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Our technical team (the T-Team) does made already severall hours/days/months
of work on this beautiful organ to be as it is.

To share our adventures of this organ we had, here our story.

 This Page contains a pretty lot of photo's. This means by slower internetconnections, a longer time to load.


In September,October 2005 we heard from our fiend and committee member Jan de Boer that the Compton organ in Middelburg had to be taken out. Were we willing to help out?
We spontaneously agreed and on the 4th of November 2005 we enthousiasticly began taking the organ out helped by a number of committee members and members of the Zeeuwse Theatre Organ Society, a caravan on a campingsite as starting point. All this travelling, such a loss of time!
On the 11th of November one of the helpers came to the site with a big lorry and under great interest of the local radio the removal began. After having taken the biggest part of the organ such as pipes, main chests etc. out at the storage space in Hillegom, we drove off to our final destination: the Kunkels Museum in Haarlem.
While plans were being made for the construction of the organ chambers we already started to overhaul the mainchests: cleaning the magnet covers and check them for any rust, testing the magnets and mending any broken ones and removing the glue- and packing remains from the chests in order to put the new motors back in as soon as possible.
This must be done with pinpoint accuracy in order to let the pallets close their holes properly. If this doesn’t happen and you put the pipes back and turn on the wind: the organ starts to play automatically, the so-called ‘ciphers’. The result is a lot of extra work, often in the most impossible positions.
 

 
  Above the toilets (on the left) will the organchambers be build. Start of the building. The walls of the organchamber.

 

 

Early January 2006 all eleven main chests were completely overhauled.
In the second half of January the construction of the organ chambers began. Early February the shutter frames were being fitted and late February, early March the organ chambers were ready.
Because the sub-soil was very dusty and we didn’t fancy any stuffy pipes, we put in click flooring before the main wind supply came in. We already made the supply at home so we only had to assemble it in Haarlem. On the supply the regulators that have been brought to England to be overhauled will be placed.

 

 

 

The regulators are a not to be underrated part of a theatre organ.The blower fills the main supply with air and if there wouldn’t be any regulators between the main supply and the main chests, all the pipes would be blown against the ceiling.
A spectaculair sight, I’m sure, but don’t recommend it because of the high repair costs.
Because there was still being thought about the classification of the organ chambers, we went on to put in the wind supply of 35,5 cm. in diameter, yes Compton organs need a lot of breath, putting in the shutter blades and renewing the motors that go with it, 40 of them in all.
Every frame has 10 blades and every blade has a ‘supply’ motor and a ‘brake’ motor, otherwise they start banging so much when they open and close.

 

 

 

 

 

The relay was put in and the Tibia 16’pipes ( the only wooden ones, all the rest is metal ) were being cleaned and patched up at our place. The many cracks that became visible made clear that it was a bare necessitty.
Meanwhile the overhauled regulators were ready to be put in, together with a seventh, kindly donated by organist Len Rawle. The main chests and wind supplies were put in place. Mid September 2006 we were visited by two Englishmen who both know a lot about Comptons and who helped lift the main chests a bit more and start up the regulators.

 

 

The wiring of the main chests were soldered back onto the relay, a precise and time consuming job.
In Novenber the pipes and other organ parts were collected from Hillegom and brought to Haarlem.
The pipes were put back on their chests and the ‘clean playing’of the contacts both in the console and relay, adjusting the shutters, motors, magnets and so on, and so on began. Around this time our team was reinforced by two enthousiastic technicians who started working on the MIDI system but they were also willing to lend a hand where and when it was needed.

Early February 2007 the console and shutters were being painted and decorated and the result is beautiful! Also the tremulants and toy counter were being overhauled.

 

 

In February, at the suggestion of Len Rawle, the purchase of an open flute was made. A matching chest was found and adjusted. In March the pipes of the open flute were collected from England, checked and repaired where necessary. The overhauling of the toy counter was completed and was fitted in. This was a task of trial and error in order to find the right place for it.
In July two new tremulants were bought and put in place in August. Around this time we also started to make the cables of the chests ready for the MIDI system and a number of damaged, broken pipes were being fixed.
In September Len Rawle and an intonation expert are coming over to tune the organ properly and eventually give her her unique timbre.
The grand opening will take place on the 3rd of November.

 

 

 

 

Yep, at last, the Compton gets her digital remote control. Why ?
The old relaypanel is worn-out. This panel is also approx. eighty years old. Through electronics this is very old.
The relays had to pull piece by piece many strips and contacts. It's almost played-out.

 

The Cables from the console to the organchambers is also old and worn-out. Especially the connectors at the rear of the console.
On the picture here above you see the circuit board which translates analog signals into digital information.

The Solid State (as the digital information is called) and the Midi will be supported by the "OPUS two" system.
A very reliable system that is used in many Churchorgans and Theatreorgans.

 

An additional advantage is that the thick cable from the console to the organ chamber will be gone. Not necessary anymore.
There will be fewer problems in the contacts, connectors, magnetic induction and of course ....
The new cable is much thinner (as thick as a microphone cable). So we can give the Comptonconsole a better place during the concert.
All controls are functioning perfectly, not falter anymore.
We are able to record the concerts via MIDI in order to replay the concert later.
Also, anything is reprogrammable. So if we want to add a register or function, no problem.
 

Talk about age ...
During the umpteenth time we want to move the table we heard a sudden
"plop .... Krrrrr".
The rubber band of a transmission wheel had fallen off.
Completely destroyed. You could just break the rubber.
So immediately we have placed four new wheels.

How do you lift and secure the bottom of the table when you replace the wheels ??
 

The progress of the Solid State and Midi:

It goes well with the Solid State and Midi:
We already have several instruments connected to the digital control.
Step by step the instruments are connected over on this system.

The following instruments are already connected on the Solid State:

  Indeed. We also have a Vibraphone.
Together with our friends of team Boskoop we have made of two old incomplete Vibraphones one complete Vibraphone.
Works very fine. A lovely warm sound.
Some things we had to improvise. For instance the hammers. These were incomplete and poor.
So we have made new hammers. Any idea where the hammers are made of?

Right, golf balls. It works great. Sounds exactly right.

We even have played midi files with the connected instruments. Great progress.
Everything works much faster, safer and more direct. What a relief. Such a great success.
We have a strong and quick miditest played on the piano. That gives quite a kick

 
The old relay board. On the bottom you see the relay windings, and above the contacts   One of the two new Solid State circuitboards

The old relay board, we have four of it, have done many years of loyal service.
But we see that all is faltering. The relays have one long strip that had to pull down many contacts.
While playing the organ, we hear all defects. This had to stop. Therefore, we switched to a new way. The Solid State.
We had a choice. Authentic but can't keep playing well and soon there will be no organ anymore or transfer to the new way of control what many theatre organs already have for years.

Lots of the piano airbellows were torn, leaking and dried.
A miracle that the piano had passed the heavy Midi Test.
George, one of our team, has committed himself to overhaul the whole pianorank.
That has been a lot of work. But it has become very beautiful.

 

All air bellows were cleaned, put new leather on it, new wooden strips were made, re-wired.
Too many to mention. Take a look and count for yourself how often this is done.
The right picture shows that the tie rods, attached to the underside of the piano key, again be attached to the wooden strips.
In short, press a button on the Compton console, and:

 

Everything ready? Then again we move the piano to the place where it's come up well.
Just physical lifting was not an option. The piano is too heavy.

We hope you enjoyed the flashback ‘from start to finish’ and have some idea of the work an organ brings.

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