PipeChat Digest #1308 - Friday, March 17, 2000
Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period
  by "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net>
Kilgen and other builders of the period
  by "Richard Schneider, President" <arpncorn@davesworld.net>
Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period
  by "VEAGUE" <dutchorgan@svs.net>
Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period
  by <TheOrganst@aol.com>
Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period
  by <Quilisma@socal.rr.com>
Fwd:Change of addresses - "Theatre Organ Time" - Homepage and email
  by "David Scribner" <david@blackiris.com>
Re: Robertson Screws (Was: Organ Hardware)
  by "Nelson And Tracy Denton" <ndenton@cgocable.net>
Pipework for Kilgens
  by "Judy A. Ollikkala" <71431.2534@compuserve.com>

(back) Subject: Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period From: "Bob Scarborough" <desertbob@rglobal.net> Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 02:17:53   At 05:00 AM 3/15/2000 EST, ScottFopp wrote:   >I have also heard some very fine Moller and Wicks organs. What about the= =20 >Whitelegg instruments? What about the Willis Wicks?<snippage>I know many, many organists who=20 >will attest to the overwhelmingly beautiful sound of a Whitelegg Moller.<snip>   Certainly, M=F6ller was more than capable of producing fine instruments of any size, but they didn't do so consistantly. The Whitelegg stuff was some of their best, no doubt, and are beatiful organs. Wicks always gets a bum rap for DE action (undeservedly so, IMHO) and generally give a customer their money's worth. I've played some small and mid-size Wickses that were superior to some E.M.Skinners. Thier DE action is blamed for everything from "coughing" flutes to global warming, and it's just another falacy in a falacy-ridden business.   >True again. The Shrine Kilgen has 7 different ranks of 8' manual=20 >Diapasons, and each one is uniquely different and has its own distinct=20 >quality and timbre.<snipping Budgie's comment about "foghorn diapasons">   Kilgen's "phonons" were some of the worst made anywhere...loud, non-blending harmonic development slighly greater than a tibia, slow honky speech...and they got worse as time passed and the leathered lip hardened! But, I think they were pretty much gone after the early '30s, after the anti-Hope-Jones movement started by GDH got underway, and things got somewhat back to normal...whatever *that* is. =20 >They don't have to be. The very first Kilgen I ever played was, I believe,= =20 >one of the "ensemble" organs. I don't recall whether it was a Petite=20 >Ensemble or a Harmonic Ensemble but it was (is) in the little Episcopal Church > in Collierville, Tennessee   A list member in LA has a Petite Ensemble in his home, and I found it to be rather delightful sounding! I've also heard very nice Artistes in homes and small auditoria. Good and bad came out of every shop, to be certain...M=F6ller and Kilgen could build great organs, and Ernie Skinner could build some real dreck (San Francisco's Palace of the Legion of Honor comes to mind...honky, tubby, muffled). You have to go opus by opus...there are nice surprises here and there. Of course, there *are* Kilgen and M=F6ller unit organs that an old tube Allen could run rings around, also.   DeserTBoB    
(back) Subject: Kilgen and other builders of the period From: "Richard Schneider, President" <arpncorn@davesworld.net> Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 05:59:44 -0600   On Wed, 15 Mar 2000 05:00:44 EST, Quilisma@socal.rr.com, wrote to the esteemed list:   > I've never played a Kilgen organ I didn't like ...   <Snip>   > even a little 4-rank jobbie in St. Leo's on the North > Side ... of course, with acoustics like that, a sewer pipe would have > sounded like a Skinner.   I used to take care of the 1950 Kilgen of 9 unit ranks in my former home church in Mt. Pulaski, IL, about 137 miles from St. Louis. Please understand that Mt. Pulaski is really "off the beaten path", in terms of the organ culture, but I can tell you that I think the company out-did themselves in terms of the quality of this instrument. Very solidly constructed, reasonably well laid-out and, with the exception of the notorious contact assemblies they built, which were basically unserviceable, it just kept going.   In 1988, we attended to that troublesome relay system by installing a new Peterson diode-matrix system, as well as a single level Combination Action to replace the mechanical "Tripper" system the organ used to have. There has been no trouble with it ever since.   In fact: we were anticipating re-leathering the windchests due to the age of the leather, but when we got inside, we found the leather to be like new. So instead we elected to treat it with silicone leather conditioner, put it back together and it's still doing just fine, thank you very much.   Scott Foppiano then comments:   > Every single reference here is true ten times over in the Shrine's = Kilgen > organ, I am very proud to say. Let's be honest- every builder had bad = days > and built organs that were less that exciting.   And it may not always be the builder's fault. I remember one installation, (OPUS 7679, so it was one of the last ones they did in the late 50's before going out of business) where the console was in the Balcony and the pipes were in chambers in the chancel, about 150' away on the opposite end of the church. We used to joke that one could play the prelude, go out and have a smoke and then come back into the church in time to hear the Prelude! Moreover, someone along the line decided to remove the Static Reservoir in the Boiler Room (the leather on it had dried out due to the excess heat and the technician was "too lazy to re-leather it and instead inserted a piece of solid wind line!) so the wind was as shaky as all get out, since it had to travel from the Boiler room over the Kitchen, the Men's and Ladies' john and the Sacristy and Vestry before it got to the Swell. Then it had to travel around BEHIND the Altar to get to the Great on the opposite side. When one would play chords, the wind in the organ would "shudder" erratically, whenever a burst of wind got from the blower to the Swell Reservoir as a demand was being made on it!   This organ was a pretty dismal failure, but I think several factors were at work here which worked against the installation:   1) The church decided at the last minute to install a pipe organ. They were going to get an electronic, until they heard one and had only left space for speakers!   2) The organ suffered interminably due to inferior maintenance, since this was a Slovak congregation, which was known to be anal-retentive when it came to spending money. (I can say this because my family had relatives in this church!)   3) Kilgen was "trying to save their butts" at that point, and would do anything anyone wanted just to stay in business. They even sold a Canvas Wind Socks and assigned an Opus numbers to the sale, for goodness sake!   Besides the obvious era when Scott's organ was constructed, I think another "acme" point for the Kilgen company was the late 1940's through the 1950's, if what I have seen in my work is any indication.   -- Faithfully,   "Arp in the Corn Patch" Richard Schneider SCHNEIDER PIPE ORGANS, Inc. Organbuilders 41-43 Johnston St. P. O. Box 137 Kenney, IL 61749-0137 (217) 944-2454 VOX (217) 944-2527 FAX arp@schneiderpipeorgans.com Business EMAIL rnjs@family-net.net Personal EMAIL http://www.schneiderpipeorgans.com Web Page URL  
(back) Subject: Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period From: "VEAGUE" <dutchorgan@svs.net> Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 07:52:31 -0500   I'm sure even WurliTzer built some bloopers in their time!   Rick        
(back) Subject: Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period From: <TheOrganst@aol.com> Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 12:17:31 EST   Speaking as an owner of a Kilgen Petite Ensemble, I find the organ a = delight to play and also to work on. I've had to move it several times and it is = easy to take apart and reassemble. The action is very fast and reliable and was =   very easy to get at for releathering. The voicing of the ranks was done = well and I've had to do very little to keep the organ up and running. The only drawback is the pedal 16" Rankett. I wish it could be made louder and = fuller but I've had no success. Yet!   Kyle B. Irwin Organist - Curator Visit my web site - <A HREF=3D"http://members.aol.com/theorganst/Page1.html#Roosevelt Memorial = Park">Ro osevelt Memorial Park (Page 1)</A>  
(back) Subject: Re: Kilgen and other builders of the period From: <Quilisma@socal.rr.com> Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 10:06:13 -0800       Bob Scarborough wrote:   > Ernie Skinner > could build some real dreck (San Francisco's Palace of the Legion of = Honor > comes to mind...honky, tubby, muffled).   Not his fault, at least not totally ... the organ was supposed to be = concealed by some kind of cloth (canvas?) to simulate stone or some such nonsense = ... over time it got repainted and repainted and became more and more acoustically opaque. I think the recent rebuild addressed the problem, but I haven't = heard it.   But, in justice, E.M. WOULD install an organ just about ANYWHERE ... I've = heard of installations where the Choir organ was dead-center UNDER the chancel, = and spoke into the choir stalls via grills and tone-chutes. And then there was = the infamous "entombed" Tuba Miraculous (now gone, replaced by a Flentrop) = under the floor in the back of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland. Isn't the Echo Organ = at Woolsey Hall also under the floor in the back of the auditorium? Chancel chambers that ran from the basement to the attic were common ... but with = those wind-pressures and those scales, the sound got out ANYWAY (well, MOST of = the time) (grin).   Cheers,   Bud    
(back) Subject: Fwd:Change of addresses - "Theatre Organ Time" - Homepage and email From: "David Scribner" <david@blackiris.com> Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 17:58:08 -0600   =46or those people that listen to the Theatre Organ Times program via=20 Real Audio on Friday nights here is a change in the homepage, etc. I=20 don't think this will affect the Real Player connections but just=20 wanted to pass it along to everyone.   David ***************************FORWARDED=20 MESSAGE***************************************** >Hi there, > >Due to regular technical problems with our ISP we decided to change=20 >our address for "Theatre Organ Time." Please > >change your bookmark or favourite on your browser to=20 ><http://www.global.net.au/~duo>http://www.global.net.au/~duo=20 >(homepage) > >and our new email address is <duo@global.net.au>duo@global.net.au > >If you have been listening to the program at=20 ><http://www.rtrfm.iinet.net.au>http://www.rtrfm.iinet.net.au then it=20 >stays the same. > >We look forward to sharing an hour of beautiful Theatre Organ music with yo= u. > >Hope you can join us!! > >Regards > >Lesley and Gary > >Times > >Western Australia------Saturday 10.00 am (GMT + 8 Hours) > >USA >Eastern Standard Time-----Friday 9.00 pm >Central Standard Time ---- Friday 8.00 pm >Mountain Standard Time---Friday 7.00 pm >Pacific Standard Time -----Friday 6.00 pm > >Canada >Manitoba-------------Friday 8.00 pm >Alberta -------------- Friday 7.00 pm >British Columbia------Friday 6.00 pm > >New Zealand ---------Saturday 3.00 pm > >UK------Saturday 2.00 am > >The Netherlands ----Saturday 3.00 am **********************************************************************=20 ****************************    
(back) Subject: Re: Robertson Screws (Was: Organ Hardware) From: "Nelson And Tracy Denton" <ndenton@cgocable.net> Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 01:49:43 -0500   The modern machine cut wood screw has been around for almost 200 years = they are not a recent invention. Round nails are!   When we reuse scews ( I have over 1,000 peanut butter jars full of them) = for restoring older instuments we always clean them with a wire wheel on a = bench grinder. I simply hold them against the spinning brush and within a second or two they are shiney again. For large screws I simply hold them in my hand, little ones require that you hold them firmly in a pair of pliers. ( = a wire wheel in a grinder is not really that nasty on your fingers but = pliers help.:-)) A bit of laquer on the heads will keep them shiney for a long time. Gun bluing is another method of making them look original. Never use screws that have rust on the threads as they will often snap in half when your try to re-install them.   Acid and "rust removers" work as well to clean screws but you run the risk of the the chemicals remaining and causing the screws to rust again.   A bit of candle wax or simply the "sweat of your brow" ( seriously) will help lubricate a screw as is is driven into the wood. Always remove any screws in Oak before washing or refinishing!! Water, = steel screws and oak don't mix!!! it turns black!! ( you can make "Mission Oak" by washing it with rusty water.- an old finishers trick)   Screw quality has dropped in the past few years as more and more "stamped" screws come out. I've seen some dreadfull stuff - Get good screws!!. and match the screw to the materials and job being done. For new work we = prefer Robertson screws as they have a much better head that doesn't slip out the way Phillips or slotted screws do. Nothing is more nasty than an = electric drill/driver that kicks out of a screw and chews up the wood work for = miles around. Robertson's don't fall off the screwdriver so you can drive then = one handed even without a pilot hole. Modern screws are also often slightly thinner than older versions and the slots in screws are different as well. Grind your screwdrivers to fit the slots if you are reusing old screws, or buy a set of "gun makers "screwdrivers that have different sizes of slots. It will save you a lot of chewed up heads and scratched woodwork.   Any organ builder, repair man or hobbiest requires a good set of screwdrivers. I carry over 30 in my tool box alone. Organs always have screws in the most interestingly akward places and you will need every = size and shape ever made.   A variable speed power drill/driver helps in organ building, but get a = good one. You need at least a 9+Volt version to drive or remove screws in = organ building. Those toy ones don't work.   We've used Robertson's screws since 1908 when P.L. invented them. The screwdrivers handles are colour coded by size. . . 00 Orange Very small screws #1-3 rarely found. 0 Yellow Small screws #4 1 Green Very common #5 #6 #7 2 Red Very common #8 #9 #10 3 Black Very Common #12 #14 4 "Double" Black - #16 or larger - not often seen.   The screw drivers come in many different lengths and qualities. Get ones that have a extra hard inserted tip for longer life. If you are desperate and don't have a screwdriver in your tool box that fits, you can grind = down your own from an old screwdriver. Fancy versions with "ball tips" allow you to drive screws in at an angle.   Http://www.leevalley.com has an excellent mail order website with = thousands of good woodworking tools. ( I can recommend them highly.)   ( check out their 24+" long two handed slotted screwdriver that weighs 2.5 lbs!! As good a sword as any Immortal Highlander or organ builder could want!!)   A quick article on wood screws. http://www.taunton.com/fh/features/materials/24screws.htm A biography of P. L. Robertson and his screws http://www.hhpl.on.ca/sigs/mhs/plpage.htm   Nelson Denton- who has driven over 1,000 screws in, in the past 2 days. :-((        
(back) Subject: Pipework for Kilgens From: "Judy A. Ollikkala" <71431.2534@compuserve.com> Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2000 02:10:27 -0500   The person who wrote in looking for pipework for Kilgen organs should contact Organ Clearing House at 603-827-3055. They have some specific pipes which may be of interest to him. Unable to reach you at the e-mail address you gave.