First presbyterian church: Albert lea, MN
This 1932 Kimball (Opus 7091?) organ is truly a gem, and it remains unaltered in its original location. It is strikingly similar in design to the one year newer Kimball at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Rushford, MN. The primary difference is that the First Presbyterian design is a straight-ranked version of the Emmanuel organ. The chests are electropneumatic pitman. Some unification exists in limited places.
The organ still has its original electropneumatic relay system. The leather on the "puffers" (below) deteriorated and needed to be replaced. This work was performed in July, 2011, using some of the salvaged puffers from the Emmanuel organ, and releathering the rest. With this restoration, this antique relay system will continue to work flawlessly for another 50+ years, just as it has served in its first 80.
Unfortunately, water has caused significant damage to the plaster walls of the chambers. Plaster stabilization and a thorough cleaning are in the works in the near future.
Plaster deterioration in the Great chamber. At left are the basses of the English Diapason.
Puffers. Top & Middle: Before restoration (tan leather). Bottom: After restoration (white leather). White chrome-tanned hairsheep skin was used in the restoration because of its superior longevity compared to tan pneumatic leather.
Update (Spring 2012):The deteriorating plaster in the chambers has been removed, and the brick walls repainted. Special thanks to Phil Hintermeister and his crew of volunteers. They did a great job.
After plaster removal
While the Twelfth and Fifteenth were out, I took the opportunity to clean and refinish the rackboard.
All of this chamber work allowed me to finally get to the problem we were originally trying to fix. There were several dead notes in the Twelfth, Fifteenth, and Oboe. They were caused by pitmans that couldn't move. The cork had been compressed too hard for 80 years, and the pitmans could not move up and down. Above is the replaced cork gasket. Other ranks are likely to suffer this same problem, but at least I now know what the fix is.
Future work (early Summer 2013?) will include the cleaning of the Oboe and Clarinet.