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I was wondering if anyone knows of original Barker Lever actions still in existence. The Romsey GO is an example I am aware of, but someone asked me the other day, and I was hard pressed to think of a single one. The Romsey one is perfectly reliable and prompt and it strikes me that it's a sensible way to go when compared, say, with the well-documented deficiencies of pneumatics.

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I was wondering if anyone knows of original Barker Lever actions still in existence.  The Romsey GO is an example I am aware of, but someone asked me the other day, and I was hard pressed to think of a single one.  The Romsey one is perfectly reliable and prompt and it strikes me that it's a sensible way to go when compared, say, with the well-documented deficiencies of pneumatics.

 

There are still many in use. You can even listen to them at the downloads here:

http://www.stsulpice.com/Docs/video.html

;)

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As a matter of interest - does anyone build new ones? - as opposed to the Fisk servo mechanism or similar newer developments.

 

AJJ

 

Of course, Van Den Heuvel in the Netherlands.

 

http://vandenheuvel-orgelbouw.nl/

 

His aim is to build after Cavaillé-Coll, with Barker levers enclosed in

sound-deadening casts.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Guest Roffensis
I was wondering if anyone knows of original Barker Lever actions still in existence.  The Romsey GO is an example I am aware of, but someone asked me the other day, and I was hard pressed to think of a single one.  The Romsey one is perfectly reliable and prompt and it strikes me that it's a sensible way to go when compared, say, with the well-documented deficiencies of pneumatics.

 

 

Holy Trinity, Walton Breck, Liverpool. Still B.L. and restored. (Willis, 1863, 3 man, 27 stops, 9 reeds)

 

Christchurch Claughton, Birkenhead. (Willis 1865 enlarged Willis, still with floating lever action)

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Holy Trinity, Walton Breck, Liverpool. Still B.L. and restored. (Willis, 1863, 3 man, 27 stops, 9 reeds)

 

Christchurch Claughton, Birkenhead. (Willis 1865 enlarged Willis, still with floating lever action)

 

Hi

 

Is the Willis "floating lever" the same as Barker Lever. I thought I'd read somewhere that the Willis design is a sophisticated "servo-like" pneumatic action.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Hi

 

Is the Willis "floating lever" the same as Barker Lever.  I thought I'd read somewhere that the Willis design is a sophisticated "servo-like" pneumatic action.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

The Willis device (and Fisk) is genuine servo assistance, and the pallet tracks the movement of the key all the way through its travel. It's essentially just a backfall with help. The Barker lever on the other hand is just an on/off arrangement.

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Before Willis develloped his own servo system -which Stephen Bicknell

planned to re-use in a project for the U.S.-, didn't Willis use a reverted

Barker lever, I mean, with exhaust action instead of Cavaillé-Coll

charge action?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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Before Willis develloped his own servo system -which Stephen Bicknell

planned to re-use in a project for the U.S.-, didn't Willis use a reverted

Barker lever, I mean, with exhaust action instead of Cavaillé-Coll

charge action?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Don't know... it still seems to me, though, that BL has so many advantages over conventional pneumatic (and, for that matter, a lot of direct electric actions I've played)... despite being "on/off" there is a degree of humanity to them and I've found I can articulate quite nicely and get a connection with it in ways I can't with pn and el. it's nice to know they're still alive, in one form or another.

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Others say that too, but I do not grasp why, because with BL action you don't

have direct contact with the pallet.

The feedback you get is from the Barker-pallet, not the windchest's.

Maybe it's ergonomic, that if the action between the Lever and the chest is really quick, you can be "fooled".

Barker Levers are rather violent, so that all mechanism between them and the Windchest has to be over-dimensioned.

Moreover, they rattle a lot if not regularly maintained (which can be heard trough the link above).

It may be amusing to note the builders that used the Barker levers standardizided their tracker actions so that even in little organs without Barker you find these big, over-sized

parts.

As a result they are often still in excellent condition up to nowadays, but are rather heavy in touch for their size.

(This is to be find in Belgium with Schyven and Van Bever little organs).

 

So I see this system rather as a step towards the pneumatic action than as an example to follow. The drawbacks plus the cost speak against it.

I speak of course of new organs; ancient ones with Barker lever tracker action deserve to and must be kept as they are!

 

Best wishes,

Pierre Lauwers.

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Guest Roffensis
Hi

 

Is the Willis "floating lever" the same as Barker Lever.  I thought I'd read somewhere that the Willis design is a sophisticated "servo-like" pneumatic action.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

It is barker as far as I know, but it is suspended, John Mander can doubtless expalin it better than I, but a characteristic is that is feels more "spongy", at least at Claughton, as fine as it is.

All best,

R

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On the subject, it is perhaps a shame that the C-C at the Parr Hall, Warrington was rebuilt with electro-pneumatic action and a conventional combination system (and, presumably, a rather altered console). At least for the sake of authenticity, I feel that it should have been restored to its original design.

 

Having played a one or two C-C bureau-style consoles, I found them quite comfortable and relatively easy to work. Providing one does not wish to employ kaleidoscopic changes of registration throughout a recital, the C-C system of ventils (and hand-registration, of course) is perfectly adequate. Personally I find it considerably more user-friendly than an original 17th or 18th century Dutch console, with paper labels, long draws on the stops and wide, flat jambs. At least all the stops can be reached easily on a C-C console.

 

However, that was not what you asked, David. In reply, the only one I know is that at Romsey, so I am no use whatsoever - sorry! :)

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Before Willis develloped his own servo system -which Stephen Bicknell

planned to re-use in a project for the U.S.-, didn't Willis use a reverted

Barker lever, I mean, with exhaust action instead of Cavaillé-Coll

charge action?

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

 

Don't know about Willis, but Ladegast had an exhaust action Barker (for example in Schwerin and in Poznan). Schuke wanted to copy it for our new organ here in Magdeburg. But we are getting Kowalshyn machines instead (the proper name for Fisk's system). They are installed in Lausanne and work very well. But the top resistance of Barkers is of course eliminated - as Pierre has pointed out, this comes from the Barker pallet and not the pipe pallet anyway, so, although nice to have, it's just an illusion!

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Don't know about Willis, but Ladegast had an exhaust action Barker (for example in Schwerin and in Poznan). Schuke wanted to copy it for our new organ here in Magdeburg. But we are getting Kowalshyn machines instead (the proper name for Fisk's system). They are installed in Lausanne and work very well. But the top resistance of Barkers is of course eliminated - as Pierre has pointed out, this comes from the Barker pallet and not the pipe pallet anyway, so, although nice to have, it's just an illusion!

 

Sure, it's just an illusion, but it's a hugely useful one and encourages one to articulate as one would on a tracker instrument - it has exactly the right feel. On mine, as much of the organ is located in distant triforiums and inaudible at the console, it's handy to have the noise as well - trio sonatas become two-part inventions with a percussion section, and about three rows back down the nave it sounds lovely.

 

The object of the question seems to have been fulfilled - i.e. Barker and similar devices are still part of the repertoire of the organbuilder, and the choice isn't just between trackers or magnets - that's good to know.

 

The ultimate refinement would seem to me to be something that works normally as an unassisted tracker action on light registrations, but once you start adding reeds and doubles and reach a certain touch weight, the servo kicks in. On paper such a modification doesn't look too tricky - some kind of pressure sensor on the backfall pivot - or you could cheat and just switch it on with certain stops.

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"The ultimate refinement would seem to me to be something that works normally as an unassisted tracker action on light registrations, but once you start adding reeds and doubles and reach a certain touch weight, the servo kicks in. On paper such a modification doesn't look too tricky - some kind of pressure sensor on the backfall pivot - or you could cheat and just switch it on with certain stops."

 

(Quote)

 

The weight of touch increases that way with mechanical chests with one valve for each stop, not each note, like for example with Walcker's mechanical Kegellade.

With this kind of chest the weight of touch can vary, because if you use say one stop, only this one's valve will receive wind, the others having their channels off wind;

so you will have only a little individual valve's resistance under your finger.

With slider chests the valves and their springs are of course designed for the maximum wind needs of the stops that are placed on it.

 

With slider chests the problems lie elsewhere, mainly with lower notes on chests with

big flue stops like O. Diap. 16' etc. And of course whenever one or several couplers are used.

Many modern builders, for big instruments, actually use some form of electrical

assistance for these bass notes and for the couplers. They may not always claim it too loudly.

 

Best wishes,

Pierre

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