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Thread: Mason & Hamlin “Style 454”

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    Mason & Hamlin “Style 454”

    Hello organ lovers

    We just found ourselves a Mason & Hamlin Reed organ and wondered if anyone can tell us anything about it, like how old it is?

    I’ll post some pictures once I’m able, but meanwhile, here is the information I have.

    Its a Mason & Hamlin. The music stand opens up to reveal a handy storage cabinet, and inside is stencilled “Style 454 No. 163515” . I’m guessing that’s the serial number. I haven’t looked for other marks inside yet but I can’t find references to this style number online.


    It has 12 stops: Forte dia Mel, octave coupler, sub base, diapason, viola, viola dolce, Vox Humana, flute, Melodia, serephone, Voix Celeste, forte vio.FlSer
    There is a knee swell on the right side and a “full organ” on the left knee.

    It more or less works, which surprised me. 3 of the keys don’t make any sound, no matter what stops are out. Some of the stops don’t seem to work at the all. The octave coupler stop doesn’t move and the Vox Humana doesn’t feels like it’s connected to anything.

    We took the back off and vacuumed the dust and spiders out. It’s been a garage for a very long time. I’m getting up the courage to delve a bit deeper and see if I can work out what is wrong the keys that don’t sound. Hopefully it’s just dust!

    We’ve never owned one of these before. My husband bought it on a whim because he liked the look of it and the seller only wanted $50 for it. But now that we have it, we’d like to know a bit about it and hopefully get it working.

    We are in Tasmania, Australia, if there are any enthusiasts or restorers that would be able to help us with it.

  2. #2
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    I’ve had the back off now and vacuumed out a lot of dust and the odd spider. Also found some numbers engraved. Still can’t post pictures but it says “111” and below that “4611”. Any idea what that means?

    I’d like to get to the reeds to see if there any dust in the ones for the notes that don’t play. Where are they? It’s not obvious with the back off. I thought maybe I could see them when I took off the front panel under the keyboard, but no way to get them out and I couldn’t see the bass ones. Seems like a pretty basic question, but I am a newbie. Once I know where to look I’ll figure out how to get to them.

    Pictures will follow when the moderation lets me.

    Kath

  3. #3
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    Inside the front and the back are hinges panels of varnished wood (probably dirty) with red felt on the lower edge. They sit at a 45 degree angle; these are the swell shades, which open when the RH knee lever is pressed. Hold them open as high as you can w/o forcing them. Prop them up.
    You will then be able to open each stop mute from the knobs on the stop rail, and see the heel ends of the rows of reeds. You will need a reed puller tool to withdraw them to clean the dust and dirt.

  4. #4
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathP View Post
    Pictures will follow when the moderation lets me.
    Kath,

    Welcome to the Forum! Your first few posts and any content will need to be approved by a Moderator. As you can probably appreciate, it is necessary to protect the Forum from inappropriate content and users.

    When you make your next post, click on Go Advanced, and below the entry box you'll see a place to Manage Attachments. Once you have attached the photos to your post, I (or one of the other Moderators) will approve your post and attachments. I look forward to seeing the photos you have of your Mason & Hamlin!

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  5. #5
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    Hi everyone

    Thanks for the instructions SubBase. Right where you said they'd be! Also helped me figure out exactly what is going on back there. Still a lot to learn.

    Here are some photos.

    96875898-A7F2-49E9-8A6A-35C19C61CE48.jpgBFED2709-431D-4CAD-B176-37ABBDF4FEED.jpg



    I found the sub base mechanism inside a box and its in really good condition.

    Is there something missing from the top of the Vox Humana? Its not working properly. The flap spins whether the knob is in or out. There is a hole in the top of it and the wire lever that moves over the hole when the stop is pulled doesn't connect with anything.
    D49EA720-CCB0-4E01-B990-CF71BF86FDC4.jpg71854939-06C0-4D65-BFA2-B96983A14AD1.jpg


    Does anyone have some advice (with pictures?) for making a reed puller?
    What are your thoughts on fashioning an extension for my vacuum cleaner and vacuuming along the edge of the reeds? Is this likely to damage them?

  6. #6
    ppp Pianississmo KathP's Avatar
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    Found this short video on making a reed puller
    https://youtu.be/vtqIl_2qmi0

    Is this a good idea?

    Also read that you can bend the end of a screw driver, but this looks easier. Thoughts?

  7. #7
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
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    Sure - that's how one forum member made a reed puller for one of his organs. First, though, look in the bottom nooks and crannies to see if you already have a reed puller or two (some reeds use different sizes). I've read that "all" reed organs came with one.
    -- I'm Lamar - Rodgers W5000C - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-111
    -- 1899 Kimball pump organ (forum thread) - Still haven't found the headphone jack...
    -- Public domain hymn search: https://songselect.ccli.com/search/r...t=publicdomain

  8. #8
    Moderator myorgan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silken Path View Post
    Sure - that's how one forum member made a reed puller for one of his organs. First, though, look in the bottom nooks and crannies to see if you already have a reed puller or two (some reeds use different sizes). I've read that "all" reed organs came with one.
    Reed pullers are also available on *Bay sometimes. Occasionally, they're actually the originals with the reed puller on one end, and a flat screwdriver on the other end.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 4 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony)
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

  9. #9
    ff Fortissimo SubBase's Avatar
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    some even came with two reed pullers. The smaller one is for the narrow eolian harp reeds.
    DSC04034.jpg
    You may use a vacuum of course; take care not to suck up any small crumbs of wood that are inevitably loose at the ends of the reed slots.

  10. #10
    ff Fortissimo Organfella's Avatar
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    Hi Kath and welcome to the mob!

    You have a nice organ there and will certainly enjoy tinkering with it. You already have some sound advice and your enthusiasm is obvious. I need to say something that should be said - Stay away with the business end of your vacuum cleaner from the open reed cells! You can ruin reeds by sucking so rather be safe there.

    I made reed pullers from 6" nails by filing down the heads to fit the respective slots in the reed bases. The nail stems are not as comfortable to work with as a proper puller with a grip but they do work. A 90 degree upward bend in the stem facilitates the hold on the puller. For stubborn reeds I simply grip the stem with a vise-grip or pliers being careful not to slip and gouge the wood surrounds. Pulled all the reeds that needed pulling with nary a problem. Nails are cheap if not free and you can make any size you want.

    Good luck and let us hear some music when you are ready!

    Nico
    "Don't make war, make music!" Hammonds, Lowreys, Yamaha's, Gulbransens, Baldwin, Technics, Johannus. Reed organs. Details on request...

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