I just received an organ donation… no, not that kind of organ. A young man bought his 1st home, a real fixer upper in Eden, WI. He found a very unique appliance in it basement. The original owner, who will just call “Bob”, now deceased most of 10 years, was something of a jack-of-all-trades. On the property was a large wood shop, ham radio equipment, a fully functioning dark room (for the developing of photographs – the old fashioned way for you too young to remember), and a real live, well, mostly dead, pipe organ!
In late April, my friend Brad Kuschel, (who was the first to hear about this organ through a friend at his work, whose daughter was dating Ben, the person with the unwanted appliance) and I drove up to Eden, just south of Fond du lac, WI to begin removing the organ.
I spoke with Bob’s granddaughter who lived next door, about 500 feet away. She spoke fondly of how her grandfather spent countless hours building his organ. She also described hearing him play it while she played outside in the yard.
A Long Term Project
I have yet to determine the original manufacture. My best guess is that Bob acquired part of a largish church organ sometime in the mid 1970’s. The console speaks to at least a dozen ranks which are not part of the organ. The age of the mostly original wiring will also necessitate a complete rewiring of the console and wind chests. After cutting and labeling of 100’s of small wires, I understand the wisdom of modern connectors and color coded wires! The space I have available for the pipe work will require some creative redesigning to make things fit.
Because I have found very little literature about the details of organ design, wiring, and etc. for a small, home organ, I have come to suspect organ builders keep much of the actual construction details as trade secrets.
I expect it will take me 2 – 3 years to complete the rebuilding and installation. It is a bit overwhelming, but what journey is worthwhile which isn’t intimidating at the beginning.