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date: 14 November 2019

Photona [WCAU organ; Eremeeff organ]locked

  • Hugh Davies

Extract

[WCAU organ; Eremeeff organ]

Photoelectric keyboard instrument resembling an electronic organ, developed by Ivan Eremeeff in collaboration with the conductor Leopold Stokowski at the radio station WCAU in Philadelphia in the period 1933–5. Mechanically somewhat simpler than its predecessor, the Syntronic organ, the Photona had two six-octave manuals (with optional pedals) and 12 stops giving different timbres. 12 rotating photoelectric tone-wheels, interrupting beams of light from 900 small six-volt bulbs, generated the sounds. In addition to pedals controlling volume and vibrato, there was a button for producing percussive attacks. The operation of a series of controls made whole chords sound when a single key was played, a feature that anticipated the later commercial chord organs. The Photona was commissioned by WCAU and received considerable publicity after its launch in ...

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