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Mander Organs
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St Michael-le-Belfry, York

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13 hours ago, MusoMusing said:

It sounds very draughty!

I think I'd be wallpapering over the mouth; never mind resting things on it.

MM

It could provide a tremulant effect if not properly pasted down!

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Further to posts about the Walker/Compton connection, here's a passage from Nicholas Plumley's article about Walker's, Organists' Review, August 2002:

"The period between the wars also saw the first commercially marketed extension organs. Walker's first foray into this field was the hardly known contract they fulfilled for Liverpool's Olympia Theatre as early as 1924.  This was a three-manual consisting of 1143 pipes and 16 basic ranks in two separate swell boxes extended to form 84 speaking stops.  It possessed a number of interesting features for the early date, and notable among these was the presence of an independent 6 2/5ft Tierce rank to help form a 32ft stop, and a diaphonic 16ft Diapason.  A good number of 'tailor-made' extension organs had been built by the outbreak of the Second World War.  Notable amongst these was that made for K A Houston Esq of Leicester having six basic ranks from which 47 speaking stops were derived.

At around the same time. the Walker company began to market 'off the peg' extension organs.  They had, of course, much in common with those of the John Compton Organ Company, with whom the Walker firm had close contact, both through the proximity of their two factories at Acton between 1925 and 1927, when Walker's moved to Ruislip, and through the great deal of unacknowledged and unpublicised work Walkers did for Comptons to assist with their full order books when the craze for cinema organs was at its height.  Doubtless Reginald Walker was encouraged to expand the extension side of the business having witnessed the success of the Aeolian Skinner and Moller firms in this field in the States during the 1930s.

Some consideration was also given to the idea of combining pipe and electronic elements in the late 1930s, but it was not adopted on grounds of cost.  Nor, indeed, was an enterprise of a fully electronic organ, to be called the Walker-Midgley Pipeless Organ, involving the famous inventor Albert Henry Midgley."

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14 hours ago, David Drinkell said:

Further to posts about the Walker/Compton connection, here's a passage from Nicholas Plumley's article about Walker's, Organists' Review, August 2002:

 

Some consideration was also given to the idea of combining pipe and electronic elements in the late 1930s, but it was not adopted on grounds of cost.  Nor, indeed, was an enterprise of a fully electronic organ, to be called the Walker-Midgley Pipeless Organ, involving the famous inventor Albert Henry Midgley."

Mmmmmm!

Well now, we enter into an area of some murkiness, because a number of things happened in the space of a year or two.

The chronology seems to be as follows:-

1937....Midgley leaves the Compton company
1937 -  J W Walker buy out a company styled as Midgley Leighton Ltd. The intention being to make the Midgley-Walker organ.
The organ did exist, but under what exact name in 1937, I cannot be certain.
The Midgley-Walker organ is cited in the "Grove Dictionary", and there were adverts as well as a revue of the organ in one of the musical journals. The organ was quite highly regarded.....I may have a file about it somewhere.

This instrument appeared a full year before the first Compton Electrone in 1938.

It's what happened after then which is interesting. I suspect, but cannot know, that Compton was furious with Midgley when he beat Compton to the draw with a half-decent electronic organ in 1937, because these organs cost as much as a house at the time! The cinema-organ market was drying up rapidly, and the electronics were a potential source of hard cash. The impression I get of Midgley, is one of a very greedy and impatient man, who knew how to move at lightning speed whenever he saw an opportunity. Like JC, I suspect that he saw huge potential profits in electronic organs. INterestingly, when Walker's pulled the plug on Midgley, he continued under another name; which I believe was the Electrophonic Organ Co. At almost the same time, Walker's also pulled out of Compton, and sold their shares to J J Broad, the Financial Director at Compton's.

I suspect that Walker's realised that the cinema-organ market was dead in the water, and with it went the huge profits Compton made. The same is true for Midgley, who would have seen the downward trend in cinema organ sales from about 1937/8.

The outbreak of war killed everything stone dead, and cinemas were prohibited from remaining open.
Midgley, meantime, went right back to his early days at C A Vanderwell, and started up making percussion pistols and fuses for bombs; the company becoming Midgley-Harmer Ltd., which survived until 1963 or so. For their part (Mr Compton was a POW in Italy) the Compton firm started making Link Trainer Aircraft for the RAF, and rather later, bits of Mosquito multi-capability fighter-aircraft. (The plane which REALLY won the war, rather than the Spitfire). Topically, the go between Compton's and the Air Ministry was Group Capt. Foss., the father of the late Mander Disccusion Forum
 member, John Foss, who was also later involved with Grant, Degens & Rippin.....their accountant I believe.
Combination organs?    Compton did it at Church House, Westminster (destroyed quite early on by a bombing raid). The other example was the the Methodist Mission, Great Yarmouth, when a Melotone was added to the pipes of the normal pipe-organ.

MM

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