Antique Organs
America's Best Known Restorer of Antique Organs

Antique Organs
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Is It Pump Organ, or Reed Organ?

Many people ask me which name is correct. “Do I own a pump organ, or do I own a reed organ?” Well, technically speaking, you own a reed organ.

And the reason has to do with the many brass reeds that are needed to create the organs sound. Quite often we think of reeds as being made from wood, or other materials, but not brass.

In the case of pipe organs the sounding devise are metal pipes and so we call them pipe organs. However, in the case of the reed organ you have to work the foot pedals in order for the organ to work - so you’re pumping the pedals.

By working the foot pedals you’re working the organ's two exhaust bellows. So it’s understandable that the organ has come to be known as the pump organ. Because after only a couple of minutes working the foot pedals you will not soon forget the energy needed to operate the foot pedals - it’s not always easy.

So the public may call them pump organs, but technically, they’re really called reed organs.

Reed Organ

 

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