This chapter lists British manufacturers of suction reed organs. Some have already been described in the previous chapter about harmoniums and simply started making copies of the new style instruments imported from America. Others started afresh and developed from the first simple specifications using available components, e.g. from Goddards in London. Quite a few built larger instruments with 2 or 3 manuals, but most were experimental and not many have survived.
British Aeolus apparently made larger reed organs. ROS DB entry 576 is a 2MP instrument with treadles and an electric blower. No other details are given.
Arthur Allison and Co. were at 108-10 Wardour Street, London and also at Apollo Works, Leighton Road, Kentish Town. By 1878 they had moved to 40 Great Marlborough Street for retail. The Apollo Works was used for piano manufacture and reed organs were produced at 10 Charlton Road, Kings Road, London. Allisons were better known as harmonium and piano makers, see Chapter 20.5.
D'Almaine started as a piano maker in 1785, but first advertised as an American organ maker established in 1875 and active around 1889 when at 91 Finsbury Pavement, London thereafter moving premises several times but staying in the same area. They advertised themselves as the Oldest Organ House in England.
A practice organ with 2 manuals and pedals was produced around 1913 and advertised at 34 guineas. Ord-Hume  notes an interesting event in the history of the firm when the entire stock was auctioned by Fryett, White and Co. on 19/6/1913. This was because the lease on the premises had expired (many factories were leased). D'Almaine moved to a West End showroom at 244 Tottenham Court Road.
T. d'Almaine died in 1877 and the reed organ business was run by R.F. Robertson until 1931. Pianos with the d'Almaine name were also still being made, e.g. by Challen or Kemble or Bentley.
Cambridge Reed Organs
A 1 manual organ by d'Almaine and Co. appeared for sale on the Web site of Cambridge Reed Organs in Jan'2004. Described as a suction reed organ ("American Organ"), F compass. D'Almaine was a mid-Victorian instrument maker noted for his pianos, but he also built a number of (now rare) reed organs which tended to be more or less unusual. The special feature of this instrument is the large number of treble reeds. A typical high-spec. reed organ has 5 or 6 rows of reeds; this one has 10 rows.
The following photograph is © Cambridge reed Organs.
It has an exuberantly decorated English oak case in the best Victorian gothic and engraved ivory stop-faces with red capital letters. It's specification is as follows with F compass, 4 1/5 ranks Bass, 10 ranks Treble: Bass Coupler Subbass 16' Flageolet 2' Principal Bass 4' Double Diapason Bass 16' Dulcet Bass Diapason Bass 8' Vox Humana Diapason Treble 8' Dulcet Treble Double Diapason Treble 16' Principal Treble 4' Piccolo 2' Voix Celeste 8' Flute 8' Oboe 8' Gemshorn 4' Gamba 8' Vox Angelica, Treble Coupler.
The ``Vox Angelica'' treble stop may have had an 8' and a 4' rank beating out of tune.
e-Bay *3695 folding organ
This early folding suction instrument spent much of its life in a church near Colchester.
A few other photos of small D'Almaine instruments are shown separately here.
67 Berners Street, London. No further details known.
In 1865 William Avill went into partnership with Charles Smart as Avill and Smart, and around 1888 they became a limited company. The partnership seems to have finished in the 1890s.
They were piano, American organ and harmonium manufacturers at Apollo Works, 75-85 Tabernacle Street, Finsbury, London EC which they took over from W. and F. Grover c.1886, see21.10.
William Thomas Baldwin founded works at 131 Stapleton Road, Bristol to manufacture American organs and harmoniums.
Bauers were better known as harmonium makers, see Chapter 5.
F. Bedford of 7 Jeffreys Place, Camden Town Street, London advertised as a reed organ maker.
G.C. Bedwell Ltd., as the firm was also known, were established by George Champion Bedwell in 1874 at Cecilia House, Hills Road, Cambridge as pianoforte and musical instrument sellers. George was born in London, possibly Islington c.1845 (or 1848) and died in 1934 near Bath said to be aged 86 (buried in Trumpington 24/7/1934). He as registered as a piano tuner in 1871.
George married Louisa Kibble (b.1843-d.1910) in 1870. They had several sons and daughters: Lilly (b.1866), George (b.1872 or 1862?-d.1953), Harry (or Henry?) (b.1874-d.1936), Frank (b.1877), May (or Mary) (b.1875), Bertie (b.1879), Nellie (b.1881) and Douglas (b.1884). Louisa died and was buried in Trumpington 1/11/1910. The household in 1891 also included their aunt, Fanny Last, and two servants. G.C. Bedwell's grandfather was William Last who worked as a pipe organ builder in Bury St. Edmunds from around 1790 and died in 1830. This suggested that George's father Robert Hall Bedwell probably trained with William Last and then married his daughter Marianna who was Fannie's sister.
Another source  says Clara Ethel (b.1872-d.1961), Henry Alfred (b.c.1873-d.1923), James Kibble Douglas (b.1883-d.1944), and according to the 1911 Census notes the family living at Branksome, Hills Road, Trumpington, Cambridge.
Some of the children were born in Devon, explained by the fact that the family were lining in Plymouth c.1872.
There is some confusion here as there seem to have been several different names in the census entries of approx. 30 years. However, in Victorian times Harry was a diminutive form for Henry and May for Mary.
They occupied various premises: 15 Hills Road (1874-91), 35 Hills Road (1892-96). They had a works in Tenison Road c.1896-1933 and showrooms in St. Mary's Passage c.1912-1928 and 130 East Road c.1933-36. There was also a branch at 104 Poole Road, Bournemouth from 1909-16 and High Street, Clacton-on-Sea, 1934-46, 41 Exchange Street, Norwich and 9 Magdalen Street, Colchester at the same period. There was a warehouse at 24 West Row, Ladbrooke Grove, London in 1934 and another branch at London Road South, Lowestoft until 1946. They were known successively as George Bedwell, George C. Bedwell, Bedwell and Son, Bedwell's Organ Works, G.C. Bedwell and Sons Ltd. In the period 1874-90 Bedwell was a musical instrument seller.
The Bedwells became builders of small pipe organs and harmoniums c.1891 or before. The original firm of G.C. Bedwell was sold at public auction in July 1931 and the family estate in Cambridge was sold in 1934 after George Champion died. His sons carried on as organ builders: Harry H. Bedwell (b.1874-d.1934) at 74 Walsworth Road, Hitchin from 1906 until his death, which may actually have been in 1923; and George E. Bedwell (b.1872-d.1953) at 173 Knighton Lane, Leicester from c.1881 until 1946.
Henry Alfred ``Harry'' Bedwell married Annie Gertrude Bedwell (b.16/7/1872-d.10-11/1974) in June 1897. It is noted  that Annie's mother was Mary Eliza Stedman, born c.1845 in Guys Hill, Saint Catherine, Jamaica and her father was one Arthur Bedwell born in Colchester, Essex in 1839. They were married in 1869, but unfortunately Arthur died at the early age of 37 in 1876.
G.C. Bedwell wrote a book - The Evolution of the Organ .
One small suction instrument appeared for sale as eBay item *8500 in Fort Worth, Texas, USA in May 2011. It has a label stating that it is by G.C. Bedwell Ltd., Cambridge. It probably has 1-1/2 sets of reeds and stops are: Bass Coupler, Forte, Diapason, Gamba, Vox Humana, Echo, Melodia, Vox Celeste, Treble Coupler.
This was a subsidiary of the Canadian firm from Guelph, Ontario trading at 58 Holburn Viaduct in London EC, see Chapter 24.1. They moved to 49 Holborn Viaduct c.1903. They did build some of their own instruments according to the Bell patent and even had some original inventions such as the Bellolian, a self playing attachment for reed organs using folded paper music by Mr. Warren. UK manager was W.J. Bell, son of the firm's founder.
Mark Jefford found documentation in the National Archives related to the company at this time, and Rodney Jantzi me that they held their meetings in the ``London Tavern'' in Fenchurch Street. On 30/8/1989 it was agreed that the existing company would be wound up voluntarily and that a new company would be formed with the name ``The Bell Organ and Piano Company , Limited''.
In 1890 it was announced: [share and debenture issues] to more fully develop and extend the satisfactory trade and connection acquired in Great Britain and other European countries, the firm in 1883 opened a branch warehouse in London, now occupying the well-known premises at 58, Holborn Viaduct, E.C., with the result that a large and extensive business has been developed.
At a Special Resolution passed on 3/11/1903 it was agreed that the company name would change from ``The Bell Organ and Piano Company, Limited'' to ``The Bell Piano and Organ Company, Limited''. Their London outlet was in Bartholemew Road, Kentish Town [?]. They made a variety of models including the "Bellolian", a player reed organ [?], and held the patent on the "Serophone", a device which gave the reeds a wood-pipe character [?]. Bell was a listed exhibitor in the British Industries Fair of 1922, Stand No.B.50; manufacturers of pianos, player pianos and reed organs.
[was the following built in London - I doubt it!]
An impressive British built instrument was made for the Queen Marguerita of Italy in 1889. It had pedals (to RCO recommendations) and a pipe top (Bell style 600) and was installed in the Palace of Monza near Milan. If you know more about this instrument, please contact me.
Birch and Son were reed organ and pianoforte specialists at 1224 Yardley Wood Road, Warstock, Birmingham 14. Their later instruments were fitted with BOB electric blowers.
We do now know of any organs actually built by Birch, but we do know of one Apollo organ supplied by them which carries the Birmingham address. This was serial number 1075 from 1915. It was supplied to Mr. Batts in Llandrindod Wells in 1953. His son, John Batts who contacted me when the organ was for sale in 2006, said Birch and Son later had premises at Limeslade Bay, The Mumbles, Glamorgan. They moved the instrument for Mr. Batts again in 1958.
263 Oxford Street, W. London and later 151 Oxford Street.
Ottilie Böhmer of 153 Balls Pond Road, Islington, London was granted a British patent in 1886 number 5,521 for a combined pianoforte and harmonium or American organ. This was devised in conjunction with German piano maker Ferdinand Thurmer of Meissen.
William Bogg made the Regent Organ at 31-33 John Dalton Street and 23-25 Corporation Street, Manchester. They were also involved in some way with piano manufacturing.
A manufacturer of portable harmoniums and American organs at 56a Crogsland Road, Chalk Farm Station, London.
Boyd Ltd. of 407 Harrow Road, London, 11 Powis Street, Woolwich and 19 Holborn Bars, London EC was also known as the Boyd Organ Co. Their factory was at Warwick Gardens, Harringay, North London. They manufacturered a range of instruments from a replica of the Mason and Hamlin ``Baby'' American organ up to the model 75 with 9 half sets of reeds and 17 stops. They also made player pianos. A contemporary advert from Boyd is shown in Ord-Hume's book , fig.17, p48.
Whilst Boyd may at one time have manufactured their own instruments, perhaps pianos, they also sold a variety from other makers such as Reed and the Chicago Cottage Organ Co.
A small ad. appeared on the Reed Organ and Harmonium Workshop Web site in Nov'2004 for a Victorian portable harmonium, Boyd and Co. Mahogany. 3 and a bit octaves. Simple, versatile (very small), plenty of volume. £250. Buyer collects (Melbourne, Derbyshire)
One owner noted a ``ship's organ'' by Boyd in 2008.
Boyd are probably better known as piano makers and it is known that they bought organs from the Chicago Cottage Organ Co.
1M eBay *3110
This 1M instrument was advertised in Orpington, in Mar'2016.
ROS DB 1924
A flat-topped case instrument serial number 248750 with 61 keys FFF-f'', treadles and knee swells. 9 stops of which the 6 speaking ones have blank (lost) faces, the others are Bass and Treble Coupler and Vox Humana.
ROS DB 2073 and 3344
Baby instrument with no knee swells.
ROS DB 3748
Serial number 222643 has the following stops Bass Coupler, Diapason 8', Echo 8', Principal 4', Vox Humana, Forte, Celeste 8', Dulcet 8', Melodia 8', Treble Coupler.
RFG DB 0513, 3805
Boyd travelling instrument in Germany
e-Bay item *1771 in Aarbergen, Germany was advertised for sale in Aug'2010.
There seem to have a lot of similar ones produced and many are still in existance.
1M pipe top, e-Bay *7001
An interesting 1M instrument with pipe top advertised in Jan'2015 from a vendor in Swansea.
Brasted of London were primarily piano makers who also manufactured the ``Cecilian Organ'' using steel reeds. ROS DB lists two instruments entries 1793 and 1794. These are both single manual FFF-f'' range with foot treadles and knee swells. They appear to be made of plywood or fibreboard.
1870 Harry Brasted started up his piano making firm, using a piano with a compass of over seven octaves. In 1916 the company made parts for bi-planes to help the war effort. In 1925 the Brasteds bought up the Eavestaff piano making firm. In 1928 Brasteds merged with Boyd Ltd.
The Challen piano company ceased independent manufacture in 1959, with the name going to the Brasted brothers. At the end of 1970 a new company formed by John Brasted marketed Eavestaff pianos. The pianos were to be made under licence by Kemble and Co. As with Challen's for some years previously, Eavestaff pianos were made at the Barratt and Robinson factory, Hermitage Road, Harringay.
Later Brasted was taken over by Barratt and Robinson. The name was also used by Pigotts of Dublin who used it on re-conditioned pianos and organs.
John Bridges was a manufacturer of harmoniums and American organs (also referred to as an American organ and piano dealer) working at 55 Collier Street, King's Cross, London, then at 240 Pentonville Road from 1884-90.
George Benjamin Briffett (b.1857-d.1925) of Brook Street, Ashley Road, Bristol built a small number of instruments including both portable and larger ones. He was recorded as an organ and harmonium builder and also a supplier of pianos. His location is listed as 16 Grosvenor Road, St. Paul's, Bristol c.1897 then 115 Stapleton Road c.1899 then 13 Hulbert Street, Easton Road, Bristol in 1900.
James Williams Butcher (b.1857-d.16/2/1937) operated a scientific and optical supply shop at 2-3 Ludgate Circus Buildings, Farringdon Street, London EC4 between c.1910-26. He advertised extensively in London college bulletins, which would probably have brought him considerable business. Butcher's labels appear on a wide variety of microscope slides, for both professional and amateur. In this respect his career is very similar to that of J.W. Reed, see Section 13.
J.W. Butcher was born in Gravesend, Kent during 1857. He was ordained a Weslyan (Methodist) minister in 1881 and took positions around the UK before re-locating in London in 1911. He then sold numerous series of lantern slides to accompany sermons. He also wrote a number of books, and published works by other authors, primarily on religious topics.
We note a possible confusion over this business as there were to others with similar names in Ludgate Circus, see .
A 2 manual reed organ (harmonium?) is said to have been built by Butcher of 2-3 Ludgate Circus Buildings, London EC4.
The surviving instruments we know of (which are few) do not appear to be particularly well made, but are nonetheless interesting because of their rarity.
A fairly standard, but still quite large, 1M instrument appeared on e-Bay in Oct'2005. It has been used in a Baptist Chapel in Monmouthshire, Wales. The case is said to be of pine. The chapel was purchased to be converted to a house. The specification is not known.
Another much smaller one, with 4 octaves and 2 ranks of reeds, this time in an oak case, was offered for sale in Staines (e-Bay *3816) in Nov'2016. The label clearly states ``J.W. Butcher, Manufacturer, 2 & 3 Ludgate Circus Bldgs, EC4''. Stops are: Principal 4', Flute 4'.
James Joseph Carroll was recorded as an American organ maker at 92 Bartholemew Road, Kentish Town, and 91 Islip Street, London.
Frederick Carter of Handel House, Fiskerton Street, Salisbury, produced the Clarabella Organ which featured the specially voiced 8' Clarabella stop (but see also Hale).
I saw one small instrument by Carter many years ago in St. Edmund's Church, Allestree. This had the following stops: Diapason 8', Principal 4', Forte, Piano 8', Vox Humana, Echo 8', Principal Forte, Flute 4', Clarabella 8'. It indeed carried a label proclaiming it to be The Clarabella Organ.
There was also an employed reed organ builder, Frederick Carter, who's home was at 12 Fortress Grove, Kentish Town, London. It is not known who he worked for.
Alphonse Cary of Newbury is recorded as a music publisher, piano and organ builder who also previously made violins and fittings (c.1888-89). It is believed that he was born in Belgium c.1848 and died in Clevedon on 10/7/1922. He had premises in 47-8 Northbrook Street and 198 Kentish Town Road, London. He had additional works at Park Street, Newbury around 1899 and was known to be a pipe organ builder there. It is quite possible that he made some reed organs too. Cary also sold concertinas made by Lachenal.
The company must have continued, as there are reciepts for work dated as late as 1948.
The Berkshire Records Office contains a note that there was an agreement to pay quit rent 4 between Alphonse Cary and Thomas Garlick, both of Northbrook Street, Newbury, 14/4/1886. It is believed that Thomas Garlick was a watch maker.
At some time, one Russell Wade of Newbury left the grocery trade and went to work at Cary's music shop in Northbrook Street as a clerk with Mr. Oswald Cary. He later became a partner with Ted Povey - Povey and Wade became business rivals to Cary.
A number of small instruments are known to carry the Cary label. They all have similar detailing on the case as can be seen in the photos. More pictures.
One small instrument was found for sale on e-Bay *3113 Jan'2010 from La Belle, a store in New Orleans. It is said to have a mahogany case. How did this find its way to USA?
Castle was until recently an unknown manufacturer. A small instrument was offered for sale in late 2009 which leads us to investigate this name further. The label suggests he manufactured pianofortes, harmoniums and American organs in Loughborough.
Further information has now appeared in DBOB which confirms that Castle worked as a reed organ builder at 7 Mill Street, Loughborough, c.1900.
I currently know nothing of this company other than that they operated in Measham, Leicester. Information from ICLT.
Robert John Charlick of London was born c.1859 in St. Pancras and advertised as a reed organ builder and moved from 4 Scholefield Buildings, Scholefield Road, Hornsey Rise, Upper Holloway to 76 Duncombe Road off Scholefield Road around 1900. The premises (which?) had previously been occupied by T.F. Green and later taken over by A.J. Cox.
There was John Charlick (b.c.1823, Marylebone) who may have been R.J.'s father, but there was also a Robert Charlick, a pianoforte maker (b.c.1860 in St. Pancras) who's father may have been Robert Charlick (b.c.1837 in Marylebone). Anyone have more information?
Clark and Sons of Liverpool allegedly made reed organs. There is one instrument listed in the ROS DB entry number 2713. It is an F-f compass instruments, but no stops are listed.
Pipe and reed organ maker at ``Strathcona'', 23 Herford Drive, Liscard, Cheshire. Also an agent for Doherty of Canada.
James Henry Cocks appears in contemporary literature as an American organ and harmonium manufacturer of 19 Park Street, Camden Town. He died on 18/1/1879. Robert Cocks and Co. of 6 New Burlington Street, London and 19 Park Street, Camden Town was an American organ manufacturer and dealer only after around 1879, so probably inherited the business.
There is just one instrument currently known which is in the Olthof Collection. This is a suction instrument built in a similar way to a harmonium, said to have been built around 1865. The keyboard split is at e-f like a harmonium.
American organ manufacturer of 138 Hampstead Road, London NW.
Established by Charles Henry Collins, the company of Mare Street, off Hackney Road, London produced both pianos and American organs. Collins was apprenticed to another London reed organ maker and went to the USA to gain further experience. The firm later moved to 30 Goldsmith's Row in 1890. Known as the Collins Organ and Piano Co. in 1900, they became the Imperial Piano and Organ Co. in 1902 after the retirement of C.H. Collins who then settled in Birchington, Kent.
The steam works factory was at 45-7 Ellingfort Road off Mare Street. Ord-Hume contests that the change of company name may have been to avoid confusion with J.H. Collins.
A small example was advertised in Aylesford in Sep'2007, see e-Bay *9747.
Alfred J. Cox is recorded as a reed organ builder and tuner of pipe organs. His firm was known as Alfred Cox and Son after 1908 until around 1914. He had premises at 17 Fortnam Road, Upper Holloway, London (his home) and Scholefield Buildings, Scholefield Road from 1921 having taken them over from Robert Charlick. These premises had also been occupied by New and Green. It is possible that he actually worked there for another builder, perhaps R.F. Stevens. In 1891 he had a wife, Amy, son John aged 9 and daughter Lilly aged 1 year. John was born in Kentish Town and Lilly in Upper Holloway, so it seems that the family must have moved around 1885, perhaps at the time they started their own business. He continued working as a repair man until he retired in 1941 at the age of 82.
See Chapter 6.
See Chapter 16.1.
An ex. employee of Sawyer (see below), one F. Crawford, set himself up in independent business firstly a Eltham Park, Broadway, London (1900-14), at 14 Heavitree Road, Plumstead and in 1921 at 37 Shooters Hill Gardens, Eltham Park. The factory was at Southend Parade, Eltham c.1912.
Cresswell, Ball and Co. were in High Street, and 41-43 West Hill, Wandsworth, London SW. They received medals at the 1862 (at that time it was John Cresswell) and 1885 London International Inventions Exhibitions for their pianos. Also Paris in 1868 and 1873.
ROS DB entry 1320 has no picture but lists a small 1M instrument said to be from 1890 and with the following stops: Forte, Diapason 8', Echo 8', Vox Humana, Dolce 8', Dulciana 8', Voix Celeste 8'. It has a mahogany case, FF-f''' range and carries a serial number WB19560.
1M e-Bay *7644
Another instrument appeared for sale on e-Bay *7644 from a vendor in Kent. It carries the Cresswell, Ball and Co, label and also ``EMPIRE MODEL'' and ``REGISTERED''.
Stops are Melodia, Diapason, Echo, Octave Coupler, Vox Humana, Octave Coupler, Dolce, Dulciana and Flute.
Jones and Co. (see below) were taken over in 1898 by Ernest Crichton who had a business at 38 Regent Street, Clifton, Bristol from 1866. He opened another branch in Cheltenham in 1904 but no longer did original manufacture.
The company, established in 1780, later advertised as a reed organ maker and imported and traded from 205-7 City Road, London EC with other premises at 17 Charterhouse Street, Holborn Circus. In 1930 the firm was known as Herbert Dawkins and Co. and was importing harmoniums and reed organs. For more information see Ord-Hume .
Downs of High Street, East Dereham, Norfolk was an American organ manufacturer. The factory was called Euterpe Works and some of the instruments were labelled as Euterpe Organs. Two different instruments have appeared on e-Bay recently, *7115 in Norfolk and *1424 in London, both measuring around 40-1/2'' x14'' x39-1/2'' and mahogany cased. They seem to be built to a very high standard.
Henry Farrant was a pipe organ and piano maker of 25 Gardener Street, Brighton and 195 Western Road, Brighton. He apparently had a factory at Windsor Buildings, Windsor Street, Brighton in 1883-95 and also made harmoniums. The firm was known as Farrant and Son 1891-95 and as Henry Farrant in 1895. Whilst the small harmoniums look fairly standard, the later suction instruments that we have seen photos of have distinctive case decoration.
There was also the Farrant Organ Co., at 4A Great Marlborough St., London c.1905.
Robert Stanton Gildersleeve (b.1847) was a pipe and reed organ builder of St. John's Street, Bury St. Edmunds. He trained with and then worked for Henry Willis.
Robert Gildersleeve was listed at 21-22 St. John's Street, Bury St. Edmunds in 1891 having previously been at 117 Gaisford Street, St. Pancras, London in 1881. He had previously lodged in St. Pancras. He lived with his wife Mary C. (b.1849) and children Horace (b.1873), Maud (b.1875), Claude (b.1880) and Nora Nelly (b.1881). Mary was a music seller until 1925 and was registered at 65 and later 67 St. John's Street. Their son Horace also became an organ builder around 1891.
There was previously some doubt as to whether R. Gildersleeve and R.S. Gildersleeve were actually the same person, althought this seemed likely. Further searching of the DBOB on line archives reveals that Gildersleeve and Co. were also known as R. Stanton Gildersleeve and Co. (1882) and M.C. Gildersleeve and Co. (1891-1925) and were registered at 65 and 67 St. John's St. - so they certainly are the same person.
However there was also an organ builder Robert Gildersleeve working 1841-1950+ with premises at 370 Egbert Street, St. George's Road, London NW. Possibly another member of the family?
Joseph Gildersleeve (b.1841-d.1925) of 20 Torbay Street, Kentish Town, London NW was Robert's elder brother. He was a metal pipe maker, voicer and tuner to the organ trade. There was a number of other musicians in the family as well, including pianoforte makers, orchestra leaders, composers, etc. This was confirmed to me in an e-Mail from Peter Wyant of Saskatchewan, Canada on 27/7/06.
Phil and Pam Fluke have a reference to a 2MP reed organ by Gildersleeve.
This instrument is in Lithuania. We currently have no information about its maker. It carries the number 42140. Can anyone help?
Stops are: Bass Coupler, Echo, Principal, Dulcet, Diapason, Viola, Vox Humana, Voix Celeste, Aeoline, Treble Coupler.
H.J. Goulden was a piano and harmonium maker in Canterbury from around 1884. Goulden became a partner with another reed organ builder, Wind of Canterbury, and the firm changed name to Goulden and Wind. From 1889 they were located in Ashford and Maidstone, Kent with another shop in Ramsgate. The name plate however indicates Faversham and Sittingbourne. The partnership was dissolved in 1911.
A Goulden and Wind instrument was for sale on Charles Birkin's Web site in 2002. Measures 4- 1/2'' x19'' x47-1/2'' high. It was still listed in 2006. The seller states that it is by Goulden and Wind of 47 High Street, Ramsgate. (Note the image has split.)
Another was seen on e-Bay, 17/12/07 in Wisbech. This was said to measure 13-1/2'' deep, 39'' wide and 42'' high.
Yet another on e-Bay 24/7/09 in Edenbridge.
OK, its Scottish - Graham and Co. were in Glasgow. One instrument is listed as entry number 710 in the ROS DB. It is a fairly conventional American organ with stops: Bass Coupler, Sub Bass, Dolce, Diapason Bass, Vox Humana, Diapason Treble, ?, Celeste, Oboe, Forte and Treble Coupler. Key range FFF-f'' with treadles and knee swells.
William Graham was a reed organ maker of 4 Malboro' Works, Malboro' Road, Upper Holloway, London. Walter Graham and Sons are described in Chapter 20.65.
We have photographs of a number of small suction instruments: *e7827, small with 7 stops; *e1735, small with 5 stops; *e6156, 9 stops with high top and mirror.
Reed organ maker and piano dealer of 38 Ferndale Road, Upton Park, London E.
Henry Graves was a piano and harmonium manufacturer of 79 Hartford Street, Mile End Road, London. Some more information came from organ expert ``Pausaune'' on e-Bay.
Graves was indeed a small maker who constructed reed organs in very small numbers. An existing example is very well made thoughout. Many of the components such as coupler boards and Vox Humana came from A.H. Hammond of USA rather than from British suppliers such as Goddards. Hammonds trade parts were made to the highest specification and the company later became the Hinners Organ Co.
E-Bay item *0646 is very compact and light; 37'' wide x18'' deep x36'' high, excluding the fold down music desk which is not original.
It is in excellent working order throughout, in tune, and the keys have been re-bushed and felted. It has a very good tonal quality with specification Bass Coupler, Diapason Bass, Vox Humana, Diapason Treble, Treble Coupler plus knee swell.
George Green was registered as an American reed organ maker c.1878-1888.
The Music Trades Record reported in August 1911 that Mr George Green, of the Brooklyn Piano Company had died. He began the business with Mr Charles Savage, at North Rd., Cattle Market, London. Both worked at J.B. Cramers in the late 1860s. George was one of the best finishers and regulators in the trade and Charles was a fine organist and splendid tuner as well as an American organ reed voicer. The business was to be carried on by Charles' nephew, George in conjunction with their foreman, Mr. Smith, after the death of the founders.
Green and Savage manufactured the Brooklyn organ and a combination piano and organ and became known as the Brooklyn Organ Co. sometime before 1921. They began as harmonium makers c.1890 [?] and had premises at Camden Road London and a factory in North West Gate, Metropolitan Cattle Market, off York Road (see photo from Fritz Gellerman's database). They had previously been at 2A Prince of Wales Road, Kentish Town for a short while.
Green and Savage had a patent, reference 4,075 in 1879, for a combined piano and American organ.
Maker of the Windsor Organ in Warrington. No further details known. I live in Warrington, so need to get on the case! Greenwoods currently deal in second hand furniture, but there may be no connection.
A piano and Anglo-American organ builder of 17 London Street, Derby.
Robert ``Fritz'' Gellerman says that Hale, of West Didsbury Manchester, produced the Clarabella Organ (but see F.C. Carter). There were probably several brands of Clarabella Organ. It is known that some were produced in Canada.
Hambleton of 1 Westwood Terrace, Leek, Staffs. produced a number of small American organs. I saw one in 1973 in Carlton Church. It had a single set of reeds and one knee swell. It had a nice tone and was quite loud for such a small instrument.
William Hancock of Wiveliscombe was a reed organ maker. One organ serial number 98733 is known in the Heiss collection.
Manufacturer of reed organs and harmoniums at Harpur Street and Midland Road, Bedford.
An American organ and harmonium maker of 20 Hornsey Street, Holloway Road, London.
William Hargreaves worked at 61 Dale Street, Manchester then around 1887 became Hargreaves and Co. of 11 Booth Street, Picadilly, Manchester with works at 19 Vernon Street, Broughton Manchester. Apparently Hargreaves started as a piano and harmonium maker and built American organs from around 1887.
Currently nothing is known about this firm, but we have seen a folding organ with the label
Harkness patent improved portable Organ Head office and Showrooms Paternoster Buildings London EC
Head and Sons of Truro. One instrument seen on e-Bay, Feb'2004, another Oct'2005.
We have photograps of a number of other small instruments: *e6372, small with mirror, no stops; *e6865, small, no stops; *e9712, small, no stops.
Reed organ maker of Launceston. No further information available so far.
Thomas Curran was registered as a reed organ builder of 129 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester 1987-8 [?]. Higham and Curran were reed organ builders at 241 Great Ancoats Street c.1895-6. Their exact connection with Thomas Curran and Thomas Higham are unclear.
See Chapter 7.
Hilliards of London built some reed organs with pipes. A 9 stop instrument with pipes was for sale in 2002 on Charles Birkin's Web site. We know nothing about this firm so far.
See Chapter 8.
See Chapter 9.
See separate Chapter 10.
See separate Chapter 11.
Ian Thompson noted: I had a brochure of Jacot's RO business at Bidford-on-Avon. In addition to the repaired and recased instruments he made some new C-F compass (54 notes) having a 12-down-bass+18-up-treble octave coupler on a single board, so you couldn't have one without t'other. These instruments were wholly traditional in all except casework - no special reedcells or resonators, which sadly would have been prohibitively dear to make on a business basis.
Here is an advertisement I saw in 1972.
Michel contacted me on 6/12/2005. He has been working in Germany since the 1980s and is currently with ict AG in Kohlberg. He said Many thanks for replying so quickly. You are more than welcome to use photos and info about JRO on your Web site. I am also happy to answer questions on JRO as far as my memory serves me. Unfortunately I have very little indeed in the way of records. I have colour copies of the JRO brochure and will send you one if you like if you send me your address.
A few days later this arrived with the note: Hello Rob, so here you are as promised. I have found some photos and will ask my sister if she will scan them (after Xmas) and send them on to you. I will also try to get something down onto paper for you in the New Year. I must first get the info sorted out in my own head! Have a nice Christmas, Michel.
His sister later sent me a number of photographs showing Michel at work and some of the re-built and new organs.
The photograph of the 2MP instrument with 13 stops from the JRO brochure is shown in Robert Gellerman's database entry number 1158. The following photo shows it displayed at the Pershore Organ Week exhibition.
The instruments were traditionally designed, typically offered as 1M/4, 2M/6 or 2MP/7 units and had a small built in BOB electric suction unit.
The specification of the 2MP/7 model from the brochure is given below.
Swell: Great: Gamba 8' Diapason 8' Oboe 8' Dulciana 8' (derived) Celeste 8' (derived) Principal 4' Gemshorn 4' Fifteenth 2' Tremulant Swell to Great Pedal: Diapason 16' Sub Bass 16' (derived) Great to Pedal Manuals 61 notes CC-c''' Pedals 30 notes CC-f Balanced swell pedal Pitch A=440 Hz Size: 48''h x48''w x50''deep including pedals BOB blower with starter switch and indicator on console
Unusually for small reed organs this has a 2' rank instead of the 16' in the Great, although it does break back to 4' in the uppermost octave. Ian Thompson  noted above another unusual stop Octave Coupler used by Jacot and others which simultaneously drew the treble and bass couplers.
Michel explained how these organs arose: I had been fortunate in finding here and there a bit of info. I bought a number of new reed boards from R.F. Stevens, and I bought up the remaining stock of new reeds from J. & J. Goddard when they ceased trading. Furthermore I found out by chance that the German piano parts supplier Louis Renner had new 8' 5 octave reed sets. These were of very high quality indeed, and after I steamed off the Renner label I found a Japanese name under it. As an aside, probably through Lois Renner, but I am not sure, I found out that the firm of Steirer-Stahl were building new reed organs in the Stuttgart area. They sent me a catalogue which showed modern one-manual reed organs with, I think up to 6 sets of reeds. I checked out Renner via the Internet a few days ago and it seems that they don't supply reeds any more, at least it is not mentioned on their Web site.
OK, so far so good, around 1969/ 70 I got the looney idea of making new reed organs. It seemed to me that it was a natural source of musical sound (see my brochure). In retrospect I was under financed, or at least the electronic builders had more money and could make more noise.
The JRO 2MP/7 was a conventional reed organ but particular attention was paid to voicing (the Swell Oboe used Renner reeds, the Gamba narrow, the Great Diapason broad). I wanted to make servicing as easy as possible, and it was not necessary to undo thousands of wood screws to get at anything. All my suction units were from BOB and I must record the helpfullness and politeness of Mr. Tomlinson and Mr. Fryer on every occasion.
The prototype 2MP/7 was I think ready in late 1970. The case and keyboards were supplied by J. Paine (I can't remember the spelling correctly, sorry) who had the floor above R.F. Stevens. After the boss died, the cases were made in Evesham. I think the keyboards then came from Fletcher and Newman.
Register of known organs by Jacot:
|2MP/7||1970||1||displayed at Pershore Organ Week in 1971, and was later in the Lady Chapel in Worcester Cathedral. Later history unknown|
|2MP/7||1971||2||sold during Pershore Organ Week to a man in the Forest of Dean. This had a walnut case.|
|2MP/7||3||sold by R.F. Stevens to a man in North London.|
|2MP/7||4||customer in Alvenchurch, Worcester|
|2MP/7||5||Holm Church on Orkney|
|2MP/8||6||customer in Sydney, Australia ordered a 2MP/8 with an extra 8' on the Pedal and a Swell to Pedal coupler. This organ was built in Evesham|
|2M/6||7||walnut case and foot and electric suction unit. This went to Nigeria|
|1M/4||8||also for Nigeria was the very last organ, a 1M/4 with electric suction unit|
The last organ is shown in the following photos.
By the mid 1970s it was impossible to compete seriously with the electronic organ revolution started by Hammond in the 1930s. There would also by then have been no support from the once huge reed organ industry with their many trade suppliers. Michel Jacot published an account of his work in the Reed Organ Society Quarterly in 1990 . Ian said: The day I visited the workshop some time in 1979 (?) Michel waxed pretty lyrical about how little encouragement small businesses got from the government of the day. He and his wife were already talking of moving to Germany. I can well imagine their feeling of frustration.
This is likely to be William James of London who had premises at 26 City Road EC (1880), 64 Bread Street (1882), and 120 Fulham Road SW (1884). They were said to have made ``gold medal pianos''.
William James manufactured small harmoniums known as the ``School Model'' with 36 keys and 11 stops and knee operated controls.
There is a lot of confusion with Wm. Sames of London, see Chapter 14.
Jenkinson Organs advertised in 1902 as the only complete English Organs made. The Hepworth Organ factory of Jenkinson and Co. was managed by Percy Mason at 45 Hampstead Road, London c.1897. They also occupied premises at Castle Road, Kentish Town c.1903.
According to Fritz Gellerman this was known as the Hepworth Organ Co. Some bear the name of the Hepworth Organ and Piano Company.
The firm was founded by organ builder Samuel Jenkinson who held British patents for improvements to reed organs. His most famous was for the so called ``superoctave coupler'', no.3,115 of 13/2/1894. This included an extra octave of reeds for certain stops so that they could be played right up to the top notes of the keyboard when the octave coupler was selected. An illustration is shown in Ord-Hume  fig.8, p33 and the advertisement on p35.
It was taken up by reed organ builders, in particular the Bridgeport Organ Co. of Connecticut, USA who had offices at 246 Harrow Road, London and later at 78 Finsbury Pavement. It was also taken up by several other manufacturers of American organs. It is not known how many organs Jenkinson actually made.
London Gazette 1880: In the County Court of Lancashire, holden at Ulverston and at Barrow-in-Furness. In tbe Matter of a Bankruptcy Petition against Samuel Jenkinson, of no.8, Fisher Street, and no.3 Lord Street, Barrow-in-Furness, in the county of Lancaster, American Organ Manufacturer. Upon the hearing of this Petition this day, and upon proof satisfactory to the Court of the debt of the Petitioners, and of the trading, and of the act of Bankruptcy alleged to have been committed by the said Samuel Jenkinson having been given, it is ordered that the said Samuel Jenkinson be, and he is hereby, adjudged bankrupt. Given under the Seal of the Court this 14th day of May, 1880. By the Court, Thos. Postlethwaite, Registrar. ...
Ord-Hume shows an advertisment for an organ featuring the Jenkinson device , fig.9, p35.
1M Hepworth - HVN-0305
This 1M Hepworth Organ is listed in the database of the Nederland Harmonium Vereniging, number 350 (also number 229). It is said to date from c.1894. It has the following stops: Bass Coupler, Diapason Bass 8', Principal 4', Dulcet Bass 8', Vox Humana, Gamba 8', Vox Celeste 8', Diapason Treble 8', Treble Coupler. There is one un-listed stop.
A very smilar one, also with 10 stops but with a light coloured case and no mirror, appeared on e-Bay from a seller in the UK in Oct'2005.
1M Hepworth - e-Bay *3597
This instrument with 15 stops was advertised for sale in Stockton-on-Tees in Apr'2011. It is said to have been rescued from a Welsh Church near Newport which was closing, in the mid-1970s and passed down through the family.
2MP Hepworth in Drenthe Harmonium Museum
This one is featured on Piet Bron's Flickr stream, see http://www.flickr.com/photos/pietbron/5064121771/in/set-72157625125473090/. It is in the Barger-Compascuum Museum and is also featured on Ivan Furlanis' Web site https://sites.google.com/site/ivanfurlanis/home/harmonium/hepworth.
It has a total of 14 stops and two latch down pedals, probably swell and full organ. It appears to have a pull out straight 29 note pedal board and CC-c''' manual compass.
Manuals: 61 note, CC-c''' Pedals: 30 note, CC-f Swell: Great: Principal Diapason Vox Humana Principal Musette Bourdon Oboe Dulcet Diapason Couplers: Pedal: Octave Coupler Pedal Bourdon Manual Coupler Pedal Violoncello Pedal Coupler combination pedals: not identified
Piet Bron is an important Dutch reed organ enthusiast and secretary to the HVN, so I hope he won't mind me publicising his photographic work here. Thanks to Ivan for the extra information.
This is rather unusual for English instruments, more information about Hepworth and Jenkinson would be appreciated.
1M Hepworth - Radstock Museum
So, helpfully, I was contacted by Tom Randall, a trustee of the Radstock Museum, see http://www.radstockmuseum.co.uk. He told me that we have recently acquired a small Hepworth organ. It was used in a Methodist chapel at Morewood, near Mells, Somerset. This chapel closed many years ago, we do not yet know when but are researching it, after which the organ was kept in a private house until the owner could no longer accommodate it and donated it to our local museum.
It has only three stops: Diapason Bass, Forte, Diapason Treble.
John Jones of 21-22 Bridge Street, Bristol was granted a British patent number 9,860 on 7/7/1884 for a combined harmonium and American organ, the latter being in the top of the case. There was a second patent number 4,304 of 7/4/1885. An illustration is shown in Ord-Hume  fig.5, p31.
Jones had a factory at Broad Plain, Bristol and advertised as makers of combination orchestral Bristol organs for home, church or mansion from 6 guineas. Other references mention 10 Park Street. Their products were also known as the Bristol Organ c.1865 and Chordalian organ in 1887. According to Elvin  the firm was established in 1858 and advertised as Organ Builders (by machinery) and manufacturers of specialities in American Organs and Harmoniums, for home and export. He was also a trade supplier of metal organ pipes.
It is not known how many of the combination organs were actually made. There had been several other proposals to build similar ones. It was considered that the range of tonal variation could be enhanced in this way. In some cases, such as the ones by Jones, the suction reeds worked on the Swell manual and the pressure reeds on the Great. This was said to give the advantage of excellent Swell solo stops and more standard stops on the Great. A drawing from the Jones patent is shown by in Ord-Hume's book, p31. See also Hillier above.
Jones and Co. were taken over in 1898 by Ernest Crichton who had a business at 38 Regent Street, Clifton, Bristol from 1866. He opened another branch in Cheltenham in 1904 but no longer did original manufacture.
e-Bay item *6822
This instrument advertised for sale in July 2009 in London, carries the Jones name plate shown above which reads as follows.
BRISTOL ORGAN Jones & Company Bristol, England
It has 13 stops, and from the detailed photo above appears to have a keyboard similar to the ones by H. Brooks and Co. on Hillier instruments.
A few similar small instruments are known. One, e-Bay *6680, has the following specification Bass Coupler, Dulciana, Diapason, Vox Humana, Flute, Melodia, Vox Celeste, Octave Coupler.
e-Bay item *5127
This one was for sale in June 2011. The vendor in Bristol suggested American origin, but it clearly has the Jones label including the factory address. Who knows? It has the following specification. Sub Bass, Bass Coupler, Dulcet, Viola, Dulciana, Diapason, Vox Humana, Flute, Melodia, Principal, Echo, Vox Celeste. Octave Coupler, Saxophone
e-Bay item *7286
This Jones American organ appeared for sale in Jan'2015 from a vendor in Pembrokeshire.
e-Bay item *5498
Another for sale in Apr'2017 carries the Bristol Organ labels.
Jones of Oldham, unknown maker, but see e-Bay *9091.
Kilwards of London seem to have been associated with Stevens in some way, but I have been unable to find more information.
See Section 4.3. According to Fritz Gellerman, suction actions were made by the Kelly Organ Co. in Worcester, MA, USA c.1880 onwards and exported to Charles Kelly who added the cases. Were the firms more closely related?
It seems that some of these instruments were possibly sold by Morgan and Scott of London who were suppliers of equipment for religious use.
ROS DB entry 2860
This is a small 1 manual suction instrument.
ROS DB entry 3160
This one is said to be by the ``Kelly Organ Co.'' and has the following stops: Sub Bass, Diapason Bass, Dulcet Bass, Principal Bass, Viola, Vox Humana, Echo, Principal Treble, Dulciana 8', Diapason Treble, Octave Coupler.
Although more ornate than is usual, the case style of both is reminiscent of Malcolm organs.
Percy Latham was a piano, pipe and reed organ maker of 48a Stoke Road, Stoke on Trent. The firm was registered at Haywood Street, Shelton in 1908-16 and 2 Peel Street, Stoke in 1924-36. They were originally known as P. Latham and then Latham and Sherratt in 1912-16 and as Percy Latham in 1924-36. Latham was primarily a pipe organ builder and it is not known how many reed organs he produced. He built an organ for Winsford, Cheshire.
American organ maker of 20 St. James Street, Islington.
Cleveland Road, Northampton (1892) and then 32 Kettering Road (1895), and 27 Abingdon Square, Nothampton (1896). A piano and American organ maker.
See Chapter 12.
Edwin Malkin of 34 Spencer Hill, Wimbledon and later 6 Malcolm Road, Wimbledon was an organ builder, manufactured harmoniums and patent pedal attachements for pianos and installed electric blowers.
Malkin was an agent for Mustel and sold and hired their harmoniums and celestas. He wrote a book on playing the instument .
It is recorded that he hired out 2MP/7 reed organs c.1954. He also advertised in 1932 the Malkin patent pedal 3 manual reed organ from £49.
J.H. Marshall, American organ manufacturer of Regent House, Regent Street, London.
There was also possibly J. Herbert Marshall in Leicester
There was also a Joshua Marshall, a retailer in Yorkshire, see Chapter 29.15.
There was Marshall Bros. Ltd. of 24-25 Paternoster Row, Keswick House, London EC. They sold the Keswick Portable organ and Universal Folding organ. The faded Marshall Brothers label that we have seen indicates that they were manufacturered in USA.
There was also a Joseph Marshall of Preston Park (1900), 12 Kensington Place (1911-15) and 17 Gordon Road Preston Park, Brighton (1919). He was recorded as a brass reed maker.
Finally, there was a J. Marshall of 89 Great College Street, London who was a maker and decorator of false pipes for American organs c.1900.
It is not know if there is any connection between these companies.
American organ maker of 78 King Street, Manchester.
Frederick Mesnage bought the reed organ business from Constant Laurent in 1886 and was based at 85 High Street, Marylebone and then 3 John's Court, Wigmore Street, London until 1891.
Ian Thompson said: Mickleburgh was actually a reed organ builder in Bristol, UK, but I think they did do a lot of stencilling too!. It is now known that they operated from Stokes Croft in Bristol and were piano dealers. In fact they still do, Joop Rodenburgh found their current Web site at http://www.mickleburgh.co.uk. They certainly sold instuments my Malcolm.
Browsing through images on the Flickr Web database one day I found this instrument which was in a dimly lit a junk shop in Bristol.
Another one was for sale on e-Bay *6866 in Marlborough Oct'2007, and an identical one in Shepton Mallet *4257 in Sep'2010.
This one e-Bay *1991 was for sale in Somerset July 2001
The shape of the later instruments is characteristic, with their rather thin almost art deco side panels.
John Edward Minns was born around 1850. He was a pipe and reed organ builder at 32 North Street, Taunton (1879), and 55 North Street, Taunton (1881) with a factory at Bishops Hull. He is known to have built some reed organs with pedals and was also a dealer of music and pianos. With his wife Eliza, he had two daughters and two sons recorded in the 1881 census and his sister Amy and a servant shared their house. John and Amy are recorded as music sellers which must have been their principal business.
The account books from J.E. Mins and Co. from 1890-1934 are in the British Organ Archive.