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Colin Harvey

Defending The Pipe Organ

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I'm told that test pipes of pewter, which contains no lead, are possible and, indeed, one English builder has had sample pipes made to see how they compare in terms of ease of voicing and tonal quality.

 

JS

 

=============

 

 

Pewter needs antimony for strength. The following from Wikipedia:-

 

 

"Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic. Clinically, antimony poisoning is very similar to arsenic poisoning. In small doses, antimony causes headache, dizziness, and depression. ............ Larger doses cause violent and frequent vomiting, and will lead to death in few days. Very large doses will cause violent vomiting, causing the poison to be expelled from the body before any harm is done."

 

There must be a way around this.

 

What about Wooden Tibias, brass trumpets and heavy zinc-basses?

 

Has anyone tried this in organs?

 

B)

 

MM

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=============

Pewter needs antimony for strength. The following from Wikipedia:-

"Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic. Clinically, antimony poisoning is very similar to arsenic poisoning. In small doses, antimony causes headache, dizziness, and depression.  ............ Larger doses cause violent and frequent vomiting, and will lead to death in few days. Very large doses will cause violent vomiting, causing the poison to be expelled from the body before any harm is done."

 

There must be a way around this.

 

What about Wooden Tibias, brass trumpets and heavy zinc-basses?

 

Has anyone tried this in organs?

 

B)

 

MM

 

 

Presumably the Wurlitzer Company.

 

My own instrument had a spun brass rank (en chamade) - the resonators were, I believe, manufactured by Boosey and Hawkes, as standard orchestral trumpets, but left un-mitred, then sent to the organ builders, who simpy fitted them with blocks, shallots, reed tongues, wedges and tuning-springs - and stuck them directly into the chest.

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From about 1900 up to WW II, Walcker used systematically Zinc for the first

octave of their metal stops.

Besides the cost, this saved weight and enlightened the basses because of the

stronger harmonic development of such pipes.

If properly treated (they must be protected against corrosion, inside and outside), and thick enough, these pipes last for a very long time and never collapse.

 

Pierre

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From about 1900 up to WW II, Walcker used systematically Zinc for the first

octave of their metal stops.

Besides the cost, this saved weight and enlightened the basses because of the

stronger harmonic development of such pipes.

If properly treated (they must be protected against corrosion, inside and outside), and thick enough, these pipes last for a very long time and never collapse.

 

Pierre

 

=================

 

I never make a cheap joke out of anyone using of a foreign language, but I had to smile at Pierre's use of one particular word in the above post.

 

I don't think I have met too many "enlightened basses," but I've met a few gruff and educated ones in my time.

 

B)

 

MM

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=================

 

I never make a cheap joke out of anyone using of a foreign language, but I had to smile at Pierre's use of one particular word in the above post.

 

I don't think I have met too many "enlightened basses," but I've met a few gruff and educated ones in my time.

 

:)

 

MM

 

So far, so good. B)

Let's go for "lighter basses" then. :P

 

Pierre

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I see from "orgue-l" today (quoting yesterday's Hansard) - that HMG - at least in the person of the Minister for Enenrgy, Malcolm Wicks - now accepts that organs fall outside the scope of the EU directives and that the DTI will be working with the Commission to get this confirmed once and for all before July 1.

 

Why does it take so long for the moronic flatfoots of the DTI to reach the same planet as the rest of Europe? Who says this administration did not deserve the bloody nose it received last night?

 

JS

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Guest Barry Oakley
I see from "orgue-l" today (quoting yesterday's Hansard) - that HMG - at least in the person of the Minister for Enenrgy, Malcolm Wicks - now accepts that organs fall outside the scope of the EU directives and that the DTI will be working with the Commission to get this confirmed once and for all before July 1.

 

 

This would reaffirm the comments within the extract from MEP Liz Lynne's press release I posted several days ago which states in essence that the legislation was

never intended to cover pipe organs.

 

I have felt for some time that this issue is nothing else but a storm in a teacup.

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I have felt for some time that this issue is nothing else but a storm in a teacup.
It may well be, but bear in mind that we're not out of the woods yet.

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I have felt for some time that this issue is nothing else but a storm in a teacup.

 

But the DTI. with their vague and misleading statements, did nothing to stop that storm from growing. It seems that the Home Office isn't the only Government department run on a combination of ignorance and incompetence.

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I see from "orgue-l" today (quoting yesterday's Hansard) - that HMG - at least in the person of the Minister for Enenrgy, Malcolm Wicks - now accepts that organs fall outside the scope of the EU directives and that the DTI will be working with the Commission to get this confirmed once and for all before July 1.

 

Why does it take so long for the moronic flatfoots of the DTI to reach the same planet as the rest of Europe?  Who says this administration did not deserve the bloody nose it received last night?

 

JS

 

 

=========================

 

 

This is indeed encouraging, and entirely in-line with EU thinking.

 

I find it amusing that Malcolm Wicks MP uses the word "nonsense" when it was his department which failed to respond in the first instance!

 

It is not a matter of party-politics at all, because nowadays, most politicians are career-politicians who often have a very limited experience of the real world of work, as well as scientific matters. The same is true of civil-servants, and I very much doubt that there was real incompetence or malice involved; simply a lack of cross disciplinary thinking and know-how.

 

As I stated in my last post on this subject, the existence of public-money being used for new organ-building, is the clincher, and I have not the slightest doubt that this will all work out perfectly well.

 

However, it was certainly no "storm in a tea cup" affair insofar as the DTI ACTUALLY STATED THAT THE ORGAN WOULD COME UNDER THE SCOPE OF THE DIRECTIVES.

 

Had they entered into dialogue earlier, all this "nonsense" would never have arisen.

 

Let's hope that this marks the beginning of the end to this long-running saga.

 

MM

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The earth is beginning to move as the wind of change starts to blow.

 

Here is the latest from Parliamentary Questions, dated May 4th, 2006:-

 

 

Dr. Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham): To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress the Government have made in discussions on the exemption of the organ pipe manufacturing industry from EU Directives on restrictions on hazardous substances and waste electrical and electronic equipment. [67159]

 

Malcolm Wicks: The Department has been working with the pipe organ industry for some time and will continue to do so in order to secure a favourable outcome on this issue. The UK Government do not consider that pipe organs fall within the scope of this Directive, a view widely accepted within the E.C. The DTI is working closely with the European Commission, and our aim is to reach a successful conclusion before the Directive comes into force on 1 July.

 

 

MM

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...which is pretty much exactly what he said in his oral answer to Mr Beith the same day. From the welcome change in tone I'd guess that the matter has been delegated up a grade or two in the DTI - to someone prepared to take a decision rather than just read the rule-book!

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...which is pretty much exactly what he said in his oral answer to Mr Beith the same day. From the welcome change in tone I'd guess that the matter has been delegated up a grade or two in the DTI - to someone prepared to take a decision rather than just read the rule-book!

 

================

 

In all fairness to the people here in the UK and the DTI, some of the EU officials were less than helpful in claiming that the directives "only applied to new organs".

 

I think everyone at home and abroad, has been taken by surprise by this one, and since the debacle surfaced, everyone has been making up policy at the gallop in the hope that the problem will go away or be dealt with by others.

 

All this now needs is a quick debate, a quick vote and then the rubber-stamp of EU approval without the need for exemptions or derogations, but I suspect it is now an EU matter and not a UK one.

 

Give them time....Europe wasn't built in a day!

 

MM

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Not too much, MM! I hope the matter is settled in July because, like I said before, the Commission pretty much shuts down for the whole of August.

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Here's something quite interesting which came to my attention to-day, and which may be relevant to the on-going EU saga.

 

Contained with the WEEEdirectives is the following, which would appear to be a get-out clause:-

 

=========

Article 2.1 says:-

 

This Directive shall apply to electrical and electronic equipment falling under the categories set out in Annex IA provided that the equipment concerned is not part of another type of equipment that does not fall within the scope of this Directive.

 

==========

 

Were I a lawyer, I would want to know if "a pipe organ" is essentially outside the scope of the directive, which of course, we know it to be.

 

The current perception of "a pipe organ" as a musical instrument, if hand-blown (or steam/water powered), means that it falls outside the scope of the WEEE directives, which are concerned with "electrical devices".

 

Therefore, attaching an electric-fan (or even electronic control equipment) to an instrument , could be construed as attaching a separate "electrical device" to something which falls outside the scope of the WEEE directive' whether or not this is done at the design or execution stages, or whether it is done retrospectively.

 

This raises the interesting possibility that both the WEEE directives and the RoHS

directives have been mis-interpreted by everyone, including the IOB and the DTI.

 

MM

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Some interesting questions, but an evasive answer: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/c...060518143000009

 

Was the Minister's answer drafted for him by DTI officials (as is the normal way of things)? Does this evasive answer amount to a whitewash? It really would be interesting to have a proper response to these legitimate questions. Perhaps we should request the full details under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Some interesting questions, but an evasive answer: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/c...060518143000009

 

Was the Minister's answer drafted for him by DTI officials (as is the normal way of things)? Does this evasive answer amount to a whitewash? It really would be interesting to have a proper response to these legitimate questions. Perhaps we should request the full details under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

================

 

Mr Gummer indeed raised some interesting questions; no doubt backed by the considerable amount of information fed to him from various sources.

 

The inescapable fact is, the DTI jumped the gun without even knowing where the start or finishing-lines were, the EU commissioner in the UK didn't even know there was a race, and the junior officials wouldn't know the difference between a digital stop-watch and a hand-wound chronometer.

 

Nevertheless, democracy enables us to fire benign blanks rather than real bullets; for which we must be grateful I suppose.

 

As for economical use of the truth, I cannot help but think, that the Minister's claim to having "worked closely" with organ-builders amounts to almost downright misinformation, because if he had, the DTI wouldn't have been caught with its running-shorts around its ankles.

 

Still, it's as nothing as compared to famine, war and disasters, unless of course, one happens to be an organ-builder.

 

MM

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Hmm. They did rather over-egg the 'going to Prison' bit!

 

What I actually said was that it's unlikely that we would stop doing what we do and that if that means someone somewhere wanted to throw us into Jail, I suppose we'd have to go!

 

The other slight exaggeration which they made (given that they are Journalists I suppose that we've gotten off pretty lightly though) is having said that the firm still sends organs tro Australia and Africa! The reporter actually had asked how far afield there were Willis jobs and, of course, when Brisbane City Hall and 'some organs in Africa' werre mentioned......

 

Oh well, all grist to the mill.

 

DW

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Hmm. They did rather over-egg the 'going to Prison' bit!

 

What I actually said was that it's unlikely that we would stop doing what we do and that if that means someone somewhere wanted to throw us into Jail, I suppose we'd have to go!

 

The other slight exaggeration which they made (given that they are Journalists I suppose that we've gotten off pretty lightly though) is having said that the firm still sends organs tro Australia and Africa!  The reporter actually had asked how far afield there were Willis jobs and, of course, when Brisbane City Hall and 'some organs in Africa' werre mentioned......

 

Oh well, all grist to the mill.

 

DW

 

 

======================

 

 

We'll bring cakes and write letters to you.

 

:huh:

 

MM

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======================

We'll bring cakes and write letters to you.

 

:huh:

 

MM

 

I only look as though I eat cakes!

I could use the time to loose about 4 stones actually so just the letters would be fine.

 

Nice sentiments though - thanks!!

 

DW

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YESSSS!!!

 

I have just received copies of press releases from both the EU and the DTI confirming that church organs are not covered by EU directives.

 

Thank goodness sense has prevailed.

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The texts:

 

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESS RELEASE 8 Storey's Gate London SW1P 3AT

 

ISEC/46

27 June 2006

 

The European Commission and EU member states have decided that church organs are not covered by EU legislation that bans the use of some hazardous substances, such as lead.

 

Head of European Commission in London Reijo Kemppinen said: “I am happy that we can clarify this once and for all: British organ builders need not fear for the future of their art and craft. The European Union has no wish to jeopardise this ancient tradition.”

 

There are two linked EU directives intended to protect human health and the environment by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical equipment.

 

Organ makers in the UK argued that there was no satisfactory substitute for lead giving the same quality of sound in organ pipes. They raised questions as to what the legislation meant for repairs to existing organs, and whether it precluded making new ones using lead.

 

The legislation applies only to new equipment, so existing organs are not affected. Member states were asked if they agreed that organs did not fall within the scope of legislation intended to apply to consumer equipment. They confirmed that this was the case.

 

=========================

 

DTI News Release

 

Reference P/2006/153

Date 27 June 2006

 

 

LEAD IN THEIR PIPES IS OK: CHURCH ORGANS OUTSIDE SCOPE OF EU TOXIN RULES, SAYS DTI

 

Pipe organs are outside the scope of an incoming EU Directive which restricts the use of hazardous substances including lead in machinery and appliances with an electrical component, Department for Trade & Industry Minister Malcolm Wicks said today.

 

The so-called RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive which comes into force on 1st July 2006 had been a source of concern for pipe organ builders because the historic instruments now contain a small electric fan to blow air through the sound-making lead pipes, rather than relying on organist foot-power as was traditionally the case.

 

A meeting of the EU Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee held yesterday in Brussels unanimously concluded that pipe organs were exempt from the new rules.

 

Welcoming the clarifcation, Malcolm Wicks said:

 

“These EU rules were never meant to encompass pipe organs – it’s now 100% clear that they will be unaffected. The many concerned letters I received were a measure of the huge affection we have for the UK’s historic church organs. It’s a European ruling that has hit the right note.”

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The texts:

 

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESS RELEASE 8 Storey's Gate London SW1P 3AT

 

ISEC/46

27 June 2006

 

The European Commission and EU member states have decided that church organs are not covered by EU legislation that bans the use of some hazardous substances, such as lead.

 

Head of European Commission in London Reijo Kemppinen said: “I am happy that we can clarify this once and for all: British organ builders need not fear for the future of their art and craft. The European Union has no wish to jeopardise this ancient tradition.”

 

There are two linked EU directives intended to protect human health and the environment by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical equipment.

 

Organ makers in the UK argued that there was no satisfactory substitute for lead giving the same quality of sound in organ pipes. They raised questions as to what the legislation meant for repairs to existing organs, and whether it precluded making new ones using lead.

 

The legislation applies only to new equipment, so existing organs are not affected. Member states were asked if they agreed that organs did not fall within the scope of legislation intended to apply to consumer equipment. They confirmed that this was the case.

 

=========================

 

DTI News Release

 

Reference  P/2006/153

Date  27 June 2006

LEAD IN THEIR PIPES IS OK: CHURCH ORGANS OUTSIDE SCOPE OF EU TOXIN RULES, SAYS DTI

 

Pipe organs are outside the scope of an incoming EU Directive which restricts the use of hazardous substances including lead in machinery and appliances with an electrical component, Department for Trade & Industry Minister Malcolm Wicks said today.

 

The so-called RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive which comes into force on 1st July 2006 had been a source of concern for pipe organ builders because the historic instruments now contain a small electric fan to blow air through the sound-making lead pipes, rather than relying on organist foot-power as was traditionally the case.

 

A meeting of the EU Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee held yesterday in Brussels unanimously concluded that pipe organs were exempt from the new rules. 

 

Welcoming the clarifcation, Malcolm Wicks said:

 

“These EU rules were never meant to encompass pipe organs – it’s now 100% clear that they will be unaffected. The many concerned letters I received were a measure of the huge affection we have for the UK’s historic church organs.  It’s a European ruling that has hit the right note.”

 

 

===================

 

 

I'm not surprised that all this mess occurred when you look at the wording of even this latest press-release fiasco.

 

In the first release from the EU London office, note the words:-

 

"They raised questions as to what the legislation meant for repairs to existing organs, and whether it precluded making new ones using lead.

 

The legislation applies only to new equipment, so existing organs are not affected.

 

ON THE FACE OF IT, BACK TO SQUARE ONE!!

 

Then the DTi release:-

 

"......because the historic instruments now contain a small electric fan."

 

 

and further:-

 

".......rather than relying on organist foot-power as was traditionally the case."

 

and still further:-

 

"A meeting of the EU Commission’s Technical Advisory Committee held yesterday in Brussels unanimously concluded that pipe organs were exempt from the new rules. "

 

My overall impression is that the DTi has come out of this rather better than the EU office in London, from which came the source of the original brief that "the leigslation will only apply to new organs."

 

I think we can draw a veil over the horse-power (Kw) rating for some of the larger instruments. At the last count, I think a 24 rank Wutlitzer, with not a lot of pipes, requires about 20-30hp and it aint a small fan by any means!!

 

We'll also draw a veil over the interim blowing arrangements of water-engines, which were very common about 140 years ago!

 

What a pity that organ-builders can now throw toxic electronic waste into landfill sites when the old circuit-boards have passed their useful life-expectancy.

 

Ah well! That's life I suppose.

 

MM

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