Chronicling the Restoration of Kilgen Theatre Organ Opus 4049
While the Kilgen Organ Company
of St. Louis, Missouri, is not well-known as a manufacturer of theatre
pipe organs, it did build many, some of which still exist. Opus 4049 is
a smaller model with four ranks of pipes and percussions. It was
originally installed in the Albertson Theatre, Kane, Pennsylvania, in
1928. Some years later it was removed and installed in a man's
woodshop, where the chest legs were shortened and some minor
modifications made to the wind system. It was eventually sold to a
musical instrument technician in Buffalo, New York, who had it in
storage. In June of 2005, the organ was purchased by Fr. Thomas Buffer
and moved to the Jubilee
Museum at Holy Family Parish, Columbus, Ohio. Subsequently it moved to Fr. Buffer's residence at St. Stephen the Martyr parish in Columbus. A careful restoration
is underway as time permits.
Questions? Want to help? send mail.
Opus # 4049, Style U010
Tibia 97 pipes (?)
Flute 85 pipes (?)
Vox Humana 73 pipes
Viol 73 pipes
Bass Flute 8
Accompaniment Double Touch
Quint 8 (synth)
Vox Hum 8
Tibia 16 TC
ConViol 16 TC
Vox Hum 16 TC
Orch Oboe 8 (synth)
Quint 8 (synth)
Vox Hum 8
General Tremolo OTHER
5 chimes, played from spring loaded stop tabs
Non-Tuned Percussions (six toe studs)
The Bass Drum and Crash Cymbal action. The large wooden beater is for a single stroke on the Bass Drum; the two small beaters are for the Timpani effect (Bass Drum Roll).
|The Toy Counter. From left to right are visible: Tambourine, Castanets, Indian Drum, Sleigh Bells, Snare Drum. Not visible: Siren, Bird Whistle.|
Interior view of the toy counter windchest, pre-restoration. Visible are two brown pillow pneumatics that collapse when current is supplied to the action magnet. When the pneumatic collapses, a valve opens, releasing air that operates a drum, whistle, or other sound effect.
Restoration of the chest requires new leather on the pneumatics and new gasket material (white). Also the valve disks will receive new soft leather facings to ensure a tight seal.
Here the toy counter is re-assembled after restoration of individual components.
|Close-up view of the pneumatics that operate the Harp/Marimba.||
Swell shade pneumatics (bottom) and half of the Harp/Marimba action (top).
This is a fixture we built to hold the pneumatics square and parallel while we replaced the leather with new material (white sheepskin). It worked great!
|Two views of the siren. On the
left, what it looked like when it arrived. On the right,
after the siren was polished and the faceplate shellacked. Later I replaced the siren with an identical new one made by the original manufacturer: the Acme Siren Company (really) of England. The white material under
the siren and faceplate is thick blotter paper used for gasket material.
Here is some "inside information!" This photo shows the interior of the main windchest that supplies air to some of the organ pipes. At the bottom of the photo are electromagnets that lift small disks called armatures. This causes the tan leather disks, called pouches, to collapse, pulling down the valve wire and admitting air into the pipes. Rebuilding will require releathering the magnet armatures, removing and replacing old leather pouches, and replacing the red-and-white valve material. Oh yes -- we have to remove and replace the old cotton-covered wiring as well. All in a day's work.