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A Visit to Mr. Hope Jones'sI…


A Visit to Mr. Hope Jones's I Electric Organ Works at Birkenhead. [By VERAX, Colwyn Bay]. A few days ago, I had the great pleasure of visiting the above establishment, and also the organ at St. John's Church, Birkenhead; the old organ of which, Mr Hope Jones has recon- structed on his new principle, adding some nc\v stops and revoicing the old. I was the more interested, as once, some years ago, I played the old organ, and in fact had some idea of being organist there, but after the competition, a voluntary organist applied for, and took the post however, I know what the instrument was, and, thanks to Mr Hope Jones, i know what the new one is like. When I arrived at the works, Mr Hope Jones very kindly instructed Mr Hun,t, son of W. Hunt, Esq., Mus. Doc. Lond., to show me throug,J all the departments, and explain all parts of the mechanism, which he did very lucidly j examined all the work in hand in the sound-board and wind-chest line, with the electric motof I arrangements; and the workmanship and material* 1 one could only term excellent the electric wires | being like horsehair almost. We then went and » examined the pipe-makers' shops, and here again the neatness and finish was very fine. I then had the opportunity of seeing a finished console, 01 stand, containing the key-boards, stop-keys, and so on, made in a beautiful design in oak, contallI- ing four manuals, and a row of stop-keys ranged in order just below the music-desk at first these seem rather bewildering, but a few minutes trial seems quite sufficient to accustom one to the ne^ order,—there is no drawing of stops (which require to move three inches or more) here, tire stop-key hinges on the centre and moves not more than a quarter of an inch, and some of them moV<J for the purpose of double touch only half that distance as well this all appeared very nice and easy in the workshop, on a loose console, with nO chance of putting to a thoroughly practical test all that appeared so easy, so one felt inclined to say, all very well, so far, but I should like to see and hear, before I can realise that it is all possible, so we adjourned to St. John's, and saw this, the first organ built upon the system. You see a reproduction of the console of the worshop, with a long snaky-looking coil to it, about an inch thiel" containing, according to the size of the orgall, I some thousand or more small wires, one for eacn key, as well as those required for stop t-naniplila- tion this cable allows the keyboards to be moved at once (without any more preparation than to make room for its passage) to any place withill the radius of the coil, this particular one bein £ long enough to allow of the console being placed outside the Church, which does not interfere 1,1 i the slightest degree with the playing of the orgal" —it answers the slightest touch upon the key board instantaneously, and the repitition is sit11pl, perfect. I quite agree and maintain, that it 1S capable of repeating a note as fast as huma'1 1 fingers can move it, or even faster I believe D1* | Peace of Glasgow vouches for it producing over 60 per second), and the effect of playing at distance from the organ, is very strange a.n exceedingly pleasant; as Mr Best says, ^}e effect of the ordinary organ to the organist, 15 much the same as going up into a belfry to hear peal of bells." One never can know what effect J5 being produced at the other end of the building under the old style, but here you have only to wheel your movable console wherever you pleas, and hear the result for yourself. Another great result is the saving of room, the organ may be bracketted against a wall, or ma stand up on pillars, and the space underneath b utilised as in St. John's for a vestry, it may be distributed about the Church, as may be "IOS t convenient for all purposes, and one may depol" I upon all parts acting absolutely together. Also the effect of the double touch, from artistic point of view, is a decided gain, bi-ingillg into use some of the higher piano playing effects it is produced thus, all the keys fall say two-thirds* or perhaps only half the way down, and are there stopped by a strong spring, but by a little extra pressure it moves the remainder of the distaticei- that is the key movement then there are certaill stops which when only hatf-dtawn, answer only to the heavy pressure, so by pressing any one ke more heavily than the rest, a melody note 0 louder or contrasted tone, as may be desired, produced, just so long as the key is fuhY depressed,—this effect in the usual organ, has td be produced by playing on two manuals with 0"0 hand, and is difficult and most awkward, but here is as easy meludy playing on the piano 'to I properly trained hand, and comes in very handIlY and effectively for giving out the note to ally voice taking the lead in an anthem, wltho having to disengage a hand or alter the combina- tions of stops you may be using. Another device is a "stop-switch," WhIC;, enables one to prepare any new combination o. stops, without it affecting the combinations in use' even while you are playing, you may alter st°P after stop as convenient, and, when you requlh the new combination, a touch changes all to the new arrangement of stops instantaneously. I might go on and on, and never exhaust tn capabilities of an action like this, but I -,VO" rather refer any one to Mr Hope Jones, a" advise him if he contemplates having an orgal1 built, or reconstructed, not to do so without firs; seeing and trying this work; for the intial value of the organ will be more than doubled, half tlle room saved, much less danger of it getting out ° order, and, not least, the organist can face his choir and have all under his control.* ( I have said nothing of the tone and voicing 0 the several stops, and the best I can say is, Go and hear them at St. John's where you will bear what Mr Hope Jones can do with old pipes, 35 well as what he can do in constructing an inventing new ones." I was very sorry indeed when my watch told me that it was time to be on the way to the .1 5t railway-station, and (I must say) one of the ¡1l0'd enjoyable days I ever spent amongst organs an organ-builders came to an end. I I "must not conclude without expressing I11X thanks to Mr Arthur W. Speed, Mr Hope Jones » private secretary, whose courtesy and willingness ,ct to show or explain anything to me, in confie jot, with St. John's organ, are beyond all praise; he possesses no mean powers as an organist, and nO small part of my enjoyment may be attributed 10 his ability and also to Mr Hope Jones's brothel who showed me every kindness and coiisiderat joil. Just imagine, the organist at an ordi«a'| rehearsal, to say nothing of a festival rehehrsa1' being able to sit at the west end of the chnrd1' right away from the choir and organ. What a revelation it would be to him, and how perfectlý he would be able to adapt the organ to the voices,