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date: 14 November 2019

Orgatronlocked

  • Hugh Davies

Extract

An electronic organ developed by the pianist and composer Frederick Albert Hoschke (1876–1936) and manufactured by the Everett Piano Co. in South Haven, Michigan, between 1935 and 1940. The Orgatron was taken over in 1946 by Wurlitzer, who used an improved and modified version of the principle in their electronic organs until the mid-1960s. The Orgatron was designed for use in such venues as small churches, funeral parlours, lodges and homes, and was the first electronic organ to be manufactured on a large scale. Several one- and two-manual models were produced: the STM-1, for example, offered the resources of a small standard church organ with two five-octave manuals, a 32-note pedalboard and five stops; it also included tubular chimes. The sounds were generated by reeds installed in a soundproof chamber and operated by suction; the vibrations of the reeds were converted by electrostatic pickups into voltage variations and made audible over a loudspeaker (this sound-generating system was based on a patent by Benjamin F. Miessner, with additional patents by Hoschke). Tremolo was produced by means of a motorized paddle that rotated in front of the loudspeaker. In the 1920s Hoschke had been director of the Springfield National Institute of Musical Art and earlier, president of the L.M. Pierce Piano Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts....

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