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Thread: Tubular pneumatic action

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    Senior Member Austin766's Avatar
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    Tubular pneumatic action



    What was/is tubular pneumatic action, what made it attractive in it's time, and what is the difference between tubular pneumatic and electro pneumatic?
    </p>

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    Senior Member Havoc's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action

    If you want to know more about it than you ever wanted to know I can recommend the books by Audsley. It contains a very detailed description of both systems.

    Tubular pneumatics works about as follows:
    - you have a small valve under each key
    - the output of this valve is connected with a tube to a larger bellow under/inside*the windchest
    - if you push on a key, then the bellow under the*windchest*opens*the valve under the pipe and the pipe speaks.
    (this is over-simplified but you get the gist)

    There have been systems with pressure and vacuum etc. The advantage at that time was that you could bridge large distances and still have a light action since you only had to actuate that small valve under the key. Also all imaginable couplings and pre-sets were possible, something could not be done with mechanics (or not as easy). Big disadvantage was the huge delay between striking a key and he pipe speaking. I have a few times played on such an organ and it is horrible. You are playing with 10's of milliseconds delay.

    Electro pneumatic was the next step. In that case your key closes an electric circuit that opens a small valve below windchest. That valve actuates a bellow and that bellow opens the valve to the pipe. So it is only the last step that is pneumatic. Coupling and pre-sets are electric as is the keyboard. But the last command of the pipe valve is pneumatic. There is a lot less delay as all those pneumatic tubes to the windchest are removed.

    A pure electric action uses an electric valve coupled to the pipe.

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    Senior Member Austin766's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action

    What are the titles of the Audsley books?

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    Moderator soubasse32's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action



    Tubular-pneumatic actions can be horribly slow to speak, unlike Mr. Audsley. []</P>


    Caveat emptor: Audsleyis known for histurgid writing style and a bizarre tonal philosophy;he is quite opinionated,and much of what he writes is rather dated. Nevertheless, his books are worth having.</P>


    http://www.ohscatalog.org/audartofor.html This hassome wonderfullydetailed illustrations.</P>


    http://www.ohscatalog.org/geasauorof20.html</P>


    http://www.ohscatalog.org/auorstandtha.html</P>

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    Senior Member Havoc's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action

    Caveat emptor: Audsley is known for his turgid writing style and a bizarre tonal philosophy; he is quite opinionated, and much of what he writes is rather dated. Nevertheless, his books are worth having.
    LOL!!! You mean like telling that there has never been any decent organ building in France and then refering the rest of his book to the writer of the*only*worth*book*on*organ building*Dom Bedos and his dear friend Cavaille-Coll?*You*have*to*place*it*in*its*timeframe.*
    After*all*he*was*an*architect,*not*an*organ*builde r....

    While it is dated it still gives a very good overview of traditional organ building and the arcane art of pneumatic organs. Took me days to decipher those pneumatic plumbings.

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    Moderator soubasse32's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action



    One of Audsley's pet phrases refers to conservative, tradition-bound organbuilders as"groove-loving tradesmen"...! </P>


    I don't know why that sticks with me, other than the fact that he mentions it at every opportunity. [:|]</P>

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    Moderator soubasse32's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action



    [quote user="Havoc"]
    Caveat emptor: Audsley is known for his turgid writing style and a bizarre tonal philosophy; he is quite opinionated, and much of what he writes is rather dated. Nevertheless, his books are worth having.
    LOL!!! You mean like telling that there has never been any decent organ building in France and then refering the rest of his book to the writer of theonlyworthbookonorgan buildingDom Bedos and his dear friend Cavaille-Coll?Youhavetoplaceitinitstimeframe.
    Afterallhewasanarchitect,notanorganbuilder.... [/quote]</P>


    I think Audsley's disdain of the French is typical (especially for a British subject during that time), though hecan't help butadmire their genius.</P>

  8. #8

    Re: Tubular pneumatic action



    If pictures help....</p>

    This is a 2 manual estey tubular-pneumatic organ that resides in Hanover, MA. It needs complete restoration. This is the back of the console:</p>

    </p>

    This is the Great windchest. The wind conductor feeds the console.</p>

    </p>

    I believe this perticular action works on pressure. When the air is on it feeds through the tubes and keeps all the small bellows inflated. When you press a key it exhausts the valve of the corresponding chest and note and it plays (depended on the stop you have on). Of course I could be wrong but thats what I get out of it. Once again this organ is in very tough shape.
    </p>

    This organ has a reverse console attached to the case which I am told is rare for Estey.</p>

    Hope that helps!
    </p>

  9. #9
    Senior Member Austin766's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action

    Oy vay! So I would be correct in assuming that tubular pneumatic went out of "fashion" (as it were) because it was slow and a nightmare to plumb?

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    Senior Member Menschenstimme's Avatar
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    Re: Tubular pneumatic action



    Colloquially expressed, but essentially correct.</P>


    [Y]</P>

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