The Kilgen Wonder Organ


Chronicling the Restoration of Kilgen Theatre Organ Opus 4049

 

History

  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.

Stoplist

Photographs

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THE KILGEN WONDER ORGAN

Opus # 4049, Style U010


Pipe Ranks

Tibia 97 pipes (?)

Flute 85 pipes (?)

Vox Humana 73 pipes

Viol 73 pipes

Tuned Percussion

Marimba/Harp 49 bars

Chimes  5 tubes

PEDAL ORGAN

Bdn 16

Tibia 8

Cello 8

Bass Flute 8

Tibia 4

Flute 4

Bass Drum

Cymbal

Timpani

Acc/Ped Coupler

Accompaniment Double Touch

Tibia 8

Tibia 4  


ACCOMPANIMENT

Harp

Marimba

Snare Drum

Tambourine

Castanets

Bdn 16

Tibia 8

Viol 8

Quint 8 (synth)

Flute 8

Vox Hum 8

Tibia 4

Salic 4

Flute 4

Vox 4

Picc 2


SOLO

Harp

Tibia 16 TC

ConViol 16 TC

Bourdon 16

Vox Hum 16 TC

Tibia 8

Orch Oboe 8 (synth)

Viol 8

Quint 8 (synth)

Flute 8

Vox Hum 8

Tibia 4

Viol 4

Flute 4

Vox 4

Picc 2

General Tremolo     OTHER

5 chimes, played from spring loaded stop tabs

Non-Tuned Percussions (six toe studs)

Siren

Bird Whistle

Sleigh Bells

Castanets

Tambourine

Indian Drum

Swell Pedal

Crescendo Pedal


Photographs
bass drum
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).
kilgenpercussions.jpgThe Toy Counter. From left to right are visible: Tambourine, Castanets, Indian Drum, Sleigh Bells, Snare Drum. Not visible: Siren, Bird Whistle.
trap chest interior
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.
toy counter re-assembly
Here the toy counter is re-assembled after restoration of individual components.
harp.jpgClose-up view of the pneumatics that operate the Harp/Marimba. sso and harp
Swell shade pneumatics (bottom) and half of the Harp/Marimba action (top).


jig

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!
sirensiren afterTwo 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.
magnets
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.




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Last updated 15.3.2009

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