Hamlin first used the term in instruments of that improved order in 1861 which they named "organ harmoniums," to distinguish them from melodeons and harmoniums. In a few years it became "organs." Prince & Co., Carhart & Needham, and other makers contributed to the later developments in special directions, but to the firm of Mason & Hamlin is conceded the claim that they were the first to introduce the parlor organ in the year designated.
The organ business grew so rapidly that a great many new firms entered the field before 1870, some of them yet existing. Among the older houses yet devoted to this industry are Clough & Warren, of Detroit, and Estey & Co., of Brattleboro, Vt., both being founded about 1850. In the organs of both of these firms technical and acoustic ideas of a special nature are to be seen. This must also be said of instruments produced by more modern firms. But in the abstract the organs produced by the leading makers approximate in most respects, all aiming after the same artistic results. The most elaborate and costly organs, however, come from the workshops of Mason & Hamlin, who deserve special recognition for their untiring efforts to elevate the instrument Fig. 26.—Improved Model, with Two Manuals and Pedals (capable of fine artistic effects). in artistic character and status. The present head of the firm, Mr. Edward Mason, is a grandson of Dr. Lowell Mason, and a native of Boston, where he was born in 1858. The founders of the business have all passed away.
There are many other excellent organ-makers in the United States, some of whom are better known in Europe than in this country, strange as it may seem. The number of organs exported annually is very large, and of these the West contributes a goodly share.
The manufacture of reeds, keys, and many other parts of the instrument became specialized as in the case of the piano, but not to such an ex tent The Munroe Reed Company was the most important of these specialists, the others being largely associated with the kindred industry of piano-making.
Improvement in the organ since 1850 has been expressed in the development of tone and case structure, as remarked, while the chief patents taken out have been for mechanical contrivances to cheapen production. Modern parlor organs represent considerable intelligence and accumulated effort in their scope and character, many of the examples produced coming close to the smaller pipe-organs in effect. Quality of tone, together with power and great variety, are now possible, whereas the harmoniums, melodeons, and seraphines known in 1860 were simple instruments with one set of reeds and no stops worthy of the name, being only fit for domestic hymn-singing. Notwithstanding, the organ has ceased to be popular at present, nearly all the firms named having added the production of pianos to their business. The latter instrument has been growing into popular favor, to the disadvantage of the former, and if present indications are reliable the production of organs will be an insignificant branch of industry in the future; yet some look forward to the re-establishment of the organ in popular favor.
Many attempts have been made to combine reeds with strings in the piano, the first being made by Prof. Wheatstone, in London, in 1834. Obed Coleman, a native of New Bedford, Mass., invented a system for uniting both in a square piano, which he named the Æolian attachment. This was adopted by a Boston manufacturer in 1844, but was abandoned after a few years. Other attempts have been made, with like results.
Organs combining the features of the pipe and reed have been also made, the Peloubet system being regarded as the most successful. Lyon & Healy, of Chicago, manufacture the "Peloubet reed-pipe organs" at present, their trade extending to Europe largely. Another form of organ somewhat approximate is the Vocalian. The physical basis of sound production in this instrument resembles that of the human voice, according to its inventor. Dr. Hamilton, a Scottish gentleman, who produced it after many years of study and experiment. The instrument consequently attracted much attention when introduced here in 1882. It comes very close to the pipe-organ in quality, and is an excellent substitute. Mason & Risch, of Worcester, Mass., manufacture these instruments.
Mechanical instruments called organettes are also produced in large numbers for export and domestic purposes. In these, sheets of perforated paper run over the reeds, the perforations admitting free play for the air, thus producing the desired effect. They are of American invention. Organs employing somewhat similar methods for the mechanical production of music by pneumatic action have come into use recently, but, while capable of yielding pleasing effects, they are decried by musicians, upon the ground that the individuality of an artistic musical performance can not be duplicated apart from human instrumentality. This is, however, only a matter of opinion. While the majority of organ manufacturers are scattered throughout various States—unlike the piano art industry, which is mostly concentrated in New York and Boston—Chicago is the largest producing center in the country.