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21st Century Barker Lever Replacement?


heva

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It *may* be the same with the organ. With some you need a feedback, and with others you do not!

Willis had also an excellent tubular-pneumatic action...(maybe another old hat that could be revived?)

Pierre

 

Indeed - apparently scientists discovered some years ago that people type more accurately if there is tactile feedback from the keyboards which they are using. Naturally, this is even more true of keyboard instruments.

 

Is there a successful tubular-pneumatic action around which has excellent touch and repetition? In addition, is it still good thirty or forty years later? Whilst I understand that the problems at Bristol have been exacerbated by a lack of expert maintenance, nevertheless there are a number of people who have posted here concerning the fact that the action was starting to lose response even two or three years after the restoration.

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"thirty or forty years later?"

 

(Quote)

 

Kerkhoff: 96 years. Gebrüder Link: 105 years, after our experience in Belgium with pneumatic actions. I mean without any repair on the action.

Which system does better?

More: the pneumatic action works better the more you use it. The more you play the organ, the least it wears.

To stay with the car comparison, the pneumatic action you may compare with a Honda: complicated design, but extremely reliable.

 

Pierre

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"thirty or forty years later?"

 

(Quote)

 

Kerkhoff: 96 years. Gebrüder Link: 105 years, after our experience in Belgium with pneumatic actions. I mean without any repair on the action.

Which system does better?

More: the pneumatic action works better the more you use it. The more you play the organ, the least it wears.

To stay with the car comparison, the pneumatic action you may compare with a Honda: complicated design, but extremely reliable.

 

Pierre

 

105 years is an incredibly good length of time without repair! But how good is the note-repetition after this period? Any British example would have either given up completely, or have become unacceptably slow by this time.

 

Do you know why the type of pneumatic action which you mention improves with age, Pierre? I would be interested to know, since I had just assumed that all actions just gradually wear out.

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105 years is an incredibly good length of time without repair! But how good is the note-repetition after this period? Any British example would have either given up completely, or have become unacceptably slow by this time.

 

Do you know why the type of pneumatic action which you mention improves with age, Pierre? I would be interested to know, since I had just assumed that all actions just gradually wear out.

 

The more you use it, the more the leather remains flexible, and so all the parts that use membranes remain fit and responsive.

The churches in which you find these long-lasting actions in organs do share:

 

-A not too dry atmosphere. This prevents wood and leather to dry

 

-A busy musical schedule.

 

The Link system is an exhaust pneumatic with Kegelladen (cone chests)

The Kerkhoff is an exhaust pneumatic with Roosevelt chests, with the peculiarity

the console is mechanical, with trackers going under the pedalboard towards

the organ basement, acting there on pneumatic relays.

 

It may be interesting to note in the 80's we visited a 1906 pneumatic Goll organ that was not played then since about 20 years.

At first the thing would not work; we insisted on the keyboard. After 15 minutes

it began to awake, and we could find some leakages and adress them with tape.

Then a friend organist could commence to play some things. After two hours you would not have said it was unplayable. It was far from good but we could at least

listen to nearly all the stops.

So: play them, don't let them go asleep!

 

Pierre

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105 years is an incredibly good length of time without repair! But how good is the note-repetition after this period? Any British example would have either given up completely, or have become unacceptably slow by this time.

 

 

We're actually in the process of completely restoring the 1904 pneumatics from the Willis instrument at Christ Church Port Sunlight - 102 years old and, with the exception of the few external, ribbed motors which had blown inside out and the others where the leather had almost given way, not a lot of trouble given and certainly not bad repetition.

 

So, not all British stuff is aspoor as all that, is it?? :):)

 

I do know what you mean though!

 

DW

 

(I'd post some pictures of the work if I could work out how to do it!!)

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We're actually in the process of completely restoring the 1904 pneumatics from the Willis instrument at Christ Church Port Sunlight - 102 years old and, with the exception of the few external, ribbed motors which had blown inside out and the others where the leather had almost given way, not a lot of trouble given and certainly not bad repetition.

 

So, not all British stuff is aspoor as all that, is it?? :)  :)

 

I do know what you mean though!

 

DW

 

(I'd post some pictures of the work if I could work out how to do it!!)

 

David, e-mail them to me, and I'll make them available for you...

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The more you use it, the more the leather remains flexible, and so all the parts that use membranes remain fit and responsive.

The churches in which you find these long-lasting actions in organs do share:

 

-A not too dry atmosphere. This prevents wood and leather to dry

 

-A busy musical schedule.

 

The Link system is an exhaust pneumatic with Kegelladen (cone chests)

The Kerkhoff is an exhaust pneumatic with Roosevelt chests, with the peculiarity

the console is mechanical, with trackers going under the pedalboard towards

the organ basement, acting there on pneumatic relays.

 

It may be interesting to note in the 80's we visited a 1906 pneumatic Goll organ that was not played then since about 20 years.

At first the thing would not work; we insisted on the keyboard. After 15 minutes

it began to awake, and we could find some leakages and adress them with tape.

Then a friend organist could commence to play some things. After two hours you would not have said it was unplayable. It was far from good but we could at least

listen to nearly all the stops.

So: play them, don't let them go asleep!

 

Pierre

 

Amazing! I would have expected the leather to perish before this. I am impressed to learn this.

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Amazing! I would have expected the leather to perish before this. I am impressed to learn this.

 

See again "Windchest types" on my Forum: what can wear within a pneumatic chest?

Nothing; the only moving parts are the membranes.

The quality of the leather is of course an issue. The 1907 ones in the 1907 Walcker organ in Namur are still original!

 

Pierre

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Any British example would have either given up completely, or have become unacceptably slow by this time.

 

 

That's a bit of an unfair generalisation about British pneumatic actions - the Willis TP action in Dundalk in Ireland has worked well for years with minimal attention. I think it is more of a case of the design and construction of the action - risking a generalisation, I'd say that if a TP action is slow there is a good chance that it always was. Damaged tubing has a lot to answer for too.

 

I've played some early 20th TP actions (in the style found in German trade consoles of the time - favoured by several organ builders in the British Isles) that were pretty miserable after restoration...

 

The best TP actions seem to soldier on and on...and some of these are British!

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That's a bit of an unfair generalisation about British pneumatic actions - the Willis TP action in Dundalk in Ireland has worked well for years with minimal attention.  I think it is more of a case of the design and construction of the action - risking a generalisation, I'd say that if a TP action is slow there is a good chance that it always was.  Damaged tubing has a lot to answer for too. 

 

I've played some early 20th TP actions (in the style found in German trade consoles of the time - favoured by several organ builders in the British Isles) that were pretty miserable after restoration...

 

The best TP actions seem to soldier on and on...and some of these are British!

 

Some of the Norman and Beard exhaust pneumatics have been pretty good.

 

FF

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That's a bit of an unfair generalisation about British pneumatic actions - the Willis TP action in Dundalk in Ireland has worked well for years with minimal attention.  I think it is more of a case of the design and construction of the action - risking a generalisation, I'd say that if a TP action is slow there is a good chance that it always was.  Damaged tubing has a lot to answer for too. 

 

I've played some early 20th TP actions (in the style found in German trade consoles of the time - favoured by several organ builders in the British Isles) that were pretty miserable after restoration...

 

The best TP actions seem to soldier on and on...and some of these are British!

 

I am pleased to read this - although the only ones I have played have been in need of some attention. As you say, it no doubt depends on the quality of materials, design and construction. Pierre's point about regular use is interesting, too. I will try to find some other examples to play.

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Go in search for an old pneumatic organ in a remote corner, not often played.

Then play it one hour at least twice a week (and even more if possible), and come

back here to tell us how it worked the first time, and then after two months

of this treatment.

 

Pierre

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Go in search for an old pneumatic organ in a remote corner, not often played.

Then play it one hour at least twice a week (and even more if possible), and come

back here to tell us how it worked the first time, and then after two months

of this treatment.

 

Pierre

 

Thank you, Pierre - if I can find one, I will have a go. Mind you, I usually have enough trouble in finding time to practise on my own church instrument!

 

I wonder if they would let me loose on Bristol regularly....

 

;)

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Fly by wire cars? Would you market one, sorry, I would not buy it since in order to drive a car you need road contact trough the wheel...

BUT you don't need that in a plane.

It *may* be the same with the organ. With some you need a feedback, and with others you do not!

 

 

 

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

 

More or less all motor-vehicles are now "fly by wire", insomuch as the throttle merely opens a valve, and sensors/computer mapping do the rest.

 

Even brakes are now subject to automatic control to a large extent.

 

As for flying, many modern vehicles use "ground effect" which translates as "negative lift"....first used in racing cars designed by the late Brian Luff of Lotus Cars, in the UK.

 

Just in case anyone should consider it possible to have an infinitely variable sensor/servo arrangement for organ-action, I think they might find that it would cost a huge amount of money due to the electro-mechanical precision involved in such components.

 

That said, there MAY be a case for digitally controlled LINEAR motors as a direct electric action arrangement, which could easily mirror finger action by way of transducer-sensors.

 

Of course, using linear motors, one could have the "hover organ"...gently moving around the church during the hymns or even slowly revolving for the final voluntary, before quietly parking itself in a cupboard.

 

The clergy would, of course, require full and immediate override, using global satellite positioning technology and a "kill switch".

 

God help the organist who ends up with a clergymen keen on model-railways!

 

"The organ currently standing at the Staions of the Cross, will shortly be departing at 125mph!"

 

<_<

 

MM

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Of course, using linear motors, one could have the "hover organ"...gently moving around the church during the hymns or even slowly revolving for the final voluntary, before quietly parking itself in a cupboard.

 

The clergy would, of course, require full and immediate override, using global satellite positioning technology and a "kill switch".

 

God help the organist who ends up with a clergymen keen on model-railways!

 

"The organ currently standing at the Staions of the Cross, will shortly be departing at 125mph!"

 

  <_<

 

MM

 

 

There were quite a number of theatre organs which had duplicate console lift controls. Even today at the Odeon, Leicester Square, whilst it isn't possible to send the organist up through the stalls and out into the square, it is perfectly possible to stand at the side of the stage and send the departing musician not only into the pit, but below it... and even close a trap door above his head.

 

I think my wife longs for such a system at home :P

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

Just in case anyone should consider it possible to have an infinitely variable sensor/servo arrangement for organ-action, I think they might find that it would cost a huge amount of money due to the electro-mechanical precision involved in such components.

 

MM

 

I agree that if you’re moving several tons around with pin point accuracy, then the cost of a syncro system is very expensive. The syncros used in model aircraft etc are certainly relatively cheap. But then, as you’re only tracking (pallet end) a max of about 20 mm, stepper motors/solenoids can be used instead. Cheaper yet again.

 

LOOK AT THIS

 

This shows what is available straight off the shelf.

 

<_<

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Guest paul@trinitymusic.karoo.co.uk
I agree that if you’re moving several tons around with pin point accuracy, then the cost of a syncro system is very expensive.  The syncros used in model aircraft etc are certainly relatively cheap.  But then, as you’re only tracking (pallet end) a max of about 20 mm, stepper motors/solenoids can be used instead.  Cheaper yet again.

 

LOOK AT THIS

 

This shows what is available straight off the shelf.

 

<_<

 

 

Dear Phil T,

This looks very interesting - albeit slightly sledge-hammer-to-crack-nut-ish though!

 

I wonder if the same company have thought of producing something along the same lines (but obviously capable of much greater force) to progressively open swell shutters*? A very common problem that is well overdue for a solution.

 

Ages ago an ex-pilot friend of mine said that all we really needed in the trade was a sort of master/slave system, (as often used in aircraft, apparently) but nobody has yet come up with one.

 

If there is something appropriate to *this specific task, I'd love to see it. I came across a Laukhuff electronic shutter-system fairly recently, but it kept failing..... possibly a feature of the installation which was carried out by a company best not referred to here (I hasten to add: not Manders, of course!).

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Dear Phil T,

This looks very interesting - albeit slightly sledge-hammer-to-crack-nut-ish though!

 

I wonder if the same company have thought of producing something along the same lines (but obviously capable of much greater force) to progressively open swell shutters*? A very common problem that is well overdue for a solution.

 

Ages ago an ex-pilot friend of mine said that all we really needed in the trade was a sort of master/slave system, (as often used in aircraft, apparently) but nobody has yet come up with one.

 

If there is something appropriate to *this specific task, I'd love to see it.  I came across a Laukhuff electronic shutter-system fairly recently, but it kept failing..... possibly a feature of the installation which was carried out by a company best not referred to here (I hasten to add: not Manders, of course!).

 

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

 

Well, this is probably quite a simple thing to solve, because power-trains can do much the same thing very reliably, using a variety of technologies.

 

I think if I were to start from scratch, I would use a hydraulic system similar to a brake-servo mechanism, where a depression chamber (or compression chamber) "amplifies" the effort of the pedal.

 

The reliability of such systems is extrordinary, possibly due to the minimal number of moving parts. Obviously, it would have to have a stationary capability rather than simple on/off foot-pressure like a brake, but using a looped hydraulic servo, that should be possible.

 

I know that power hydraulics have been used in America, very successfully, and being hydraulic, it means that the only limitation to length of run is that of fluid-inertia.

 

Another possibility is a pure pneumatic system, which has been used for precision controls on a number of motor-vehicles.

 

Anyone recall the "organ type throttle" on the 1960's Hillman Imp?

 

This was a pneumatic system, but as with all things concerned with these motors, they were a bit unreliable.

 

I can't help but that think of "tracker-action touch control" as complete rubbish. I drive a baroque organ on modest wind-pressure, and God knows, I've experimented with the speed of attack to absolutely no avail. Whatever I do makes not the slightest difference to the speech of the pipes, and I would conclude that it is a purely psychological phenomenon.

 

What tracker action has, is CONSISTENT touch and almost total reliability....you know where you stand, and it isn't usually going to break down.

 

MM

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A consistent touch you can have with a non-tracker. For example

by loading the keys in order to give them some inertia.

Kerkhoff did even better; as his console was a mechanical one,

he made the couplers at that level, mechanically. That way, if

you couple the three manuals at St-Michel Brussels, you must overcome

the three springs. There's a "pluck" feel also.

 

Pierre

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

 

I think if I were to start from scratch, I would use a hydraulic system similar to a brake-servo mechanism, where a depression chamber (or compression chamber) "amplifies" the effort of the pedal.

 

The reliability of such systems is extrordinary, possibly due to the minimal number of moving parts. Obviously, it would have to have a stationary capability rather than simple on/off foot-pressure like a brake, but using a looped hydraulic servo, that should be possible.

 

I know that power hydraulics have been used in America, very successfully, and being hydraulic, it means that the only limitation to length of run is that of fluid-inertia.

 

An even better example in which hydraulics are required to drive a motor (or originally a small reversible steam engine) to amplify a mechanical movement - whilst keeping the movement of the final component exactly in ratio to the movement of the control - is the hydraulic steering telemotor used on ships. Even on my beloved old coastal paddle-steamers such equipment was - once properly adjusted - capable of moving the rudder with such accuracy as to track perfectly a degree-plate display on the bridge in front of the wheel, immaterial of the speed at which the wheel was turned.

 

A friend of mine is experimenting with servo-motor operated screw drives in the hope of saving some space and getting rid of two whiffletrees. The first system he came up with, and which he thought would be fine, would go from open to closed in two seconds. He wasn't too impressed when I told him that organists would often need the shutters to open in a quarter of that time. Pneumatics are more than capable of this, and (as he's a techno-nut) I did rather feel that he was trying to re-invent the wheel!

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I wonder if the same company have thought of producing something along the same lines (but obviously capable of much greater force) to progressively open swell shutters*? A very common problem that is well overdue for a solution.

 

Ages ago an ex-pilot friend of mine said that all we really needed in the trade was a sort of master/slave system, (as often used in aircraft, apparently) but nobody has yet come up with one.

 

 

My own experience of control engineering lies within weapon engineering. It is possible to rotate a gun mount through 360 deg so I’m sure it’s possible to open and close swell shutters. I’m sure the syncros used to achieve this are very similar to that used in the aero industry. I’ve no idea what’s commercially available but I’m sure it’s possible to adapt existing technology for use in an organ.

 

<_<

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