See exclusive new photographs!!   

It would appear that a brand new and revolutionary player system has been devised for mechanical organs.  The system has been devised by Philips, the well-known consumer electronics group.

I came across this system quite by chance as I was recently strolling around a local steam rally.  I noticed an organ that was very tiny, and had only 5 or 6 pipes which looked like lollipop sticks.  Yet the organ sounded identical to a famous 98 key Marenghi organ that was playing on the opposite side of the rally field.  I listened in disbelief.  How could such a small organ produce such an impressive sound.  I wandered round the back of the organ and tried to find the owner, who was nowhere to be seen.  It was difficult to see how he could have been inside the organ, as it was only about a foot long by 6 inches high.

I couldn't work out how the organ worked, there was no signs of a key frame anywhere.  Then suddenly a bloke came running out from a nearby caravan.  "Hey you - What are you doing nosing around my models?"

"Models? - I'm not interested in your models, I'm interested in this marvellous organ here."

"Organ? What organ?  Oh that.  Er yes it's good isn't it?"

"Good - It's fantastic.  I don't suppose you could tell me how it works?"

He then proceeded to show me exactly how the system worked, and I don't mind telling you - Philips have definitely got a winner on their hands here.  The player system does not play the usual perforated cardboard music books.  Instead, a plastic music roll is used, which is like a thin piece of brown tape onto which the sound of the organ is somehow encoded.  This is the same sort of tape that you use in your domestic Hi-Fi system, provided that you've got one.  The music roll is pulled through the keyframe which consists of a small electromagnet and a felt pad.  As the music roll passes across the felt pad, the musical notes are picked up by the electromagnet and fed to an electrical device which can amplify them to make the organ sound much larger than it actually is.  The sounds from this 'amplifier' are then fed to a loudspeaker with a big magnet inside it, mounted behind the pipes on the front of the organ.

Apart from the obvious advantages of compactness and ease of lubrication, the new system provides for the volume of the organ to be readily adjusted from the keyframe.  This is accomplished by a small plastic knob which is labelled 'Volume'.  The size of the organ compared to the sound output is truly incredible, although it remains a mystery exactly how the minute holes are punched in the narrow music roll.  This could be accomplished by using a magnifying glass with a punching machine mounted on the end of it.

However, the biggest secret of all is the method by which sounds of such amazing tonal complexity can be generated from just 5organ pipes made out of lollipop sticks.  None of the organ builders to whom I have spoken know how to make working organ pipes out of lollipop sticks, although I am told that the reverse is easy by using a sophisticated tool known as a 'Lump hammer'.

The new Philips system is so incredible, that it will soon render the traditional player systems obsolete.  I predict that within a few years, we will all be carrying our street organs around in our pockets - the sytem is THAT good.

As I was leaving, the bloke shouted to me: "You know, the organ can talk as well."

I retorted angrily:  "Come off it  -  now you're just taking the piss.  You'll be telling me that it can play piano concertos next".


Roll Box

New Music Roll

An exclusive photograph of the revolutionary new organ player system from Phillips (taken with a secret camera while the owner wasn't looking).  The music roll fits underneath the oblong panel in the centre.  The buttons at the front are used to select the tune that you want to play. This is the plastic music roll used in the new player system.  The two white circles in the centre are the spools which contain the music roll.  They go round and round as the organ is playing.  The holes in the roll are so tiny that they cannot be seen by looking at them.



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