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date: 22 November 2019

Casson, Thomas locked

  • Eric Blom

Extract

(b Liverpool, Oct 19, 1842; d nr Brentford, Sept 1910). English organ builder. He was a banker by profession, but retired early to Denbigh, North Wales, to devote himself to organ building and to the development of his ideas on organ construction, about which he published a number of pamphlets. He advocated more adequate Pedal organs largely by means of borrowing and extension, better stop control (he invented the ‘Pedal Help’, an automatic control of Pedal ranks), and a greater use of swell enclosure. Most organ builders were inclined to ignore his work as that of an amateur but some adopted elements of his ideas. The largest organ constructed on his system was that for the Church of the Sacred Heart, Omagh, Co. Tyrone (1899; three manuals, 31 stops). In 1887 Casson and J. Mewburn Levien founded in London a firm that came to be called the Positive Organ Company, which as late as the 1920s built many small organs from which, on a single manual, special melody-and-bass effects could be obtained; these inexpensive but durable instruments, some with transposing devices and foot-operated bellows, were distributed through a network of dealers. Casson was not averse to tracker action on small instruments, but in most respects, including tonal design, he was boldly inventive....

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Proceedings of the Musical Association
Musical Times