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date: 14 December 2019


  • Hugh Davies
  • , revised by Peter Donhauser


Electronic organ developed about 1930–34 by the piano manufacturer Rudolf Stelzhammer and engineer Ernst Werndl under Austrian patents (29 March 1930, 26 August 1931, etc.) granted to Wilhelm Lenk of the University of Vienna. It had two 56-note manuals and a 30-note pedalboard. The sounds were generated by 12 sets of toothed steel tone-wheels (one set per note) rotating in front of electromagnets to generate alternating currents that could be filtered and mixed. Each set comprised 14 wheels with different profiles, yielding a wide range of timbres. The speed of the mechanism, regulated by a variable resistor, could be adjusted to transpose the pitch of the whole instrument within a total range of a 5th. Four switches permitted the connection of loudspeakers that provided different frequency characteristics, and a foot-operated lever added vibrato. Although it was not intended to sound like a pipe organ, the Magneton was regarded as particularly appropriate for church use because it was relatively small and inexpensive and could be placed near the choir. Lenk obtained a US patent for the device in ...

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Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau