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The Organ Factory

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It is not every manufacturing industry that, beginning in a small way, grows to proportions beyond the expectations even of its promoters. It takes something besides energy, forethought and money to make a manufactured article popular. It must possess of itself that greatest element which creates popularity- merit. ïhis the Ann Arbor organs, manufactured by the Allmendinger Piano and Organ Company. of Ann Arbor, Mich., certainly possess, as has been demonstrated by the rapid growtk of this company, even under the most conservativo management, and by the fact that these instruments have been brought into more than usual popularity wh ere ver they have been intiMiluced. The founder of this, one of Ann Arbor's most important industries, is David F. Allmendinger, and to hls mechanical genius are due the many important features that inake the Ann Arbor organ what it is. Born in Wurtenberg, Germany, Mr. Allmendinger carne to this country at an early age, and locatod in Ann Arbor. He served an apprenticeship in the pipe and reed organ factory of G. T. Gardner, formerly superintendent of the great pipe organ factory of Walker & Co., Ludwigsburg, Germany. In 1871, Mr. Gardner, desiring to retire from organ building, Mr. Allmendinger bought a part of his machinery and tools, and began manufacturing in a small way the Ann Arbor organs. For his instruments a demand quickly sprang up, which increased so rapidly that he was unable to supply it. In 1888, he succeeded in interesting some of the most prominent business men in Ann Arbor, who became associated with him, and formed the Allmendinger Piano and Organ Co. A large four-story brick factory was immediately erected, equipped with modern machinery and conveniences, enabfing them to largely increase the output. Lumber yards adjacent to the factory have since been acquired, which, with a private side-track from the Toledo and Ann Arbor railroad, enables them to conveniently have at all times a large stock of black walnut and other fancy lumber. A description of the various steps in the construction of an organ may be of interest to our readers. An organ is not unlike a watch, in that the case and action, or works, are entirely separate in all important details. We will first describe the CASEMAKING DF.PARTMENT, in which are employed about twentyfive men, and machinery to the value of eeveral thousand dollars. The lumber is rirst thoroughly seasoned in the yards, then placed in the dry kiln, where all moisture ié thoroughly taken out. It is ñrst taken to a large crosscut saw and cut into approximate lengths for the various parts of the case. It is then run through a planer, after which the various pieces are passed to a doublé cut-off saw, which saws with mathematical accuracy the board to proper length and width. It then goes to a sand-papering machine, or " sander," as it is called. This one piece of machinery, costing nearly 81,000, does the work of many men, and more perfectly than it is possible to do it by hand. It consists of three doublé oscillating drums, the first of which is covered witn coarse sandpaper, the second with a finer paper, and the third with still rlner, which drums, when in operation, not only remove all unevenness in the board, but sandpaper it more tinely and perfectly than it could possibly be done by any other means. The lumber, now having been cut to proper size, thickness and smoothness, is taken to the next story, where the hand oorring, scroll and band sawing is done, and all moldings made on two machines known as the "sticker" and the "shaper." Here the holes are bored and the joints fitted, and every part of the case prepared for the casemaker. They are then taken, each portion of the case by itself, in lots of from twenty-rive to fifty, to the casemakers, each of vvhora works continuously on his particular style of case. When the cases are once together, or set up, they go to the rilling room, where the pores of the wood are til led, after which they are sandpapered smooth, varnished, and rubbed down with hair cloth and revarnished, after which they are taken to the rubbing and polishing room, where they receive, in this factory, the same treatmcnt as the rinest piano cases, being rubbed with pumice stone, rottenstone and oil until a perfectly smooth surface is obtained, when a ing coat is given them and the finish is completed by hand polishing. In this department of the work the Ann Arbor organs have been particularly praised, as it is an admitted f act that no other company so nearly attein that mirrorlike piano surface which is seen on the organs of this company. The cases having now been made ready for the Hy finisher, we will proceed to the ACTION DEPARTMENT, which is by many considered of more importance, as it is here the musical and fine tone and the obtaining of the various mechanical eifects in the organ are made possible. Here are employed fifteen experienced men. The reed boards first go through the procesa of gluing up, as it is called, after which they are shellaced, rubbed down and varnished, that they may be made impervious to moisture and atmospheric iniluences. In the meantime the reeds have been ttled to pitch on what is known as a tiüng jack, after which, by a delicate bending and adjustment of the tongue, the reed is made to speak promptly and with the desired quality of tone. The valves, tracker pins, mutes, swells, stops and keys, each of which have been prepared and put together in their special departments, are now placed in position and in working order, and now go to the fiy finisher, vvho, having already received the case, places the action in the same, adjusts all the parts to work easily, puts on the lid, pedáis, mouse protectors, knee-swells, and the hinged back, bushes the various sliding portions with feit cloth to render them noiseless, and when the instrument is thus finally set up, it again goes to the tuner, who tine tunes it, tuning each reed properly and voicing them equally throughout the entire compass of the organ. The instrument now stands in the warerooms or storage rooms until ordered, when it goes to the corrector, who examines all the details, correcta any defects, and the organ is placed in a box ready for shipment only after having received his approval. This general description gives but little idea to the reader of the detail work necessary in all departments of a successful organ factory. Particularly is this true in the action department, where the utmost care must at all times be exercised to obtain a perfect working action. In the Ann Arbor organs nothing but the best material is used. The cases are made of SOLID BLACK WAIJJUT, the bellows all built up of three-ply stock, the valves and mutes covered with the best of leather, while the felts used are of extra quality. Xickel-plated action wires are used, which prevenís any rusting, and the cedar tracker pins are carefully leaded. Several valuable improvements, the result of Mr. Allmendinger's genius, are used in these instruments, among thom a Dial Expression Indicator, placed in the stop board directly over the keys, which shows the player at a glance the amount of air in the bellows, thus enabling him to obtain those gradual modifications of tone so pleasing to the musician. The push pin bushing, consisting of rubber cloth on the reed board and about the hole through which the tracker pins pass, prevenís any dust from reaching the reeds or valves, and effectually does away with sticking pins. The dust protector, placed directly in front of the mutes under the swells,prevents any dust reaching the roeds, and modifles and softens the tone. Evory part of the action can be removed by the turning of a button or the unfastening of a hook. This is particularly important, as it makes the action easy of access in case of accident. Among the agentsof this company are some of the best posted and most influential men in the piano and organ trade. The high character of these agents speaks for the reliability of the Ann Arbor organs. The establishment of the various agencies, and the systematic method of conducting the business of this company, is due to Lew H. Clement, who became a member of the company in September, 1889, consolidating his retail business with them to assume the management of their retail department. In October, 1890, he was elected secretary and general manager, which position he now holds. Mr. Clement is a Wolverine, though he obtained most of his business education in the "Windy City," Chicago. He not only supervises the agencies, but also takes active management of the RETAIL DEPARTMENT of the company, of which we must make more than casual mention. The company has but recently moved from their old quarters to the large store in the Binder Block, corner of Main and Liberty-sts, which has been fitted up by them especially to meet the requirements of their rapidly increasing retail and jobbing business. The main room is devoted to their sheet music and musical merchandise department, and also as a salesroom for pianos and organs. This has been newly decorated, and, beina; well lighted, makes a model piano salesroom. In the rear part of the room are the offices of the company, which have been tastily fitted up. A room just off the main salesroom has been liberally furnished, and it will be used especially for pianos in fancy cases and for grands. This has been decorated in the most pleasing manner, and is furnished and carpeted similar to a pleasant parlor, and will prove especially suitable for the trying and judging of pianos as to their particular fitness for the home. Still back of this room are others especially for the use of teachers, man; of whom make this store their headquarters. The company are wholesale and retail agents for a large number of America's best pianos, among them the Chickering and the Mehlin, with which they have had phenomenal success. The policy of the company of f urnishing, at the least possible price consistent with good business, instruments of integrity and sterling worth, is one that has been rigidly carried out from the rirst, and has proven itself appreciated by the purchasing public. Instruments o'f inferior grade are not recommended or sold, each piano being a representativo one among its class, and while instruments may be obtained of this company at moderate prices, they are of such wórkmanship and tone quality as will give continued satisfaction. This company is appreciated in Ann Arbor from the fact of its bringing from other states large sums yearly, which are paid to its employés with regularity and promptness. 1 he board of directora of this rapidly growing industry are among Ann Arbor's most popular and reliable men, and for the present year are as followsFrederick Schmid, of Mack .: Sohmid president; H. Hutzel, of Hutzel & Co vice-president; Frederick H. Belser, cashier Farmers' and Mechanics' Bank, treasurer; Lew H. Clement, of Allmendinger Piano and Organ Co., secretary and manager; David F. Allmendinger, of Allmendinger Piano and Organ Co superintendent; G. F. Allmendinger, of Allmendinger & Schneider; G. Luick, of Luick Bros.


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