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Thread: Acme organ

  1. #1
    ppp Pianississmo Bill Kirkes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Acme organ

    Hey, I'm Bill. I hand forge knives, so I don't know much about reed organs. My wife spied one and really thought it was neat, so I bought it for her for Christmas. We both thought it would look good sitting by that window! Neither of us play of course, but we think it will be a good conversation piece. I paid the guy $100 for it and now I'm tinkering with it. The bellows don't seem to be moving enough air over the reeds because I'm pumping and pumping and getting very little sound. I suspect the peddles or the bellows or some mechanical connection in between. I know I have the ability to fix it and I don't want to spend millions to have it professionally restored. My working knowledge of the thing has grown substantially to the point that I got the small front Panal off and the top rear Panal. Thought I got all of the screws that hold the rear bottom Panal but it won't budge. Anyway, I'm not gonna waste any more of you guy's time. Like the title says, it's says Acme organ on the front above the keyboard and, from what I've learned so far, was manufactured by Alleger and Sons around 1865. May be more info inside but that Panal won't let me in! I would appreciate any information someone might have about this organ. I suspect it's not a rare and priceless heirloom, but I thought I would repair a few things and clean it up. Maybe some replace some felt, leather straps, bellows cloth, and things of that nature. I would just like to get to the point to where all I have to do is tune it. I thought about one of the vacuum pumps made especially for these old organs, but that's a ways off yet. Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    ff Fortissimo Silken Path's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Madison, Georgia

    Hi, Bill,

    Welcome to the forum. There's no problem with being a newbie around here... I'm pretty new to reed organs AND to regular organs.

    This is the link to RSoc -- the reed organ society --

    In the left menu, you'll see two database links. Check both of those and you may find pictures and specifications for the organ you have. The link under "Repairing reed organs" goes to the informative "Aunt Maude" essay. Find a similar organ to yours in the databases and we'll go peer at it.

    Books - "Restoring and Collecting Antique Reed Organs" Horton Presley - is a 70s "TAB" book with good information. You'll find "The Reed Organ: It's Design and Construction" by Milne out there, too. This is only great for entertainment - it's about how to design and MAKE a reed organ. The author is slightly pompous. I ordered both from Amazon.

    Bill, it's not uncommon at all for the bellows to need recovering. As for that back lower panel, you might try a rubber hammer and tap, tap, tap until it breaks loose. On my Kimball I took it off and set it aside, and a few minutes later the entire panel fell apart in a clatter. All the glue was gone.

    $100 is what I paid for my Kimball, too. It was minimally playable at purchase, but just replacing the straps and cleaning the reeds got it going. Details are in my thread linked below.

    There are folks that hang guitars on their wall and never learn to play. I hope that one of you will get interested enough to pick out a tune. Nothing SOUNDS like these old reed organs (except maybe a harmonica). The first reed organs were made in France and were called "Orgue Expressif" or "organ expressive." On a piano, expressiveness is related to velocity and the force of impact. Some organs have volume pedals designed to be "worked" and these are called expression pedals. (I like to call them "the gas.") On a reed organ, you can change the sound by pedaling faster or slower, opening or closing stops, or pushing on the volume knee lever. They really are organs expressive.
    -- I'm Lamar - 1967 Allen TC-4 Project (forum thread)
    -- Rodgers W5000C and Hauptwerk - Conn 643 Theater - Hammond M3 and E-112
    -- Roland RD300nx stage piano - 1899 Kimball reed organ (forum thread)
    -- Public domain hymn search:

  3. #3
    ppp Pianississmo Bill Kirkes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Thanks for the fast reply. May have to chat again. Thanks again!

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