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IDORA PARK ORGAN Fast facts



Published: Thu, August 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Facts about the former Idora Park Band Organ, which is making music at the Lawrence County Fair through Saturday.

Wurlitizer Model 153 Duplex Orchestral Band Organ, manufactured by the Ralph Wurlitzer Company in North Tonawanda, New York, in the 1920s.

The 54-key organ plays 46 notes, two drums and a cymbal. It has 164 organ pipes and is equipped with a glockenspiel -- a row of small bells on the front of the instrument.

About 169 machines of the model were built, and only three are known to be still in use.

Similar to a player piano, the machine plays music from a paper roll with holes punched in it. The organ uses two rolls of music so audiences wouldn't walk away while one roll rewinds.

An electric motor mounted atop the organ turns a crankshaft, which drives wood and leather bellows. The bellows provide a vacuum control system to read the paper roll and then open valves, allowing compressed air from the bellows to enter selected pipes and make music.

The price of the unit in 1916 was $1,500; today, a unit in good condition sells for $20,000.

The organ began touring for the first time this year. It has appeared in various parades and county fairs and at the Trumbull County Steam Show. Other scheduled appearances include the Carousel Organ Association of America's Band Organ Rally in Jamestown, New York, Aug. 23-25.

Source: DeBence Antique Music World Museum, Franklin, Pa.




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