Friday, September 5, 2014

The M. P. Möller Organ Company Chandelier Pipe Organ

The M. P. Möller Organ Company was once the largest pipe organ builder in the United States.  Operating in Hagerstown, Maryland from 1875 - 1992, Moller built over 11,730 instruments, many of which are still playing in churches, universities, and elsewhere.  Probably their nearest competitor in terms of output was Wicks Organ Company of Highland Illinois, with an opus list of nearly 7,000 instruments.  Wicks still exists today, though not as large an organization as it once was, having significantly downsized in 2011.

An experimental design of a "chandelier organ" was built by Möller employees to be suspended from a high ceiling and to allow the tone to gently descend on the listeners.  In keeping with the tradition of the Echo or Ethereal or even Antiphonal divisions sometimes incorporated into pipe organs, the chandelier organ would have provided a simple flute and principal sound producing tone from a different direction than the main organ.

Möller built only two of these instruments.

I recently found photographs in my old picture files, having saved them from online when this instrument went up for auction on eBay in 2002 or 2003.  The collection included various views of the chandelier organ, as well as a picture of the small console that was built to play it independently of a main pipe organ.  Doing a bit of research I learned that the instrument I have pictured is now, after restoration by Keith Williams and the service team at Buzard Organ Company, playing as part of a 1968 Wicks Pipe Organ in St. Thomas the Apostle, Catholic Church, Crystal Lake, Illinois. 

The second Möller chandelier organ was recently donated to an exhibit on the Möller Pipe Organ Company at Discovery Station in Hagerstown, Maryland. 

Just a short article on what I think was and is a very cool pipe organ!  Please check out my album of additional photos of the M. P. Möller Organ Company Chandelier Organ