R.A. Colby, Inc.
PO Box 4058
Johnson City, TN 37602
ph: 423-282-4473

First Methodist - Johnson City, TN
  A major factor to deal with in this installation was the condition of the pouches in the windchest.  This pipe organ was built by the Reuter Organ Company in electro-pneumatic style.  This style was very popular from the 20’s through the late 60’s.  While it is still built today, the popularity of the style has dramatically decreased due to the development of improved control systems as well as the development of alternate style of  windchest actions. 

The National Electrical Code was modified in 1990 to include Article 650 which covers the wiring of Pipe Organs.  This was the first time that such requirements had been placed on Pipe Organs.  The industry immediately responded with modification to construction styles and materials to accommodate the requirements.  Instruments installed prior to 1990 were obviously exempt from the code requirements and could be maintained as installed. 

The “leather pouches” in this instrument were nearly 35 years old and inspection had shown that they were showing advanced signs of deterioration. With the advent of digital control for pipe organs, a very modern operational switching and control system is now available for the action or instruments.  This has paved the way to completely eliminate the complex “pneumatic grid” style of action for replacement with a simple, reliable “electro-mechanical” action.  This style, basically, places a single action magnet with the “Pipe Valve” attached to it below each and every pipe hole.  The complete “Leather Pouch” action is eliminated along with the cost of replacement.
The development of digital control has removed the tonal barriers which existed and the rising costs of labor have provided the cost justification to move to this style of system.  Our proposal called for the complete modernization of all main chest actions with the “electro-mechanical” style of action. 

We retained the larger offset notes in the “electro-pneumatic” style as it is possible to use heavier leather which will provide long term reliability in this area.  These actions were completely rebuilt to “as new” specifications.

With space availability there was not adequate room in either chamber to provide additional pipework to complete the specification.  However, the instrument would benefit from some tonal versatility.  As the main portion of the instrument is very stable, our suggestion was to add the additional tonal resources with digital equipment.


16 Quintaten
8 Principal
8 Bourdon
8 Flute Harmonique
4 Octave
4 Spillflote
2 Fifteenth
II Sesquialtera
IV Mixture
8 Trumpet
Chimes Existing
16 Great to Great
Great Unison Off
4 Great to Great

8 Nasonflote
8 Gemshorn
8 Gemshorn Celeste
4 Nachthorn
2 Spitz Principal
1-1/3 Quint
II Cymbal
8 Krummhorn
16 Choir to Choir
Choir Unison Off
4 Choir to Choir

32 Contra Violone
32 Contra Bourdon
16 Principal
16 Violone
16 Bourdon
16 Quintaten
8 Octave
8 Bourdon
8 Quintaten
4 Choral Bass
4 Bourdon
III Mixture 2-2/3'
32 Contra Bombarde
16 Bombarde
8 Trumpet
4 Clarion

16 Lieblich Gedeckt
8 Geigen Principal
8 Rohrflöte
8 Viole De Gambe
8 Viole Celeste
4 Principal
4 Koppelflöte
2-2/3 Nazard
2 Blockflöte
1-3/5 Tierce
IV Mixture 2'
16 Fagotto
8 Trompette
8 Fagotto - New Pitch
8 Vox Humana
4 Clairon
Tremolo Existing
16 Swell to Swell
Swell Unison Off
4 Swell to Swell

8 Diapason
8 Doppel Flute
8 Harmonic Flute
8 Grand Gamba
8 Grand Gamba Celeste
4 Orchestral Flute
8 French Horn
8 English Horn
8 Corno Di Bassetto
8 Tuba Mirabilis
4 Solo to Solo



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