Author Topic: Percy Vickery organ to be given away  (Read 4182 times)

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David Pinnegar

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Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« on: May 01, 2016, 11:12:39 AM »
Percy was a founder member of EOCS and entrusted his instrument to me rather than it going in the skip when he died. I'm ashamed to say that I have not found anyone wanting to play cinema organ repertoire and as a result have not paid attention to it. It needs circuit board interconnecting contacts cleaning. It has double touch on the lower keyboard and the upper manual is switchable between two sets of stops.

When running, it's extraordinarily effective https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WlwMCW8f-w and you'll find other YouTube recordings that Percy made.

Percy was a radar engineer during the war and he played one of the Christie instruments at Edmonton http://stories-of-london.org/the-christie-theatre-organ-2-7/  http://www.atos-london.co.uk/other-theatre-organs/the-christie
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/22837 as well as an instrument at Waltham Cross. It's listed as 3 manual http://www.girdwood.co.uk/orglist5.html but at some stage it was 2 manual and Percy was frustrated by it. Accordingly with his electronics knowledge based on valves, he built an electronic 3rd manual. This instrument was derived from the principles that Percy developed for that instrument, executed in transistors and IC circuitry. It uses a top octave generator and octave dividers, and is as effective as you'll hear on those recordings on YouTube. It's an interesting and historic instrument in its way.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

revtonynewnham

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2016, 09:25:15 AM »
Wish I had space!  It seems to me that there's a need for a museum of vintage electronic organs, etc.

Every Blessing

Tony

Lucien Nunes

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2016, 12:55:08 AM »
David are you saying you are trying to find a home for this? It might fit in well here at Electrokinetica. Tony mentions the need of an electronic organ museum - we're not exclusively an organ collection although it's one of the specialist areas that Dave Cope and I have built up over the last few years, now standing at 31 models (plus some variants) from 1947 to 1977. 18 of these comprise the Compton Electrone collection, assembled with the invaluable assistance of Robert Cook, including the 1951 3m Rowton Castle sister instrument to the FTH and RFH Electrones, a 3m 'Draper model' (horseshoe console theatre style) and the unique CL72, along with all their popular models. Amongst the other makes are electrostatics by Dereux and Parie, a 3m Burge valve divider, the old favourite theatre-style Wurli 4520 transistor divider and perhaps the most spectacular, the valve individual-oscillator Miller Classic IV with 348 valve oscillators in a cabinet the size of a phone kiosk. All are commercial products unlike Percy's organ, but that compares very favourably to the best of them. Do you think it would  be in good company?

Having mentioned the Miller, I should add that its rescue was spurred on by a totally audacious project to make it work and present it at a rather prestigious event just five days later. Ridiculous, but inspiring and totally worth the extreme effort expended. It still needs a 'deep' restoration but it plays pretty well. If you enjoy nail-biting dramas where 'the show must go on' in spite of drifting capacitors, open-circuit anode coils and mysterious hums, grab a coffee and have a read of my writeup here on the vintage radio forum: http://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=121108
I promise it will keep you on the edge of your seat towards the end.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 01:04:30 AM by Lucien Nunes »

Barrie Davis

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2016, 10:37:00 AM »
Howe interesting to know where the Rowton Castle organ is, does it play??

revtonynewnham

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2016, 11:03:39 AM »
Hi

From what I've heard of Lucien's collection, it could well prove a very apprpriate place for the Vickery organ.  I must try & arrange a visit sometime soon to see the collection.

The only reservation I have about private collections is what happens when the owner gets too old to continue, or passes on.

Every Blessing

Tony

Lucien Nunes

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2016, 11:32:46 AM »
Not yet Barrie; it has been out of use for some years and needs general maintenance. So far I have repaired the motor and amplifier, next to do are some relay faults where damaged contacts are causing ciphers etc. Hearing it will not be quite as revealing as it might have been, because when Compton overhauled it in 1965 they replaced the 1951 generators with a later design. To hear it exactly as it would have sounded at its inauguration, the console would need to be coupled up to the FTH generators, which Richard and I look forward to doing in the future. To avoid drifting this thread too much, I'll put a quick history of it up separately.

The ultimate idea of Electrokinetica is for it to become a permanent, publicly visitable exhibition operated by a trust. At the moment it is a private collection but there are a few of us behind it of varying ages, so if any one of us expires there are others to continue. Organs are a featured technology here because a) they are substantial examples of diverse electronic technologies that can be seen and heard as living demonstrations, b) I like them and I pay the rent! Visitors are very welcome by arrangement but we are a work in progress and you have to take us as you find us. Organs are split between four sites at the moment (home, workshop, future museum building and dead store). Last year we set out an 'organ showroom' with 12 instruments, but this month it is barricaded by some power station switchgear awaiting a work party to move it into its proper position. We'll only have room in the museum space to display part of the organ collection at once but the remainder will hopefully be accessible for study / maintenance without too much effort.

David Pinnegar

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2016, 06:44:54 PM »
This sounds very good news and very much a fitting home for it. Percy got the most incredible sounds out of it but that was just as much as him knowing what he was doing as it was to his circuitry. All the more remarkable for that and his recordings are testimony to that success.

Support for your museum may well grow and perhaps it might be worth forging liason with anyone friendly at the Science Museum.

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

Lucien Nunes

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2016, 05:07:34 PM »
Thanks David, I'm working abroad at the moment but will be back in a few weeks and will drop you a line to arrange coming over to see it. In the meantime I'm intrigued about the technology inside; in his talk PV describes it as mainly valve whereas you referred to it having transistors and ICs. Did he perhaps record that while it was in an earlier stage of development, later to replace the valve guts with solid-state? I imagine it to have been a perennial work-in-progress as many home-builds are, serving the dual role of musical instrument and test-bed for each new development.




revtonynewnham

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 09:02:48 AM »
Hi

Yes, Percy developed and changed his home-built organ several times during its life.  There are several recordings in the EOCS archive library (available to members).  Over the past few years I've remastered many of these, including (I think) all of Percy's.  I think there's also some articles in the EOCS magazine over the years - I have a partial collection, plus scans of most of the earlier ones.  I may be able to sort some info out later in the year, once the Harmonium event in September is finished.

Every Blessing

Tony

David Pinnegar

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2016, 04:12:09 PM »
It's all solid state as he left it

Best wishes

David P
David Pinnegar, BSc ARCS

ruth alexandra

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Re: Percy Vickery organ to be given away
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2016, 12:45:02 AM »
Lucien
In view of your range of interests, yours may an appropriate place for the brochures I am offering in my post today? Nothing technical, and only a few, but genuine examples of what was for sale at the time. No charge - just trying to find the right place for  them.

 


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