John Compton in Nuts and bolts Posted February 13, 2013 First the questions:- 1) Did Compton have just three standard (Roosevelt) unit chest designs, as I am led to understand, for which only the top-boards differed? 2) Were the unit chests all independently winded, using small regulators? 3) Did all the unit chests have ventils, and were they always switchable at the console? 4) Did Compton ever use Haskelled basses? 1) Broadly speaking, this is the case. the design of the chest was standard (although, of course they were perfectly able to construct 'non-standard' chests when required) being a single stage Roosevelt. From the mid-1930s onwards, with the introduction of the compound magnet, it was usual to use these on the bottom two octaves effectively making these notes two-stage pneumatic. These chests were produced in three widths, known in the factory as String (6 1/2" wide at the top board), Diapason (9") and Tuba (11"). It might also be of interest to know that, as standard, Compton pipework was mitred to fit a 9' 6" ceiling height. Somewhere else in this thread someone mentioned them having built Kegelade chests. The 40 stop concert organ at Wolverhampton Civic Hall is largely on straight, sliderless chests, with a single set of 61 magnets at the front. There were only a couple of ranks on extension chests in the original scheme. I don't know the mechanism involved and assumed they had some sort of ventil stop action, but they may well be Kegelade chests. 2) Ranks were occasionally independently winded as required (eg Tubas, Trumpets, or Tibias in cinema installations) but more often than not, ranks were grouped together with usually between 2 and 5 winded from one regulator. These regulators are, roughly speaking, 2' 6" x 2" (exactly speaking they're 31" x 24" - I measured some this morning!) and are internally sprung with strong leaf springs. They are neat, and very efficient at maintianing steady wind. Again, not all jobs had the standard regulators - the BBC Broadcasting House organ, which has around 33 ranks fitted into a chamber about 6' deep, has, I understand, integral regulation within the assortment of odd-shaped chests required to fit such an instrument into such a confined space. I'm guess these are something like Schwimmers. 3) As far as I am aware NO unit chests had ventils. The ventil was always fitted to the regulator, which is why the ventil stopkeys or switches often showed a group of ranks affected. This is a less useful applictaion than the Hill, Norman & Beard method as displayed in their 'Christie' cinema organs, where there is a ventil in the end of each main chest, so individual ranks can be silenced in the event of a cipher. On Compton cinema organs you will generally see one ventil marked 'Basses and Percussions' which is for the regulator supplying un-tremulated wind to these. It often also supplies the swell shutters, so use of this ventil can make the instrument even more quiet than expected! 4) I believe so, especially in small compact instruments, and residence organs. I'm not sure if they were also used in the Minitura organs, but suspect they were in at least some models, as the early versions of these used a cube bass for the 16' octave, and the chests were also made to a very space-saving design, so it perhaps follows that any other space-saving techniques available would have found favour with Compton and Taylor provided the musical result was satisfactory.