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harmonium bellows problem.


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l have restored a few American harmoniums and a French Alexandra Pear in my time and l am enjoying working on this English one. But it does not seem to pump air into the upper chamber. l have patched up all the bellows but sound only comes through momentarily from either one pedal, or both pedals pressed down together. There is nothing at all from the usual left and right pumping. Could there be such a thing as a non-return valve issue? Many thanks.







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I think you could be onto the source of the problem in mentioning the possibility of a NRV.

If there is any flexible tubing on the instrument, which I think there will be, try replacing it.  The pipe may well appear to be in good condition from the exterior but with age the inner wall can deteriorate and cause a blockage.   Downward pressure you say appears to operate the mechanism but on the return there is little if none.

I actually experienced a similar problem, not on an organ but a car disc brake.   The disc would overheat as a result of not freeing off.  I spent many happy hours dismantling/reassembling the said part to no effect.   For some reason I decided to look at the hydraulic connecting line and upon persuading off a heavily corroded connecting clip I found that the accumulating rust which had built up behind it over the years had actually succeeded in constricting the flow of fluid.  Pressure being greater on the application of the brake than the release of the same.

This may not be the case on your instrument but it just crossed my mind that it just might be something similar.

Just a suggestion anyway.  I am no expert.


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My first thought would be that there's something wrong with the "Expression" stop mechanism or valve (if there is one - most pressure Harmoniums have this facility, which cuts out the reservoir)  Aside from that, some sort of blockage - but again, I'm no expert, I just play the things!

I would talk to Phil Fluke in Saltaire (https://www.harmoniumhire.co.uk/) or Carl Heslop (contact via http://emcoa.co.uk/about-us).  Carl has restored 2 Harmoniums for me - the latest tracks on my You Tube channel are played on one those instruments.  I know of a couple of others who do Harmonium work, but I'd have to look out the contact details.

Good luck.

Every Blessing


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My first thoughts were exactly the same as Tony's. It does sound as if the expression lever is permanently on. So please have a look to see if there is indeed an 'expression' stop.

Without being able to see inside the thing, any advice from the forum is going to be guess work.

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