- Hugh Davies
An electronic organ, many models of which have been manufactured by the Lowrey Organ Co. in Lincolnwood, near Chicago (later in nearby Deerfield, and recently in nearby LaGrange Park), from about 1949. In 1918 the F.C. Lowrey Co. (founded by Frederick C. Lowrey) purchased the designs for the Choralcelo (an electrically-powered Sostenente piano) and from the 1920s experimented with many types of sound-generating systems in pursuit of a fully electronic organ. The first electronic instrument marketed by Lowrey was the Organo (1949), a small electronic organ controlled from the keyboard of a piano. Since the early 1950s a wide range of organs has been produced, including church, theatre and home organs, as well as electronic pianos, from the mid-1980s based on sampled timbres. In 1977 Lowrey became a division of Norlin Industries; it was acquired by Kawai in 1988.
From 1956 Lowrey organs featured a downward semitone ‘glide’, superseded in the 1980s by portamento and transposition. Many earlier models included a Leslie tremulant loudspeaker; in the 1970s Lowrey replaced this with an electronic equivalent. Advances in electronic technology around ...