PipeChat Digest #1700 - Monday, December 11, 2000
water motors
  by <quilisma@earthlink.net>
Concert in Osnabr=FCck Germany
  by "Chris Johns" <Chris_Johns@gmx.de>

(back) Subject: water motors From: <quilisma@earthlink.net> Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2000 23:34:09 -0800   I played old organs in RC churches in the Midwest that still had remnants of their water motors here and there ... one had a large brass crank on the front of the organ case that was connected to a gear-box and a long shaft that went to the basement to open the water valve.   The water motors were invariably IN the basement, with a long shaft going up two or three stories to the handle of the feeder bellows, which was usually located at the back of the organ-case in the back of the organ-gallery. The water-motor piston provided a straight up-and-down stroke which drove the handle which drove the feeders.   What I've NOT been able to discover is how they controlled the SPEED of the piston, much in the same way that someone mentioned the problem of controlling the speed of an electric motor to drive the feeders ... feeder-bellows organs CAN be over-pumped, sometimes with hilarious consequences, if indeed it doesn't do damage to the organ. That's why ALL hand-pumped organs had a "tell-tale" somewhere near the pump handle to tell the pumper when the wind was fully raised. But once turned on, a water-motor would operate at a steady rate. I don't recall any pipe organs of my experience having reed-organ type exhaust valves for excess wind.   I suppose someone could have been stationed at the valve, but in the case I'm thinking of, the valve was on the front of the case (far enough to one side that the ORGANIST couldn't reach it, and that wouldn't have been practical in any case while playing) and the tell-tale was in its usual place at the rear of the case on one side.   Water-motors went out of use for two reasons: first: churches had to start paying for their water (at least in the U.S.); second: in cold climates they often froze in the winter. I don't know if it was possible to use the feeder pump-handle in that case ... I would imagine that the water-motor lever would have had to be disconnected.   There WAS at least once instance where the water was pumped to a large water tank in the bell tower (by what means the sources don't mention) to operate the water-motor below -- the large now-derelict Casavant in Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston. Nor do the sources mention whether the waste-water from the piston was recycled and pumped BACK to the water tank or not.   Steam was used to drive at least one large organ in England ... it was a concert-hall organ, but I don't recall which one offhand.   Early gasoline engines were also commonly used in England, until it was discovered that the fumes were being drawn into the organs and damaging the leather. I presume by that time they were driving rotary fan blowers, rather than feeders.   If I'm not mistaken, the first electric means of raising the wind at Notre Dame in Paris in the 1930s DID operate the feeders, rather than using a rotary fan blower; and I'm SURE I read of some historic organ restoration projects in Europe where that was also done, since the character of the wind raised by a fan blower is subtly different from that raised by feeders. Before somebody flames me for that statement, I have PLAYED organs where the wind can be raised either way, and the difference is audible.   Cheers,   Bud          
(back) Subject: Concert in Osnabr=FCck Germany From: "Chris Johns" <Chris_Johns@gmx.de> Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 10:11:39 +0100   Dear Friends,   Just in case any of you are within shooting distance of Osnabr=FCck this evening, do call in to our concert of Organ Duets, played on your four-manual Breil, 2-manual Mutin-Cavaille-Coll, and 3-rank chamber organ. 8:15pm in Osnabr=FCck Cathedral (and there's a charming Christmas market = just outside)   Best wishes   Chris Johns Musical Assistant, Osnabr=FCck Cathedral Frankenstrasse 5, D-49082 Osnabrueck Tel/Fax +49 (0)541 528 2568 EMail: Chris_Johns@gmx.de ***************************************************************************= * ACHTUNG: 11.12.2000 um 20:15 Uhr im Hohen Dom zu Osnabr=FCck DREI ORGELN IM DUETT mit Dominique Sauer und meiner Wenigkeit H=F6rerbeitrag 12,--DM (8,--DM erm=E4=DFigt) ***************************************************************************= *