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Hi

 

MM - I must have the relevant back number of The Organ in my collection (I guess I'm about 80% of a complete set). I don't know Leslie - I've only been in Bradford for 10 years.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

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

 

 

 

I think Leslie died back in 1967 or so. I'm not sure of the exact date, but he was tragically knocked down by a bus in Bradford and never recovered consciousness. In a world of often strange co-incidences, Leslie used to tell a fascinating story of an unlikely encounter in Coventry when he lived there and worked for GEC.

 

The statistics of chance are stretched to breaking point with this, but Leslie was a member of the committee which sat to discuss proposals for the new organ at Coventry Cathedal, after great objections were lodged about the possibility of yet another Arthur Harrison style instrument being installed in a British cathedral. The committee wanted something new, modern and musically more dynamic; the results of which we are aware.

 

Leslie was waiting for a bus to take him into the centre of Coventry, when a nice car pulled up and the nearside window opened. The gentleman inside simply asked, "Could you possibly tell me how to get to the cathedral?"

 

With characteristic style, Leslie opened the car door, got in and replied, "Certainly Mr Harrison, I think we're going to the same meeting!"

 

Cuthbert Harrison was totally bemused by this and could scarcely believe his good fortune; picking the one person on the outskirts of Coventry who knew who he was, what he was and where he was going. History does not record whether he gave him a lift home afterwards.

 

Meanwhile, on the Compton front, I wonder if Tony knows whether the BIOS archives in Birmingham hold back copies of "The Organ" and also copies of the "Musical Opinion", because this would be the perfect place to locate everything under one roof, if that be the case.

 

However, for the moment, that particular avenue can wait, because it is unlikely to yield much more than opinion and anecdote; the more immediate challenge being in the field of the many technical innovations, as well as discovering, as far as possible, the background to people like Leslie Bourn and certain other members of the Compton staff.

 

We trudge slowly onwards!

 

Best,

 

MM

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I was active on this topic two years ago, but during 2012 I was so fully occupied with other things that I was unable to contribute. I am delighted that MusingMuso is now at work on a draft text of the Compton history, and that so much has been pieced together in recent months thanks to this forum.

I am no more than an amateur organist but I have written and edited a lot of books in other fields, and I remain willing to provide any help I can to move this project ahead.

You might like to contact Mr David Clegg, who only quite recently retired from the general manager's position at Makin Organs, and who worked with John Pilling from 1980 onwards - he must know a lot about him, his situation and his family. He is a very pleasant and helpful man. If there is any residual problem regarding the family links between Samuel and John Pilling I can also have a look in the family history archiving services, with which I have worked several times.

I do not think it is quite correct to say that Compton neglected the "entertainment organ" field when developing its electronic products. Around 1964 I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition in London and there was a large Compton stand. Alongside its small classic electrone model (the CH2) it was also offering a home entertainment variant (the HE2) and the lady deminstrating the instruments was concentrating heavily on the "pop" version. However, this was perhaps a one-off event, and in the entertainment field as a whole Compton was overshadowed by the tremendous sales pressure at the time from firms like Hammond, Lowrey and Wurlitzer. The latter were also able to do a great deal more in the way of bells and whistles with their valve systems (later transistor systems) than Compton, that had for financial reasons simplified its electromechanical sound generation system to the point where it produced only seven octaves of sine waves. This greatly weakened its performance both for classical and entertainment purposes, as compared with that of Leslie Bourne's large generators producing complex soundwaves and fairly rich upperwork.

 

Graham Dukes

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I was active on this topic two years ago, but during 2012 I was so fully occupied with other things that I was unable to contribute. I am delighted that MusingMuso is now at work on a draft text of the Compton history, and that so much has been pieced together in recent months thanks to this forum.

I am no more than an amateur organist but I have written and edited a lot of books in other fields, and I remain willing to provide any help I can to move this project ahead.

You might like to contact Mr David Clegg, who only quite recently retired from the general manager's position at Makin Organs, and who worked with John Pilling from 1980 onwards - he must know a lot about him, his situation and his family. He is a very pleasant and helpful man. If there is any residual problem regarding the family links between Samuel and John Pilling I can also have a look in the family history archiving services, with which I have worked several times.

I do not think it is quite correct to say that Compton neglected the "entertainment organ" field when developing its electronic products. Around 1964 I went to the Ideal Home Exhibition in London and there was a large Compton stand. Alongside its small classic electrone model (the CH2) it was also offering a home entertainment variant (the HE2) and the lady deminstrating the instruments was concentrating heavily on the "pop" version. However, this was perhaps a one-off event, and in the entertainment field as a whole Compton was overshadowed by the tremendous sales pressure at the time from firms like Hammond, Lowrey and Wurlitzer. The latter were also able to do a great deal more in the way of bells and whistles with their valve systems (later transistor systems) than Compton, that had for financial reasons simplified its electromechanical sound generation system to the point where it produced only seven octaves of sine waves. This greatly weakened its performance both for classical and entertainment purposes, as compared with that of Leslie Bourne's large generators producing complex soundwaves and fairly rich upperwork.

 

Graham Dukes

 

 

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

 

Dr.Graham, how wonderful to hear further from you.

 

As you will perceive from recent and not so recent posts, information has been coming in thick and fast, but there remain mysteries and distinct blind spots which, although not absolutely pivotal to the story, would be good to include for the sake of readability.

 

Thank you for your suggestion of contacting David Clegg, whom I didn't realise was still active. That could be a valuable source of information re: the latter years and John Makin Pilling's involvement.

 

For reasons already explained, the name of S W Pilling is a great problem. There are times when even circumstantial evidence is so compelling, it just has to amount to something. To-day, I discovered a slightly vague but reliable reference to a Corn Mill in Mirfield, which was owned by S W Pilling, which is additional to a company in Manchester by the title of S W Pilling & Co., of which I can discover absolutely nothing thus far. However, if we consider the fact that Bibby plc, were very much into foodstuffs and grain, as well as other things such as paper production, we have even furher circumstantial evidence to link Messrs Pilling & Pilling and the J Bibby group. If it turns out that there is no connection whatsoever, I would be very surprised indeed. S W Pilling was certainly ex-Bolton, moved to Mirfield and ended up in Welton Hall, nr.Brough, and he must have been a very good organist, for not only did he play at the local parish church, he gave many recitals on new and re-built organs.

 

As I stated previously, I find it absolutely incredible that John Makin Pilling is not mentioned anywhere, other than his association with Compton-Makin and his directorship of the same as well as that of the Bradford Computing Organ Co. It looks as if he may have been born in Haslingden, (where there is a huge Willis 3 instrument in quite a modest parish church), and that makes him a local boy in the Rawtenstall/Bury/Accrington area. Bury was famous for paper making, but try as I may, I just cannot link anything together in spite of searching through trade directories, company information and even various on-line registers. The only thing I have discovered for certain, is that he ended his days in a large farmhouse near Carnforth, Lancs., not a million miles away from Lancaster and the Priory. Even the Pilling Trust does not mention much about the man behind the organisation.

 

Another curious thing I discovered, is the fact that Compton briefly had a representative on the Isle of Man. Additionally, a Compton man emigrated to Australia, and built very similar instruments to those of Compton for quite some time. There is a curious Compton family connection with Australia, because it appears that John Compton (Snr) had originated in Nottinghamshire, then went to Australia where he lived with his second wife. She died quite young, and Compton (Snr) returned to Nottinghamshire and the family shop in Newton Burgoland. It was then that he met and married Mary Heywood; John H Compton the offspring of that rather late union. I suspect, but cannot know for certain, that John Compton (Snr) followed the gold-rush to Australia, which turned out badly for many; the housing and over-crowding quite appalling, with disease quite rife.

 

If you look back through the posts on the Discussion Board, I think you will appreciate that a LOT has been achieved on the technical front, as well as certain fascinating details about those connected with Compton. The RADAR work remains a mystery as yet, but the military sources may yield things of interest.

 

So overall, I'm very pleased that progress is going well, with the occasional cul-de-sac, which can be quite frustrating and time-consuming.

 

Your observations about the Ideal Home Exhibition add to the sum of knowledge, and I suspect that accountancy had crept into the Compton equation after the death of Jimmy Taylor. I further suspect that they had little chance of competing with the likes of Lowrey, Hammond and Wurlitzer; even the latter falling by the wayside after an incredible 350 or so years of trading, covering the German baroque period and the era of Bach, right through to the Tonawanda organ-factory in America. I suspect that few could compete with the Yamaha brand when it started to appear; further market pressures coming from Technics (Japan) and Wersi in Germany. The home organ trade was massive across the world, but Compton just didn't have the necessary financial clout, I suspect.

 

I am now on page 10 of writing, which may seem a little slow, but actually, setting the foundation of the late romantic/orchestral organ, explaining the reason for that, and referring to a large number of other sources, has made this initial section quite a slow plod. Once that is out of the way, progress should speed up as we get to the more technical aspects and the actual art of organ-building.

 

If you would like to have a stab at the Pilling family tree, I would be very grateful.

 

Finally, as a Rolls-Royce man, did you know that Royce made electrical things in Manchester for Robert Hope-Jones?

 

Best,

 

MM (Colin)

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

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, on the Compton front, I wonder if Tony knows whether the BIOS archives in Birmingham hold back copies of "The Organ" and also copies of the "Musical Opinion", because this would be the perfect place to locate everything under one roof, if that be the case.

 

 

 

MM

 

Hi

 

I guess the BIOS archive might have a set of "The Organ", etc, but I'm not sure. The main focus seems to be on primary sources, and there's the ever-present issue of space. The RCO library (also in Birmingham) does have a set of The Organ, and I think, Musical Opinion. Cambridge University Library have both, and I guess other significant university libraries would also have them - and there's always the British Library. You'd have to check about access to these though. The local library service should be able to help with the BL - although last time I enquired, Bradford Libraries wanted an extortionate fee, so I didn't bother. RCO library is basically RCO members only.

 

I'm only just down the road if you want to have a go at my back numbers of "the Organ" |(and I have a scanner), but I've no complete index, so it could be a bit of a hunt!

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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MM/Colin,

 

Thanks for your quick reply. Even ten pages of Compton history is further than anyone else has ever got!

 

Just briefly:

a. I didn't know that Henry Royce had made items for Robert Hope-Jones, and that doesn't seem to be mentioned in any of the Royce biographies. Henry tried lots of things in his days as a an electrical manufacturer, ranging from overhead cranes to domestic doorbells, so I'm not surprised that he tried organ components as well.

b.I will have a go at the Pilling family history later this week and see how far I get.

c. You are certainly right that Compton didn't have the clout to compete in the electronic field with the likes of Yamaha. They didn't have the financial resources nor the marketing insight to do it. That was my conclusion after talking twice to Alan Lord in the mid-sixties when he sold me a modified CH2 and I introduced him to Eminent in Holland; Compton and Eminent agreed to represent each other but it had little effect. I had the same impression of deficient marketing insight when I met Colonel Peathy-Johns whose firm (EPTA Electronics) bought John Compton after it gone into receivership and re-established it as Compton Organs Ltd. Their main interest was to use part of the Compton factory to manufacture EPTA products, and electronic organ manufacture was rather pushed aside. Within no time, Compton Organs Ltd had gone into receivership as well, and the name was sold to Compton-Makin on the one hand and Compton-Edwards on the other. Successive advertisements in Musical Opinion tell the story.

I'll get back to you when I have some news.

All the best,

Graham Dukes

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MM/Colin,

 

I didn't know that Henry Royce had made items for Robert Hope-Jones, and that doesn't seem to be mentioned in any of the Royce biographies. Henry tried lots of things in his days as a an electrical manufacturer, ranging from overhead cranes to domestic doorbells, so I'm not surprised that he tried organ components as well.

 

 

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

 

 

 

The following gives brief details-

 

http://www.manchester2002-uk.com/celebs/engineers4.html

 

 

Somewhere, there is a research paper which gives the full details, of which I have a file, but I'm not sure about the link to it.

 

Best,

 

MM

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

 

 

 

The following gives brief details-

 

http://www.mancheste...engineers4.html

 

 

Somewhere, there is a research paper which gives the full details, of which I have a file, but I'm not sure about the link to it.

 

Best,

 

MM

 

 

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

 

 

Since writing the above, I've found the source of the full article, which makes for fascinating reading.

 

http://www.ltot.org.uk/slpdh.pdf

 

Best,

 

MM

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A very intersting piece of work, as you say, and revealing valuable background information about H-J, but I'm a little bit wary of putting too much faith in everything it contains. There are a number of surprising inaccuracies apparent even at a quick glance....

 

It is misleading to state that the Adlington Hall organ was built "sometime just after 1500", a phrase which suggests that the instrument is more than 100 years older than it can possibly be.

 

I also find it misleading to claim that either of the Burton-on-Trent organs was "most definitely a theatre organ in all but name" on the grounds that the design of the stop-keys foreshadowed those used by Wurlitzer. The tonal schemes were still vintage H-J with no extension. The article gives the impression that the St. Modwen organ was the first "commercial" H-J organ, but closer reading reveals that it is the St. Paul's organ to which this comment refers.

 

Incidentally, Wurlitzer built a number of "Hope-Jones Unit Organ" for churches in North America, including one Canadian cathedral (not mine - it was H-J and Ingram and built in England).

 

Did H-J actually 'rebuild' the organ at St. Luke's, Tranmere? It looks as though he may only have done minor work to it and certainly not made significant tonal changes. I don't think one can call it the first Hope-Jones Organ, although it is important for its early connection with him. Birkenhead was much more representative.

 

"It had been generally thought that Hope-Jones didn't invent his Tibia until after he emigrated to America in 1903, however evidence has now come to light to show that this was not so." Grammar apart, this is very misleading. Many British-made H-J organs had Tibias (mine has). Is the author suggesting that H-J evolved a completely new design of Tibia after he moved to the USA? Didn't H-J use the term 'Tibia Clausa' more often than 'Tibia Dura'? (John Compton wrote of his own version of the Tibia Clausa, evolved early in his career). I don't find the author's translatins of 'Dura' and 'Plena' to be the best in the circumstances, and 'Tibia' is a bone, not a whistle (or was the bone so-called because someone thought it looked like a whistle??).

 

One of the Joule family was a keen and gifted organist and paid for large four-manual organs at two churches where he 'presided'.

 

Did H-J really give advice, in person to Compton and all those other firms? I know a lot of them used his patents, but did they actually have personal dealings with him?

 

H-J certainly had his supporters among musicians - Sir Percy Buck being one of the most influential - as well as rich patrons among the 'beerage', but so did T.C. Lewis, to name but one.

 

I don't think H-J left England because prominent organ builders accused him of being an amateur, but because he was caught by Ingram 'in flagrante' with an apprentice and did not wish to share the same fate as Oscar Wilde. His parting with Ingram was certainly precipitate and acrimonious. En route, he turned up here in St. John's, much to the Cathedral Vestry's surprise, offering to provide an organ by Austin which he said would be superior to that which Ingram had almost completed back in England. After consulting Sir Percy Buck, the Vestry decided to stay with Ingram, so ours is the last of H-J's English organs.

 

I'm dubious about the 'sabotage' tales. H-J's English organs were mechanically quite normal apart from the electric action and it was aspects of the latter which gave trouble - hardly surprising with such cutting-edge technology. Our organ here in St. John's was installed in 1904 and gave trouble from the start. Part of this was due to the effects of North American steam-heating systems on slider soundboards made from timber dried the English way. However, in 1907, a representative from Norman & Beard presented a report which said that the action was gernerally good, such minor deficiencies as there were being easily rectifiable, but the coupling action needed complete redesign. It certainly seems to be true that rumours circulated about electric actions being a fire hazard (not helped when Compton's Selby Abbey organ caught fire and took most of the building with it).

 

There is so much useful information in the article that one feels bad to criticise, but some of the statements lead one to wonder what is fact and what is conjecture.

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Dear David

 

This is all very interesting - one correction though. As far as my research indicates, there was a later HJ/Ingram organ made - that is at St Oswalds church in Hartlepool, Northern England. It's still there too, although has been unplayable for many years. Presumably it was designed by HJ before he left the UK, but not completed and installed until 1905.

 

I have been undertaking much research on HJ lately, particularly in relation to his time and associations with Norman & Beard. I'm very keen to learn more too. As this is off topic for this thread, perhaps you could write to me personally with details of your HJ organ. Many thanks.

 

Peter

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and by the way, HJ did invent Tibias way before emigrating. Battersea Town hall HJ had a Tibia Plena and Profunda when built in 1901. Worcester cathedral HJ organ (1896) had a Tibia Clausa and Tibia Profunda.

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First things first gentlemen, please keep this in the Compton basket, because a lot of this is highly relevant to Compton’s work and development.

 

Apart from the obvious mistake concerning the organ at Adlington Hall, (restored of course by Noel Mander), I don’t think I know enough about the early years of Hope-Jones or his travels to answer some of the earlier points. However, the Tibia was very definitely developed in England, and it was not a solo effort. The Tibia experiments took place at the Norman & Beard works when they were in Norfolk, and around this time H-J was working closely with them. Indeed, N & B took over the “interests” of the H-J company, which really means that they copied his electro-pneumatic actions, (but simplified them) and finished off some of the outstanding contracts. (Battersea Town Hall is one of the ones completed by N & B.)

 

One of the Joule family was indeed a fine organist and quite wealthy. (They were a brewing family).

 

The amusing story is that his brother,( the scientist), was forever “experimenting” on the domestic servants; giving them electric shocks a recording the results. (So much for health & safety....DC current in those days!)

 

The organist Joule was very interested in French organs, and the large four (five?) manual organ for St Peter’s, Old Trafford was way ahead of its time. That organ got broken up, with parts going elsewhere, but I’ve recently come across a web-site which suggests that it is, or was going to be re-assembled from recovered pipes and parts. It was certainly a very significant instrument in its day. The specification of the St Peter’s organ is on the NPOR list.

 

Did H-J know Compton and advise him?

 

What we do know is that H-J’s brother, the horologist, was forever causing a nuisance of himself at the Compton works. (I’m not sure which “works” this might have been). The same man helped his brother build organs when he wasn’t making clocks, so does establish a link of sorts. In fact, I’m currently trying to discover whether H-J was in direct contact with Compton during his early years, but considering the fact that H-J left for America just as Compton had set up in business with Musson, (as Musson & Compton) in 1902, I have my doubts. However, if we consider the fact that Burton-on-Trent is only just up the road from Measham in Nottinghamshire, nothing is impossible, but I would have to cross-refer dates etc. (It’s amazing how they got around in those days).

 

The name Tibia probably derives from the fact that in ancient history, the large Tibia bone of animals were often hollowed out to form a big “flute” of sorts, and I seem to recall asking my late mother which end she blew into when she was young! (I was only 5 at the time). Don’t forget, Compton and Hope-Jones would have been educated in the “Classics” at school, including Latin. Ancient history was also very popular at the time, as the Natural History Museum demonstrates. So the term Tibia is not at all surprising.

 

With regard to sponsors and wealthy backers, Hop-Jones had on his side a certain Mr Clemens, better known to you and me as Mark Twain, the author. (I’ve been in his house over on the East coast of America, and lovely it is too). I suspect that it is no co-incidence that Mark Twain had a telephone in every room, and was a friend of Alexander Graham Bell.

 

Another sponsor was Mr J Martin White, the wealthy politician who lived at Dunedin House, (?) where a large H-J instrument was installed. Not only that, he also became a sponsor, (possibly a major shareholder) of the John Compton company, but the lack of company records makes that an almost impossible search. (I wonder if J Martin White didn’t abandon H-J after the scandal, and switch to Compton?)

 

Now with regard to electro-pneumatic actions, everything Hope-Jones did was very sound; his experience in telephone engineering being at a very senior level. The man was no fool, but before I make a complete idiot of myself, I think I would have to pay a visit to the Hope-Jones museum in Manchester to get a bit of firsthand knowledge. Certainly, Dr Colin Pykett speaks very highly of Hope-Jones electrical-engineering skills. However, I believe many of the early “problems” had to do with re-chargeable accumulators, which people didn’t properly understand. I don’t yet know enough about it, but I wonder how the electricity for the action was generated or stored at St John’s cathedral? After the use of accumulators, there were dynamos when the organ was driven by a steam or electric motors. Without knowing the exact details of the action, it is impossible to comment.

 

It’s interesting that N & B thought the action generally good, but the coupling mechanism in need of renewal. Was this because they used a simplified version of the H-J’s patents, I wonder? I would have thought that the original would have had electro-pneumatic relays rather than purely electric ones, with a wind-supply to the console. Fire risk, you say? Well, I wouldn’t have been too confident with cotton-covered wires gathered together in cable runs, even operating on relatively low voltage. I once shorted out a car battery and almost set the house on fire....sparks and globs of molten metal everywhere. It was the day I first appreciated the fact that amperage is far more damaging than voltage. However, H-J knew all about cables and electricity; of that we can be certain. I suspect that a lot of the rumours and scaremongering came from those dyed in the wool pneumatic-action traditionalists, who didn’t know or want to know about electricity.

 

I wouldn’t be too hard on Don Hyde, because he is one of those who have put together the Hope Jones Museum in Manchester. Perhaps the sources of information have misled, but I suspect that the bulk of the information centered around Manchester/Liverpool (connected by rail and the ship canal a long time ago) is probably very reliable....they have very good industrial archives in Manchester and Liverpool.

 

Best,

 

MM

 

 

PS: Tibia Clausa at Ambleside PC, H-J 1898. (Also a Diaphone and Tuba on 16" wind)

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Just an additional thought about the development of the Tibia and the Norman & Beard connection. Mr Beard was actually a director of the Hope-Jones company, and effectively took control of both the Diss factory and the London factory (ex-Wm Hill?). When the H-J company collapsed, (I think this was the Electric Organ Company....don't quote me on this because I haven't checked), Beard took over the interests, (including the patents), which they had used under licence prior to this. Thus, H,N & B as they were to become, (including the Christie name), had a ready made electro-mechanical action to use, which was very useful when they came to make unit extension organs.

 

So the links were very strong, and although I can't put my finger on the disc where the information is stored, I do know that Hope-Jones did many of his early tonal experiments at the N & B works; presumably in Diss. I know that this included some or all of the Tibia types, which were quite varied. The Tibia we normally think of is the BIG scale gedackt with leathered lips, but there were others, including one Tibia with outwardly tapering bodies; being narrower at the base than at the top of the pipe. There are some interesting drawings of Tibias in the "Dictionary of organ stops" (pp.150-156) by Wedgwood, which also includes the Tibia Mollis type by John Compton, made of metal and with tiny little mouths.

 

 

Of course, the next intriguing question is whether John Compton developed his own electric-pneumatic actions simply by copying what H-J and N & B did, or whether he actually paid royalties for the privilege. Although not yet verified, (and possibly never will be), there is the suggestion that Compton obtained reeds from H,N & B, which suggests a working relationship between the two companies.

 

Best,

 

MM

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Compton's pneumatic actions (certainly from the early thirties onwards, and probably from the 20s) were not the same as HJ at all. All earlier unit chests I've ever seen used what I believe was his own derivation of a Roosevelt type unit chest, with magnets exhausting single pneumatics which directly operated disc pallet valves. Not the fastest of designs but it worked, although from about the mid thirties (I think) he used his own compound magnets on the bottom two octaves of the manual chests, thus improving the speed of the lower notes..

 

HJ used double pneumatics (primary & secondary) throughout as far as I know - his slider chests I've seen having box motors operating primary disk pallets and secondary hinged pallets. Some of his (or at least N&B's) unit chests had disk pallets for the secondary. Anyway HJ, Wurlitzer and N&B/HNB/Christie all had double pneumatics throughout I believe.

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MM - You are bound to get some digressions along the way in the pursuit of your objective. The reference to brewer John Joule is of interest as they once made a tasty glass of nectar in their brewery in the small town, Stone, near to where I live. Not that I have ever sought information relating to Joule's prowess as an organist in the town at any of the local churches, but It's interesting to me that when the Joule's business was initially sold out it was bought by the Harding family from Liverpool. The Harding's were no strangers to the world of good music and I believe there is still in this part of Staffordshire a charity of that name that supports local musical concerts. I was once a guest of the late Michael Harding at his Stone residence where he possessed a magnificent rosewood Steinway concert grand. He was a wonderful pianist and I believe he was a useful organist.

 

Pipework from the Jardine organ from the former St Peter's Church, Manchester, is also something I have come across. I'm not sure if your researches have pointed you in the direction of St Katherine's, Lincoln, an Anglican breakaway church run by an Ian Gray who acquired the organ upon its demise. When I last spoke to Ian Gray almost 20 years ago it was his intention to have the organ rebuilt in St Katherine's.

 

I realise this information is probably yet more digression from your project and I trust you will forgive me.

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Compton's pneumatic actions (certainly from the early thirties onwards, and probably from the 20s) were not the same as HJ at all. All earlier unit chests I've ever seen used what I believe was his own derivation of a Roosevelt type unit chest, with magnets exhausting single pneumatics which directly operated disc pallet valves. Not the fastest of designs but it worked, although from about the mid thirties (I think) he used his own compound magnets on the bottom two octaves of the manual chests, thus improving the speed of the lower notes..

 

HJ used double pneumatics (primary & secondary) throughout as far as I know - his slider chests I've seen having box motors operating primary disk pallets and secondary hinged pallets. Some of his (or at least N&B's) unit chests had disk pallets for the secondary. Anyway HJ, Wurlitzer and N&B/HNB/Christie all had double pneumatics throughout I believe.

 

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

 

 

All this is really for much later when I get down to specific details. I've never actually seena Compton chest open. However, your comment made me immediately think back to what Brindley & Foster were doing with their sliderless chests. I can't just go to the drawing I saw because I can't exactly remember where I saw it among the material I have. However, that seemed to operate in exactly the same way....a single pull to a disc valve from a single puff motor; obviously exhausted by pneumatics.

 

I think what I had in mind re:- the actions and HJ, was the electrical side of things rather than the actual chests. (It would help if I was more specific!)

 

The big difference seems to be in the use of electric relays and electric tab action (on the horseshoe consoles of course), without the pneumatics used by H-J.

 

Once I see things close-up and personal, it will all make perfect sense to me, but in many ways that should be the easy part when I get around to it.

 

I'll see if I can find the Brindley diagram, and you can compare.

 

Best,

 

MM

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MM - You are bound to get some digressions along the way in the pursuit of your objective. The reference to brewer John Joule is of interest as they once made a tasty glass of nectar in their brewery in the small town, Stone, near to where I live. Not that I have ever sought information relating to Joule's prowess as an organist in the town at any of the local churches, but It's interesting to me that when the Joule's business was initially sold out it was bought by the Harding family from Liverpool. The Harding's were no strangers to the world of good music and I believe there is still in this part of Staffordshire a charity of that name that supports local musical concerts. I was once a guest of the late Michael Harding at his Stone residence where he possessed a magnificent rosewood Steinway concert grand. He was a wonderful pianist and I believe he was a useful organist.

 

Pipework from the Jardine organ from the former St Peter's Church, Manchester, is also something I have come across. I'm not sure if your researches have pointed you in the direction of St Katherine's, Lincoln, an Anglican breakaway church run by an Ian Gray who acquired the organ upon its demise. When I last spoke to Ian Gray almost 20 years ago it was his intention to have the organ rebuilt in St Katherine's.

 

I realise this information is probably yet more digression from your project and I trust you will forgive me.

 

 

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

 

I've never heard of the Harding name in brewing circles, in spite of working in the industry for a while.

 

You're quite right about the organ for Lincoln, if this project has actually gone anywhere. I note the date is 2009 on the website.

 

http://www.organbuil...ebpage=projects

 

 

I didn't know that St Peter's, Trafford, was the 4th largest organ in the country when it was built.

 

Diversions or not, some of the things I have come across in the course of the Compton re-search make for fascinating, sometimes disturbing and sometimes utterly bizarre reading.

 

One comment which caused a giggle was the assertion that Mixtures had been invented as means of controlling Lutheran congregations, because the Diapasons (sic) lacked harmonic development. :blink:

 

Some of the things said and written at the start of the 20th century almost beggar belief, but in some ways, it puts John Compton into sharp relief, because he was way ahead of them in almost all respects.

 

Diversions are therefore useful, because they take you into areas previously unknown, and act like a drip-feeds for the period. I didn't know until yesterday that Charles Brindley started his working life installing bell-pulls, (cable operated), in large houses, which makes any comment of him rather more interesting.

 

Did you know that in 1876, Compton's birth year, the first operational telephone was put to use?

 

Do you know that the year of Compton's death was the year the first Sputnik orbited the earth?

 

That's technological progress at the gallop!

 

Best,

 

MM

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Sorry, yes true to say that Compton went down the EP route for soundboards, as HJ did, but persisted with solenoid stop actions and relays. He did venture briefly into pneumatic note actions for relays, and a couple still survive - absolute works of art!

 

Peter

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This is ringing a vague bell in the back of my skull and there did not seem to be any reference to it in the topic thread. Was this during WWII when John Compton was held in Italy as an enemy national or something? There was an article(s) in the Organ World section of the Musical Opinion written by an English organbuilder who was paroled to an Italian village during the war. He spent his 'spare' time repairing the pipe organ in the local church in time for their Christmas Day Mass, (or it could have been Easter).

 

Found it! Musical Opinion June and August 1943. Tales of the Sangro Valley - John Compton.

(If you don't have it PM me, and I could send you images of the relevant pages.)

 

CTT

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MM

 

Have you come across St Lukes Cradley Heath?

 

Its a large 3 manual extension organ, but sadly most of it doesnt work. Jack Ivey who worked for Comptons told me the history of this organ.

 

Comptons were building a new organ for the church which was destroyed when their factory was bombed, they did however manage to provide a Cinema organ duly voiced to fit the church. It was too large for the bulding but made a lovely sound in either guise!!!

 

I wish Jack was still alive to help you more, his knowledge was immense.

 

Best wishes

 

Barrie

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MM

 

Have you come across St Lukes Cradley Heath?

 

Its a large 3 manual extension organ, but sadly most of it doesnt work. Jack Ivey who worked for Comptons told me the history of this organ.

 

Comptons were building a new organ for the church which was destroyed when their factory was bombed, they did however manage to provide a Cinema organ duly voiced to fit the church. It was too large for the bulding but made a lovely sound in either guise!!!

 

I wish Jack was still alive to help you more, his knowledge was immense.

 

Best wishes

 

Barrie

 

 

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

 

I have certainly heard of this instrument, and I believe they used to have light music concerts there some years ago.

 

I wonder if it is one of those organs which were starting to be removed from cinemas, and which often ended up back at the factory? I suspect that this is the likely explanation.

 

Your mention of the bombing of the factory is relevant, because I have yet to discover the date for definite, but I believe it was in October, 1940. There is no specific mention of damage to Compton's in the RAF bombing raid reports, which usually gave exact details of damage to business premises. Top secret RADAR work was perhaps the reason, and rather case sensitive, as they say..

 

I wish I could get some feedback on the radar work, which I suspect was the HS2O development going on at Farnborough around this time.

 

Best,

 

MM

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Good evening all

 

Interesting link here - perhaps you have already seen it : http://www.allhallow....org.uk/?p=1753

 

 

R

 

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

 

 

I have come across this, but many thanks for drawing attention to it. Every bit helps, but sometimes the cul-de-sacs provide an amusing diversion. To-day I wanted to know a little more about James I Wedgwood, the author of the "Dictionary of organ stops" circa 1900, who was a champion of Robert Hope-Jones and must have known Compton due to the fact that he studied at Nottingham University.

 

What I discovered was not quite what I expected! :wacko:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._I._Wedgwood

 

 

Best,

 

MM

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Found it! Musical Opinion June and August 1943. Tales of the Sangro Valley - John Compton.

(If you don't have it PM me, and I could send you images of the relevant pages.)

 

CTT

 

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

 

 

Thank you for sending the scans. I've learned something, for it seems that JHC was in Italy rather longer than I had previously suspected. It's a rather lovely account in fact, and he seemed to be very happy there.

 

Best,

 

MM

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Now here is an interesting question, which I throw open to all, perhaps in the hope that someone may know the answer.

 

Who built the first Unit or Extension Organ and when? (ie: a whole organ derived from just a few ranks, rather than bits of extension on the pedals or grooved basses etc)

 

Fair warning, but this isn't an easy one to answer, and I'm a bit surprised at what I suspect I may have discovered.

 

Good luck!

 

Best,

 

MM

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Lewis & Co. experimented with a form of extension just before WWI, but in only two instruments that I know of. In both instances, the same "expert" was involved. One of these churches had, incidentally, received a quotation from Hope-Jones some years before.

 

I couldn't be certain that these, by any means, were the earliest examples though!

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