Author Topic: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ  (Read 385 times)

Peter Anderson

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No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« on: January 25, 2019, 05:16:03 PM »
A brief history of the electronic organ

I expect you have heard about the little lad who came home from school and asked his mother, "Where did I come from?"   She had expected this major question, so sat the lad down and carefully explained all about the birds and the bees.
He paid rapt attention, until she had finished and then he said, "That is amazing, but my friend Tom, comes from Manchester."
I suppose the moral is be sure that you know what the question is before you answer it,     But that is another story.

In this posting, I seek to show the stages in the development of the electronic organ, featuring some of the significant instruments that were manufactured and the people whose expertise, ingenuity and brilliant creativity played such a major part in getting us to the modern home organs, that we now tend to take for granted.

Seriously, have you ever really considered how the remarkable electric organ like our Yamaha AR came to be?

Electronic organ, (aka electric organ or electrophonic organ), is a keyboard musical instrument in which tone is generated by electronic circuits and radiated by loudspeaker.  This instrument, which emerged in the early 20th century, was designed as an economical and compact substitute for the much larger and more complex pipe organ.

The electronic organ resembles a spinet, or upright piano in size and general shape.
Most instruments of this general type rely upon electronic oscillators, which are circuits carrying an alternating current at a specific frequency, to produce their sound.

Each oscillator is capable of frequency variation for different pitches and is capable of reproducing a single melodic line.
The instrument’s multiple oscillators make it capable of reproducing music having multiple parts.

An important invention was the Tone-wheel.
Here is, I hope a simple explanation of what a tone-wheel is and how it works.

A tone-wheel or tonewheel is a simple electromechanical apparatus for generating electric musical notes in electromechanical organ instruments such as the Hammond Organ.   (We'll obviously include the famous Hammond organ, much later in this post).

Goldschmidt tone wheel (1910), used as an early beat frequency oscillator

The tone-wheel was invented around 1910 by Rudolph Goldschmidt and was first used in pre-vacuum tube radio receivers as a beat frequency oscillator (BFO) to make continuous wave radiotelegraphy (Morse code) signals audible.

Here is a simple diagram to show the basics of a tone-wheel

Tone-wheel diagram

The tone-wheel assembly consists of a synchronous AC motor and an associated gearbox that drives a series of rotating disks.   Each disk has a given number of smooth bumps at the rim.   Each of these generate a specific frequency as the disk rotates close to a pickup assembly that consists of a magnet and electromagnetic coil.

As each bump in the wheel approaches the pickup, it temporarily concentrates the magnetic field near it, and thus strengthens the magnetic field that passes through the coil, inducing a current in the coil by the process of electromagnetic induction.    As the bump moves past, this concentrating effect is reduced again, the magnetic field weakens slightly, and an opposite current is induced in the coil.   Thus, the frequency of the current in the coil depends on the speed of rotation of the disk and the number of bumps.

Typically, the coil is connected to an amplifier through a network of switches, contacts, resistor banks, and transformers which can be used to mix the fluctuating current representing the note from one coil with similar currents from other coils representing other notes.      A single fundamental frequency can thus be combined with one or more harmonics to produce complex sounds.     Crude types of tone-wheels were first developed for and used in the Telharmonium (see next Reply) circa 1896 and later in the original Hammond organs.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No 103 - A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2019, 02:46:55 PM »
The Telharmonium

Now regarded as the first type of electronic organ, was the Telharmonium.   
It is also called the Dynamophone, and was the earliest musical instrument to generate sound electrically.


Telharmonium

It was invented in the United States by Thaddeus Cahill and introduced in 1896, but not patented until the following year.


Thaddeus Cahill

Cahill built three versions:
The Mark I version, which weighed 7 tons.
The Mark II version weighed almost 200 tons, as did the
Mark III.

Therefore the Mark II and MkIII Telharmoniums, each weighed over 1700 times heavier that the Yamaha AR100.

Each was a considerable advancement over the features of its predecessor.

They managed to produce clear sounds, using a type of tone-wheel that was developed from an electronic sine wave.
However, it was not restricted to such simple sounds.      Each 'tone-wheel' of the instrument corresponded to a single note, and, to broaden its possibilities, Cahill added several extra tone-wheels to add harmonics to each note.

This, combined with organ-like stops and multiple keyboards, as well as a number of foot pedals,  and because, the Telharmonium was polyphonic, it meant that every sound could be sculpted and reshaped. 
 
The instrument was also noted for its ability to reproduce the sounds of common orchestral woodwind instruments such as the flute, bassoon, clarinet, and the cello.    The Telharmonium needed 670 kilowatts of power and had 153 keys that allowed it to work properly.

For comparison the Yamaha AR100 requires 340 watts, while the AR80 gets by on a mere 200W.
Therefore the Telharmonium needed over 1970 times as much power as the Yamaha AR100!
And an even greater 3,350 times more power than the AR80!

I know which instrument I'd rather have.


A small number of performances in front of a live audience were given in New York City (at the aptly named "Telharmonic Hall", at 39th Street and Broadway), in addition to many telephone transmissions.   They were well received by the public in 1906, and the performer would sit at a console (see picture above) to control the instrument.

The actual mechanism of the instrument itself was so large it occupied an entire room, with wires from the controlling console fed discreetly through holes in the floor of an auditorium into the instrument room itself, which was housed in the basement beneath the concert hall.

The Telharmonium was an important precursor to the modern electronic musical equipment for a number of ways.

For instance, its sound output came in the form of connecting ordinary telephone receivers to large paper cones.   This was a primitive form of loudspeaker.
Cahill was noted for saying that electromagnetic diaphragms were the most preferable means of outputting its distinctive sound.

The Telharmonium's demise came for several reasons.   

The instrument was immense in size and weight.   This was the age before vacuum tubes had been invented, so it required large electric dynamos, which consumed great amounts of power in order to generate sufficiently strong audio signals.   Additionally, problems began to arise when telephone broadcasts of Telharmonium music were subject to crosstalk and unsuspecting telephone users would be interrupted by strange electronic music.

By 1912, interest in this revolutionary instrument had waned, and Cahill's company was declared unsuccessful in 1914.

Cahill died in 1934, and although his younger brother retained the Mark I for decades, he was, perhaps, unsurprisingly, unable to interest anyone in it.   This particular machine was the last version to eventually be scrapped, in 1962

This electrophonic instrument was of the electromechanical type, and, as mentioned above, it used rotating electromagnetic tone wheels (and thus was a predecessor of the Hammond organ – more about those much later, in this posting) to produce electric impulses that were converted into sound by telephone receivers. 

It was soon superseded by more practical electronic instruments, but it is still considered to be the first electromechanical musical instrument.

In the next Reply we look at other types of electronic organ, starting with the Orgue Des Ondes, each of which were imporatant stages in progressing to the modern versions that we know and appreciate today.

Peter

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Re: No 103 - A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 08:11:38 AM »

Orgue Des Ondes

The Orgue Des Ondes was the first successful electronic organ and was developed in 1928 in France by Edouard Coupleux and Armand Givelet.   It used electronic oscillators in place of the pipes of a conventional organ and was operated with keyboards and a pedal board.


Armand Givelet playing the Orgue Des Ondes in 1928

It was named the Orgue Des Ondes, which translates to Wave Organ, and was met with praise from the scientific community and some musicians, but also came under fierce criticism as being a frivolous invention or fairground toy competing in the serious world of religious music.     Even the President of the Republic, Albert Lebrun joined in the criticism.


The Orgue Des Ondes installed at the Poste Parisien, Paris, France c 1928

Part of the problem was that although Coupleux and Givelet had created a futuristic instrument, they had placed it in a traditional and conservative environment, unwilling to countenance the replacement of the ‘sacred’ and timeless pipe organ with a synthetic newcomer.

For example, it was only in the 1960s that The Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church admitted the use of electronic organs in sacred music but emphasised the preeminence of the pipe organ, “with the knowledge and consent of the competent territorial authority, provided that the instruments are suitable for sacred use.”

Despite it’s initial warm reception, the “Wave Organ” eventually succumbed to the practicality and portability of the American built Hammond Organ (yes – be patient we’ll get to that),  designed for the Jazz age and home user rather than the limited religious market.    The Hammond eventually bankrupted the Givelet-Coupleux partnership in 1935.

In the next Reply we consider the Rangertone.

Peter

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Re: No 103 - A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 09:10:08 AM »
Another notable early electronic organ was the Rangertone, invented in 1931 by Richard H. Ranger of the United States.   As you see, it bears a strong resemblance to modern day organs.

The Rangertone Organ was a large electronic tone-wheel based organ developed by the electronics engineer and pioneer of audio recording Richard Ranger in the 1930’s.     The instrument was marketed by Ranger from his own company Rangertone Incorporated on Verona Ave. in Newark, NJ.


Rangertone Organ with Richard Ranger playing it

Very few of the instruments were sold.     After the failure to sell the instrument, Ranger went on to develop a series of high fidelity phonograph devices that never went into production.    During WW2 Ranger spent time investigating German electronic equipment for the US Army and it was here that he picked up and removed for his own use the German AEG Magnetophone tape recorder.  (Widely regarded as the first ever tape recorder.)

He returned to the U.S., and in 1947 announced his new Rangertone Tape recorder, based on the Magnetophone, which finally gave the Rangertone Inc., the financial success it needed until squeezed out of the domestic market by larger companies such as Ampex.

In the next reply we investigate the Orgatron.      Yes that is Precisely what it was called!

Peter

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Re: No 103 - A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2019, 08:04:11 AM »
Orgatron

In 1934 the Orgatron was introduced by Frederick Albert Hoschke (1876–1936) and manufactured by the Everett Piano Co. in South Haven, Michigan, between 1935 and 1940.     In this organ, tone was generated by reeds that vibrated by electrically fan-blown air, with the vibrations picked up electrostatically and amplified.


Orgatron

Since it was difficult for the early engineers to develop a cost effective and stable oscillating circuit, Everett’s team chose to use a free reed vibrating, with an induction pickup to create that stable oscillation.      Then this signal, not the sound of the reed itself, was voiced and amplified to create the tones for the organ.    This was very clever, but it also produced quite a heavy sound.


A couple of views of the Orgatron's interior

So the sounds were generated by reeds installed in a soundproof chamber and operated by suction, and the vibrations of the reeds were converted by electrostatic pickups into voltage variations in order to be made audible over a loudspeaker.      This sound-generating system was based on a patent by Benjamin F. Miessner, with additional patents by Hoschke.

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, like the STM-1, for example, and it 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.     

Tremolo was produced by means of a motorized paddle that rotated in front of the loudspeaker. 


By the 1960s organ manufacturers had expanded their technology, supplanting vacuum tubes with transistors and solid-state circuitry.

Circuits and components designed to operate television and radio receivers and high-fidelity phonographs were adapted to produce music.

In the 1970s digital microcircuitry was used to operate a computer organ.    In this device, sounds were not created internally but had been prerecorded (or sampled) and stored in the computer from which they could later be retrieved.
The Yamaha engineers utilised this important feature, when they created your AR, over 20 years later.

Musical tones or shapes, which were recorded from conventional windblown pipe organs, were coded into digital form and re-created by a special computer at the touch of the keys and stops.
Other devices were used to control reverberation, pitch, and the attack or delay of a note. 

So in the next Reply we eventually come to the Hammond organ, probably the most significant set of organs in the development of electronic models.

Peter


Peter Anderson

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Re: No_103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2019, 07:44:23 PM »
The Hammond organ

One of the most important and well known of the electronic organs was the Hammond organ, a sophisticated instrument having two manuals, or keyboards, and a set of pedals operated by the feet.

This organ, right from its inception and through its heyday, has had a very significant influence on most other electronic organs.  Even modern varieties, including our Yamaha AR have a Hammond sound built in to their preset registrations.

Although they are included in the category of electronic organs, the majority of Hammond organs are, strictly speaking, electric or electromechanical rather than electronic organs, because the sound is produced by moving parts rather than electronic oscillators.

Unlike most other instruments of its type, it produced its sound through a complex set of rotary, motor-driven generators.   By means of a series of controls affecting the harmonics, or component tones, of the sound, a great variety of timbres (tone colours) could be reproduced that to some degree imitate the sound of other instruments, such as the violin, the flute, the oboe, and the orchestral percussion instruments.

The Hammond organ was actually invented by Laurens Hammond (January 11, 1895 – July 1, 1973), and John Marshall Hanert (March 18, 1909 – June 23, 1962 {car accident}).     On April 24, 1934, Hammond filed a patent for an "electrical musical instrument", which was personally delivered to the patent office by Hanert, explaining that they could start production immediately and it would be good for local employment in Chicago.    The invention was unveiled to the public in April 1935, and the first model, the Model A, was made available in June of that year.       

Laurens Hammond (on left) and John Hanert

Over 1,750 churches purchased a Hammond organ in the first three years of manufacturing, and by the end of the 1930s, over 200 instruments were being made each month.

Various models have been produced since, most of which used sliding drawbars to specify a variety of sounds.    Until 1975, Hammond organs generated sound by creating an electric current from rotating a metal tonewheel near an electromagnetic pickup, and then strengthening the signal with an amplifier so it could drive a speaker, housed in a cabinet.      Around two million Hammond organs have been manufactured.  The organ is commonly used with, and very closely associated with, the Leslie speaker. (More on that later.)

The organ was originally marketed and sold by the Hammond Organ Company to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ, or instead of a piano.      It quickly became popular with professional jazz musicians, especially in organ trios, where the Hammond organ was central.    These trios were hired by jazz club owners, who found that organ trios were a much cheaper alternative to hiring a big band.      Jimmy Smith's use of the Hammond B-3, with its additional harmonic percussion feature, inspired a generation of organ players, and its use became more widespread in the 1960s and 1970s in rhythm and blues, rock, and reggae, as well as being an important instrument in progressive rock.

The Hammond Organ Company struggled financially during the 1970s, as they abandoned tonewheel organs and switched to manufacturing instruments using integrated circuits.     These instruments were not as popular with musicians as the tonewheels had been, and the company went out of business in 1985.    The Hammond name was purchased by the Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation, which proceeded to manufacture digital simulations of the most popular tonewheel organs.     This culminated in the production of the New B-3 in 2002, which provided an accurate re-creation of the original B-3 organ using modern digital technology.

Hammond-Suzuki continues to manufacture a variety of organs for both professional players and churches.

In contrast to piano and pipe organ keys, Hammond keys have a flat-front profile, commonly referred to as "waterfall" style. Early Hammond console models had sharp edges, but starting with the B-2, these were rounded, as they were cheaper to manufacture.    The M series of spinets also had waterfall keys (which has subsequently made them ideal for spares on B-3s and C-3s), but later spinet models had "diving board" style keys which resembled those found on a church organ.    Modern Hammond-Suzuki models use waterfall keys.

Hammond console organs come with a wooden pedalboard.  Most console Hammond pedalboards have 25 notes, with the bottom note a low C and the top note a middle C two octaves higher.     Hammond used a 25-note pedalboard because he found that on traditional 32-note pedalboards used in church pipe organs, the top seven notes were seldom used

In the next Reply I'll define the difference between Waterfall and Diving Board Keys.

Peter

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Re: No_103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2019, 08:12:53 PM »
Waterfall Keys

Classic Hammond consoles, such as the B-3, C-3 and A-100, have keys with flat fronts and a slightly radiused edges.  These are often referred to as Waterfall Keys because of their resemblance in profile.  The original model A and many other models prior to the '3' series had flat-fronted keys but without a radiused edge.  Hammond "originated" this key style by using a piano keyboard as his design prototype and discovering that he could keep production costs lower with this particular design.  The key action is a simple steel spring in the back of the key and a lip on the bottom front of the key that catches the key rail.  Thus, the keys all line up neatly without a lot of adjustment.

Of the spinet organs, only the M-series had waterfall keys.  Later spinets had to compete with other electronic organ manufacturers and most of them were using Diving Board Keys.     As with the consoles, only the M '3' series has radiused edges.

Waterfall Keys are preferred by non-classical organists because they are easier to play slides (glissandi) on.   Unlike a thumb glissando, non-classical organists will often palm smear up and into a chord.   This exposes the webbing between the thumb and forefinger to the sharp edges of other types of keys.

As a special effect, they are also easier to jamb a matchbook in front to hold down a key while playing elsewhere!

Here is a schematic to demonstrate the difference.


Diving Board Keys

Classic Hammond spinets, certain consoles like the H-100, E-100 and many modern Hammond models have keys which in profile are shaped like a diving board.  This is the 'standard' shape used by most organ and keyboard/synthesiser manufacturers but, as stated above, Waterfall Keys are preferred by non-classical Hammond players because Diving Board Keys are harder to play slides (glissandi) on.

In the next Reply we consider Hammond's implementation of many unique aspects for electronic organs, starting with Drawbars.

Question - Without looking,    I said, WITHOUT LOOKING, what type of keys do you have on your Yamaha AR?
Are you sure?
There's a definite way to find out!    Take a look.

Did that surprise you?   Had you ever thought about this?

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 04:36:15 PM »
Hammond was the first to use Drawbars on the organ.

The Yamaha AR organs have a variation of Drawbars, called Flute/Tibia, but referred to by us as Tone Bars, or Light Bars.    You will find a great deal about them elsewhere on the AR-Group, especially in other Peters Pearls..

So let me simply say here, that a drawbar is a slider that controls the volume of a particular sound component, in a similar way to a fader on an audio mixing desk.      As a drawbar is incrementally pulled out, it increases the volume of its sound.    When pushed all the way in, the volume is decreased to zero.

On the Yamaha AR, when all the lights are lit, they are on full volume, but with only the one top light illuminated they are silent, or off.

The labelling of the drawbar derives from the stop system in pipe organs, in which the physical length of the pipe corresponds to the pitch produced.   Most Hammonds contain nine drawbars per manual, as shown in this picture.

Hammond Drawbars

As we have seen, the basic sound of a Hammond organ comes from a tone-wheel.    Each one rotates in front of an electromagnetic pickup.   The variation in the magnetic field induces a small alternating current at a particular frequency, which represents a signal similar to a sine wave. When a key is pressed on the organ, it completes a circuit of nine electrical switches, which are linked to the drawbars.   The position of the drawbars, combined with the switches selected by the key pressed, determines which tone-wheels are allowed to sound.    Every tone-wheel is connected to a synchronous motor via a system of gears, which ensures that each note remains at a constant relative pitch to every other.   The combined signal from all depressed keys and pedals is fed through to the vibrato system, which is driven by a metal scanner.    As the scanner rotates around a set of pickups, it changes the pitch of the overall sound slightly.    From here, the sound is sent to the main amplifier, and on to the audio speakers.

In addition to drawbars, many Hammond tonewheel organ models also include presets, which make predefined drawbar combinations available at the press of a button.

The Preset keys consisting of one octave, which on a Hammond organ are reverse-coloured (naturals are black, sharps and flats are white) and sit to the left of the manuals like this:

Hammond Presets

Each key activates a preset, with the far left C key, also known as the cancel key, which de-activates all the presets, and results in no sound coming from that manual.

The two right-most preset keys (B and B♭) activate the corresponding set of drawbars for that manual, while the other preset keys produce preselected drawbar settings that are internally wired into the preset panel.

In the next Reply, we consider Hammond's built in Vibrato and Chorus effects.

Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2019, 11:26:39 AM »
Hammond organs have a built-in vibrato effect that provides a small variation in pitch while a note is being played, and a chorus effect where a note's sound is combined with another sound at a slightly different and varying pitch.   

The best known vibrato and chorus system consists of six settings, V1 - 3, C1 - 3 (i.e., three each of vibrato and chorus), which can be selected via a rotary switch.   Vibrato/Chorus can be selected for each manual independently.

Percussion settings, available on most Hammond organs, can only be used with the drawbars.
When selected, this feature plays a decaying 2nd- or 3rd-harmonic overtone when a key is pressed. The selected percussion harmonic fades out, leaving the sustained tones the player selected with the drawbars.    The volume of this percussive effect is selectable as either normal or soft.    Harmonic Percussion retriggers only after all notes have been released, so legato passages sound the effect only on the very first note or chord, making Harmonic Percussion uniquely a "single-trigger, polyphonic" effect.

Here is a You Tube video to demonstrate this feature:   (I don't think this is Morgan Freeman!)


 
Most Console Hammond organs, such as the B-3, require two switches; Start to drive the starter motor and Run to drive the main tonewheel generator.

Hammond B3 Start Run switches

Before a Hammond organ can produce sound, the motor that drives the tonewheels must come up to speed.    The "Start" switch turns a dedicated starter motor, which must run for about 12 seconds.   Then, the "Run" switch is turned on for about four seconds.   The "Start" switch is then released, whereupon the organ is ready to generate sound

A pitch bend effect can be created on the Hammond organ by turning the "Run" switch off and on again.   This briefly cuts power to the generators, causing them to run at a slower pace and generate a lower pitch for a short time.   Hammond's New B3 contains similar switches to emulate this effect, even though it is a digital instrument.

In the next Reply we admire more of Hammond's inventive and marketing skills.

Peter

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2019, 09:38:00 PM »
The Hammond organ's technology derives from the Telharmonium, an instrument created in 1897 by Thaddeus Cahill, as we saw earlier in this posting.   The Telharmonium used revolving electric alternators which generated tones that could be transmitted over wires.  The instrument was bulky, because the alternators had to be large enough to generate high voltage for a loud enough signal.  The Hammond organ solved this problem by using an amplifier.

Laurens Hammond graduated from Cornell University with a mechanical engineering degree in 1916 and by the start of the 1920s, he had invented several things, especially ones relating to his beloved interest in clocks.

He was inspired to create the tonewheel or "phonic wheel" by listening to the moving gears of his electric clocks and the tones produced by them.   He gathered pieces from a second-hand piano he had purchased for $15 and combined it with a tonewheel generator in a similar form to the telharmonium, albeit much shorter and more compact.    Since Hammond was not a musician, he asked the company's assistant treasurer, W. L. Lahey, to help him achieve the desired organ sound.    To cut costs, Hammond made a pedalboard with only 25 notes, instead of the standard 32 on church organs, and it quickly became a Hammond standard. 

For all its subsequent success with professional musicians, the original company did not target its products at that market, principally because Hammond did not think enough money was in it.     The Hammond Organ Company produced an estimated two million instruments in its lifetime.     These have been described as "probably the most successful electronic organs ever made".    In 1966, an estimated 50,000 churches had installed a Hammond.

In 1936, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint claiming that the Hammond Company made "false and misleading" claims in advertisements for its organ, including that the Hammond could produce "the entire range of tone colouring of a pipe organ".   
The complaint resulted in lengthy hearing proceedings, which featured a series of auditory tests that pitted a Hammond costing about $2600 against a $75,000 Skinner pipe organ in the University of Chicago Rockefeller Chapel.    During the auditory tests, sustained tones and excerpts from musical works were played on the electric and pipe organs while a group of musicians and laymen attempted to distinguish between the instruments.     
While attorneys for Hammond argued that the test listeners were wrong or guessed nearly half the time, witnesses for the FTC claimed that Hammond employees had unfairly manipulated the Skinner organ to sound more like the Hammond.     
In 1938, the FTC ordered Hammond to "cease and desist" a number of advertising claims, including that its instrument was equivalent to a $10,000 pipe organ.     After the FTC's decision, Hammond claimed that the hearings had vindicated his company's assertions that the organ produced "real, fine, and beautiful music", phrases which were each cited in the FTC's original complaint, but not included in the "cease and desist" order.    Hammond also claimed that although the hearing was expensive for his company, the proceedings generated so much publicity that "as a result they sold enough extra organs to cover their expenses."

A key ingredient to the Hammond organ's success was the use of dealerships and a sense of community.    Several dedicated organ dealers set up business in the United States and there was a bi-monthly newsletter, named The Hammond Times, which was mailed out to subscribers.  (See Next Reply for a 1960 edition)     Advertisements tended to show families gathered around the instrument, often with a child playing it, as an attempt to demonstrate that the organ could be a centre-point of home life and, therefore, to encourage children to learn music.
 
Previously, I have often referred to Console Hammond organs, as manufactured by the original company, and that is because Hammond organs can be divided into two main groups, namely:

•   Console organs have two 61-note manuals and a pedalboard of at least two octaves.  Most consoles do not have a built-in power amplifier or speakers, so an external amplifier and speaker cabinet is required.
   
•   Spinet organs have two 44-note manuals and one octave of pedals, plus an internal power amplifier and set of speakers.

In the next Reply, you can see an example of the bi-monthly newsletter, The Hammond Times.

Peter

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2019, 09:40:26 PM »
Here is an example of The Hammond Times from 1960.

https://archive.org/details/HammondTimesVol.22No.2-1960_550

You can flip through all 12 pages, either forwards or backwards.
H
In the next Reply, we look at the Speaker system and ultimately, the one that is now often associated with Hammond organs.
No prizes for guessing that one's name.

Peter

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2019, 12:41:50 PM »
The authorized loudspeaker enclosure to use with a console organ was the Hammond Tone Cabinet, which housed an external amplifier and speaker in a cabinet.    The cabinet carried a balanced mono signal along with the necessary mains power directly from the organ, using a six-pin cable.     Spinet organs contained a built-in power amplifier and loudspeakers, so did not require a tone cabinet.    The tone cabinet was originally the only method of adding reverberation to a Hammond organ.    Reverb was not fitted to older organs.     The most commercially successful tone cabinets were probably the PR series, particularly the 40-watt PR40.

The first organ model in production, in June 1935, was the Model A.     Though not benefitting from the later Tone Cabinet, it did have most of the features that came to be standard on all Console Hammonds, including two 61-key manuals, a 25-key pedalboard, an expression pedal, 12 reverse-color preset keys, two sets of drawbars for each manual, and one for the pedals.

To address concerns that the sound of the Hammond was not rich enough to accurately mimic a pipe organ, the model BC was introduced in December 1936. It included a chorus generator, in which a second tonewheel system added slightly sharp or flat tones to the overall sound of each note. The cabinet was made deeper to accommodate this.   Production of the old Model A cases stopped, but the older model continued to be available as the AB until October 1938.

Criticism that the Hammond organ was more aesthetically suitable to the home instead of the church led to the introduction of the model C in September 1939.   It contained the same internals as the AB or BC, but covered on the front and sides by "modesty panels" to cover female organists' legs while playing in a skirt, often a consideration when a church organ was placed in front of the congregation.   The model C did not contain the chorus generator, but had space in the cabinet for it to be fitted.   The concurrent model D was a model C with a prefitted chorus.   

Development of the vibrato system took place during the early 1940s, and was put into production shortly after the end of World War II.   The various models available were the BV and CV (vibrato only) and BCV and DV (vibrato and chorus).

To cater more specifically to the church market, Hammond introduced the Concert Model E in July 1937, which included those modesty panels, a full 32-note pedalboard and four electric switches known as toe pistons, allowing various sounds to be selected by the feet. 

The Concert Model E was designed for the church and features a full 32-note pedalboard.

In the next couple of Replies we look at more of the range of Hammond models.

Peter


Peter Anderson

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2019, 09:41:20 AM »
The B-2 and C-2, introduced in 1949, allowed vibrato to be enabled or disabled on each manual separately.    In 1954, the B-3 and C-3 models were introduced with the additional harmonic percussion feature.     Despite several attempts by Hammond to replace them, these two models remained popular and stayed in continuous production through early 1975.

The B-3 and C-3 models introduced the concept of "Harmonic Percussion", which was designed to emulate the percussive sounds of the harp, xylophone, and marimba.     The B-3 was the most popular Hammond organ, produced from 1954 to 1974

Hammond B3


Hammond C3
 
The Concert E was replaced by the model RT in 1949, which retained the full-sized pedalboard, but otherwise was internally identical to the B and C models. RT-2 and RT-3 models subsequently appeared in line with the B-2/C-2 and B-3/C-3, respectively.

In the next Reply we detail the 100 series Hammond organs.

Peter 

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2019, 12:41:23 PM »
I don't think many of us realise just how complex Hammond's original Tonebars were, so here is a semi-technical video, that shows them in detail.   I found it fascinating.

Rightly the commentary states, "don't try taking them apart, as you will not be able to reassemble them!".
The video also clearly demonstrates that Laurens Hammond was first and foremost a clock maker.

Click on this picture to view the video in a new window:



Peter

Peter Anderson

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Re: No__103__A brief history of the electronic organ
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2019, 07:43:24 PM »
In 1959, Hammond introduced the A-100 series.   It was effectively a self-contained version of the B-3/C-3, with an internal power amplifier and speakers.   The organ was manufactured in a variety of different chassis, with the last two digits of the specific model number determining the style and finish of the instrument. For example, A-105 was "Tudor styling in light oak or walnut", while the A-143 was "warm cherry finish, Early American styling".    This model numbering scheme was used for several other series of console and spinet organs that subsequently appeared.

The D-100 series, which provided a self-contained version of the RT-3, followed in 1963.

The E-100 series was a cost-reduced version of the A-100 introduced in 1965, with only one set of drawbars per manual, a reduced number of presets, and a slightly different tone generator.    This was followed by the H-100 series, with a redesigned tonewheel generator and various other additional features.     The organ was not particularly well made, and suffered a reputation for being unreliable. Hammond service engineer Harvey Olsen said, "When they (H-100s) work, they sound pretty decent. But die-hard enthusiasts won't touch it.

The L-100 spinet was particularly popular in the UK.

Hammond L100

Though the instrument had been originally designed for use in a church, Hammond realized that the amateur home market was a far more lucrative business, and started manufacturing spinet organs in the late 1940s.    Outside of the United States, they were manufactured in greater numbers than the consoles, and hence were more widely used. Several different types of M series instruments were produced between 1948 and 1964; they contained two 44-note manuals with one set of drawbars each, and a 12-note pedalboard.    The M model was produced from 1948 to 1951, the M-2 from 1951 to 1955, and the M-3 from 1955 to 1964.    The M series was replaced by the M-100 series in 1961, which used a numbering system to identify the body style and finish as used on earlier console series. It included the same manuals as the M, but increased the pedalboard size to 13 notes, stretching a full octave, and included a number of presets.

The T-402 was one of the last tonewheel organs manufactured and included a built in drum machine

Hammond T400

Peter