OHS Database ID 6661.
The organ has been removed from this location and is currently in storage.
We received the most recent update on this organ's state and condition February 8, 2014.
Tubular pneumatic key action [pressure]. Pneumatic stop action.
Two manuals. 3 divisions. 25 stops. 26 ranks. Manual compass is 58 notes. Pedal compass is 30 notes.
The organ is in a gallery-level case at the rear of the room. Traditional style console. The organ has an attached keydesk.
Drawknobs in horizontal rows on terraced/stepped jambs. Balanced swell shoes/pedals, not in standard AGO position. Combination Action: Adjustable mechanical system. Flat straight pedalboard. Reversible full organ/tutti toe stud. Coupler reversible toe studs.
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|Organ under protective cover during church demolition. Photograph by Alex Fries 2013-01-17|
|Tower chime keyboard. Photograph by Alex Fries 2013-01-17|
|Console detail: manuals. Photograph by Alex Fries 2013-01-17|
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St. James RC Church, Chicago, IL 1891 Frank Roosevelt, Op 494 (Stoplist: David Schnute from T 10:4:4) GREAT 16' Double open diapason 8' Open diapason 8' Doppelflöte 8' Gamba 8' Dulciana 4' Octave 4' Holflöte 2-2/3' Octave quint 2' Super octave 8' Trumpet SWELL 16' Bourdon Bass 16' Bourdon 8' Violin diapason 8' Stopped diapason 8' Spitzflöte 4' Flute harmonique 4' Gemshorn 2' Flageolet III Cornet 8' Cornopean 8' Oboe 8' Vox humana tremolo PEDAL 16' Open diapason 16' Bourdon 8' Cello /ds/ ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ Notes from "The Stopt Diapason," February 1983 All ranks complete to CC; none has stopped or common basses. The Great is enclosed with the Swell except for the 16' and 8' Open Diapasons, the basses of which are in the facade (all speaking). The pedal is divided at the sides. Originall the wind was raised by hand. A very large (six by nine feet) double fold bellows was fed by three feeder bellows connected to a crankshaft which was mannually operated by a belt drive. With some exceptions, the manual system remains; a few pieces of hardware are missing. For the past sixty years or so a Spencer Orgoblo blower has supplied wind electrically. For reasons unknown it is operated faster than its rated speed (1200 rpm vs. 1075 rpm) The resulting threnody is vibration from excessive speed and the Spencer Orgoblo's characteristic noisiness. The wooden parts of the bellows are sound; only the original leather has deteriorated. One set of ribs in the main bellows has been fastened down, probably in an effort to reduce leakage. According to a label attached to the c' pipe of the Octave 4', wind pressure was originally set at three and one half inches water column. Actual tests show the present pressure to be 4-1/2". Examination of the weights revealed four weights to be of different form and material than the otherwise uniform 15 or 20 weights distributed over the bellows. Removal of the extra weights yielded a pressure of just over 4". Because reed stops are difficult to make, they are often installed several months after the organ is completed and set up. Examination of three such stops (Trumpet, Cornopean, and Oboe) proved this to be the case as they bore the date "1892", the year after the organ's installation. The reeds may have sounded better on pressure greater than 3-1/2". Further study may determine the added weights to be extraneous and the pressure as (eventually) intended by the builder to be around four inches. The console (keydesk) is built into the organ case. The two manuals and pedals control primary boxes trhough a mechanical system must like that of a tracker organ. The similarty to tracker ends at the primary box, for the key action from there to the chest is tubular pneumatic. Coupling of the manual is accomplished by purely mechanical means. The stop action, too, is mechanical up to the pneumatic ventil boxes which divide the main chests. The console's most distinguishing feature, an adjustable combination action for deploying stops by means of foot levers, is purely mechanical. (Small setter levers are above the combination levers.) All of the above mechanism is intact, though leather and felt are completely worn out. The platings (ivories) on the keys are modern plastic cheaply done. (This is because the manuals themselves were replaced some 20 years ago.) All of the pedal caps are original and badly worn. The combination action and the wind gauge are not in working order. The tremulant needs recovering. The balanced swell mechanism is in mint condition, however. The chests, upon which the pipes stand, contain the playing mechanism. They consist of a grid of channels and wedge shaped bellows called pneumatics which operate valves under the toeboards. The valves admit wind to the pipes standing on the toeboards when the appropriate keys are played and stops drawn. When a key is pressed, a valve in the primary box over the key opens, venting a key channel running from front to back in the chest common to all the pipes of a given note. When a stop is drawn, a channel running from left to right is filled with wind. Where the coordinates of key channel and stop channel cross, the wind creates pressure on the cuneiform bellows (pneumatic) connected to the key channel. The resulting pressure difference on the tiny bellows causes it to collapse and move a valve connected to an attached arm. The same wind is then free to enter the pipe, to make it speak. There are many such leather covered pneumatics in the organ (over 1,300). The leather was replaced some years ago by persons unknown who did an inadequate job of recovering, and unwittingly caused the organ's most serious problem, namely the many ciphers (sticking notes). Though this leather is good and sound, the hinges on about half the pneumatics are not rigid enough to enable the valves to seat properly every time. In addition, the arms were not carefully centered and adjusted for proper sealing. Careful adjustment is necessary for the valves lap the holes by no more than 3/32". In spite of this, the action is very light - pipe speech is prompt and the action repeats rapidly. The stop action has original leather, all of which is worn. With the exception of the bottom boards the wood of the chests is sound and straight. Three of the bottom boards, all of which carry the all important key channels, have been planed down to bare wood for no apparent reason. Deep impressions left by tiny washers under the screws have caused some damage as has a futile attempt to improve sealing by replacing the washers with blocks of wood and longer screws. Some locating dowels are missing. The case of red oak is generally good; the varnish is good quality and shows no signs of cracking and crazing as with later finishes. Normal wear at the console has rubbed off some of the finish. The finish on the case pipes is in good condition though dulled with age. Inside the case, the electrical wiring is unsafe. Broken light sockets hang by their wires, and several conduits and cables in various stages of disuse wander aimlessly about the interior. The inspection revealed this organ to be a stunning example of 19th century American organ building. It was built with great care in design and craftsmanship by a firm which thoroughly understood the Romantic idiom. The organ speaks from a perfect location into a church of herioc proportions. The superb acoustics enhance the organ immeasurably by adding to its grandeur. (Reverberation time is over 5 seconds.) Not only organ and acoustic create priceless treasure at St. James Parish, but another fact makes this instrument outstanding in the greater music community. Very few organs of this type remain, and no more will ever be built again. As there will never be another Romantic period, so there will never be another Roosevelt, Tiffany, or Middleschulte. The latter is known as the teacher of Virgil Fox, and was parish organist for several years at St. James at the beginning of the century. In light of the above, nothing short of a complete and faithful restoration of the organ should be done when it is financially possible. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ (Submitted by T. Daniel Hancock, 2012-09-20)