1964 Hammond B3 #92147, Leslie 122
“The Cannonball” purchased 1966.
My first full-sized Hammond console and my stage organ for 50+ years in the U.S., Canada and two U.S.O. tours to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It has survived two traffic accidents, fallen down a fire escape and dropped off a shipping palette from the back of a C-141 military transport aircraft…. but it looks and sounds as perfect as the first day it arrived from the Hammond dealership in Hampton Virginia. I was thirteen years old and remember spending that first night in the living room staring at it in disbelief.
It was also the night I fell in love with the smell of fine mahogany and organ oil….and the whirring sound of a Leslie 122 speaker cabinet spinning on fast tremelo.
🎶These are a few of my favourite things….🎵🎹
Most of my 50+ years of performing -whether in dives, arenas, television or recording studios, were on this old gal and she is not just an old and trusted friend, she is family.
If I weren’t absolutely certain that this instrument will survive me by at least a hundred years if well cared for, I’d probably choose to be buried in it! 😉
Who me? Crazy? You bet, but compared to most Hammond-obsessive freaks I’m tame. Just Google Hammond B-3 if you don’t believe me!
Trek II reverb and string bass added. Console, pedals, bench and Leslie refinished in 1981.
*Small cigarette burn on Leslie left by Ted Kennedy at a private gig retained for posterity!
1957 Hammond B3 #69674, Leslie 145
I purchased this mint condition, “driven Sundays only” console in 1984 from a Mom and Pop Music Shop in north Toronto on a tip from a dear friend and great singer that I was working with at the time and in who’s honor she was named. It’s all original with no add-ons. Leslie 145 is show-room new purchased in the early ’90s.
Finishes are original and perfect with only some slight wear on top of the organ bench. Neither have ever been used on stage.
A classic beauty. Just like her namesake.
*Both of these tonewheel Hammonds
are in perfect playing condition thanks to periodic maintenance by Michael Bonnell of London, Ontario. Visit Michael at: vintagetonewheels.ca
1998 Hammond-Suzuki XB3, Leslie 122XB
My first Hammond-Suzuki digital organ. It resembles the original B3 cabinet design but weighs half as much.
It reproduces traditional sounds but includes features not available on vintage Hammonds.
Digital updates included midi, manual/pedal coupling, programmable sustain, reverb, distortion, tuning/transposing, vibrato, chorus and Leslie effects with foot controls.
Those dark programming control buttons made major effect changes on darkened stages a challenge and scrolling on a dimly lit screen can be a royal pain at first. The XB3 was considered State of the Art for it’s day but it’s size and cost made it obsolete almost overnight and it was soon discontinued. It has since been replaced by numerous “clonewheel” single and double keyboard models as well as the (very) expensive Hammond Suzuki “New B3”. Hmmmm…..
My advice? Buy TWO vintage tonewheel B3s, FOUR Leslies and a Tesla. You’ll still have enough change left to treat your posse to a night out at the neighborhood pub. Just be sure they have LIVE music!
I only used the XB3 on a few gigs and thought it was great once I got used to the busy work of navigating those multi-function buttons on the fly.
On the upside it was lightweight, easy to move (for a full sized console) and the Leslie 122XB really pumped up the volume. No mics required even for loud rock gigs. It would give any “guitar hero” with a stack of Marshalls a run for their money.
Impressive and powerful. I still enjoy it at home-sometimes for practice, sometimes for teaching and sometimes just for the fun of scaring the passersby…(grin). Nah…I don’t want to frighten the neighbors. I have NICE neighbors.
I still keep the user’s manual handy (for all those buttons) but the windows stay CLOSED!
1998 Technics SX-EA5 Spinet Organ
I bought this organ for use in classroom labs and to accompany school choirs but found it not only versatile and portable but amazingly fun to play.
Spinet organs enjoyed popularity in the golden age of the “home organ” from the mid 50’s to the late 70’s. With the exception of the Hammond tone wheel spinets, most were inexpensive, unsightly and nasty-sounding gadgets full of vacuum tubes and transistors. They had limited and questionable tonal options usually consisting of multi-coloured toggle-stops that sounded nothing like their names e.g., flute, trumpet, violin etc. In the 70’s many offered repeating (and irritating) auto-rhythms with kitchy names like a-go-go, foxtrot and teenbeat.
Think of your Grandma’s organ. (Eewwwwww..)
You can still find them, lying-in-state at junk shops and garage sales now for ten or fifteen bucks but be careful- they have a tendency to catch on fire and/or electrocute cats.
Few musicians took spinet organs seriously aside from the Hammond models which became popular in rock and jazz bands in the 60’s and 70’s.
This little Technics however is a high-quality and very versatile digital instrument in the grand tradition of the Mighty Wurlitzer theater organs of the early 20th century.
This instrument was the last of it’s kind and a victim of bad timing.
They were expensive and the market was dead. They didn’t sell, were discontinued and now are quite rare.
Too bad. They rock.
The orchestral, percussion and organ sounds are amazing. It has fully programmable presets,
an enormous variety of authentic percussion instrument samples and is equipped with on-board multi-track
recording capable of downloading fairly sophisticated compositions. The special effects and animation are especially
Small but mighty.
The keyboard top detaches from the bottom with two thumb screws and easily fits in the back of a Mazda CX5.
I love this little guy!
1911 Estey Transposing Chapel Organ #383657
1911 Estey WHAAAAT?
Ok here goes. But just remember, YOU scrolled down!
The Estey Organ Co. was one of the leading reed organ producers in north America for over 100 years. The company formed in 1852 in Brattleboro, Vermont and thrived into the mid 20th
century. Although they produced other instruments, they were most famous for the mass production of American reed organs.
Reed or “pump” organs were enormously popular due in part to their convenience and low price. They were much less expensive than pianos and were offered in numerous styles,
models and sizes.
The Victorian “gingerbread” cases offered high tops with mirrors, candle holders, shelves and fancy-schmancy cabinetry but organs were available in endless styles for every possible use. From tiny portables
that folded into carrying cases for outdoor use, traveling musicians or “graveside” services to Cottage Organs with modest oak cabinets and limited stops. They were everywhere.
Oddly, they still are but you have to look a little harder to find them and that usually means in haunted houses, attics and barns.
The most popular and recognizable instruments were the ornate and intricately carved Parlour
or Boudoir Organs which were available with more stops, decoarative pipe tops, multiple keyboards and even bass pedals.
Reed organs were found in modest homes and mansions, country churches, theaters, chapels,
crypts and classrooms.
In an era when the home entertainment center consisted of either a piano, an organ or both, the reed organ was as common and popular in the 19th century as radios and televisions became in
Many an Estey headed west during the great migration strapped to the back of a stagecoach or in a covered wagon. They were loaded onto missionary sailing ships bound for the Pacific islands as well as steam-powered luxury liners crossing the Atlantic.
The 1911 Estey Chapel Organ Model R #383657 is unique for several reasons.
When acquired in 2005 it was nearly 100 years old but still in beautiful and playable condition with all the original parts.
This instrument was designed for solo use, congregational singing and choir accompaniment. It has a lower profile, less ornate casework and more stops than a Parlour Organ. The sound came from both the front and back of the instrument to project into a larger space. Rather than
placing the organ against a wall it was positioned so the organist could see both choir and congregation. This instrument also has an ingenious transposing mechanism which allows the player to change key by half steps in either direction by simply lifting a lever and shifting the
entire keyboard up or down.
Some people think reed organs sound creepy.
I think creepy is cool.
*Recent servicing to #383657 include bellows and pedal repair by Harry Rodley of Oakville and action service and adjustment by schmidtpianoandorgan.com
of Kitchener Ontario.
1953 Hammond M2 #34674 Spinet Organ
The Hammond Organ was introduced to the public in the late 30’s and was an instant success.
It was not an electronic organ. It was an electro-mechanical organ using Laurens Hammond’s
patented tone wheel sound generator with moving parts run by a synchronous motor. Although the console models were offered in several cabinet styles every Hammond had the same features and characteristic sound.
The Hammond became increasingly popular in the 40’s and was used in radio shows, theaters, churches and even MGM musicals.
Hammond consoles were not only fine instruments but large, expensive and heavy pieces of furniture. They also required a large detached speaker cabinet.
In the late forties the company realized there was a market for a smaller, more compact instrument.
With the release of the M series spinet organs, Hammonds started to appear in more homes, small chapels and recording studios. Hammond even had a military contract during WWII for installations on bases, troop ships and
for USO tours.
The M series was half the size of the larger Hammond consoles with a self- contained speaker.
They required less space and were easier to move while still producing the signature Hammond sound.
The 1953 Hammond M2 #34674 Spinet was the second generation of the M series. It was upgraded to the M3 in the mid 50’s and featured the same touch-response percussion as it’s big brother, Hammond’s most popular and successful console-the Mighty B3.
Wm. Bell & Co. Parlour Organ #44060
The Wm. Bell & Co. of Guelph, Ontario was one of several names used by this Company from it’s beginning (circa 1870) until the early 20th century.
Wm. Bell & Co. #44060 (circa 1878) is a classic example of the Victorian style, high-top Parlour Organ.
The ornate gingerbread carving isn’t to everyone’s taste and sadly, many surviving instruments have been gutted, the tops removed and refinished as desks etc.
This style might clash if your decor is minimalist or mid-20th century modern.
I don’t think mid (19th) century modern is even a thing. Yet.
Although this instrument was a “rescue” and needs quite a bit of restoration, the bellows work well, most stops are functioning, the mice moved out and even in it’s present condition it has a warm, rich sound.
The restoration of this organ back to it’s former glory is in progress.
Lot’s of potential here. Updates to follow!
1878 Estey Cottage Organ #40864
This instrument was in perfect, playable condition when offered as a gift to the collection.
(I couldn’t resist.)
It had been owned by one family and had always been well maintained.
The simplicity of the cabinet style and excellent condition belies it’s actual age of 140 years. (!)
It is a typical example of the Estey “Cottage Organ” style-small, with limited stops (only five) and a flat, closing top.
The cabinet shows no signs of wear or damage and the bellows, action and stops all work perfectly. It produces a remarkably rich and full tone for one of Estey’s more modest models.
1876 Decker Bros. Concert Grand Piano #5034
I am NOT worthy…….
The BURLOCK-DECKER Concert Grand Piano (serial 5034) was almost certainly one of four produced by Decker Brothers for display at the 1876 Centennial Exposition (World’s Fair) in Philadelphia. The NEW YORK TIMES reported in September 1876, that the Decker Brothers exhibit was awarded First Place in the American piano division.
The instrument was privately acquired by John Lucas of Lucas Paints (later Sherwin-Williams) in Philadelphia. When Lucas passed away the Estate sold the piano to Duffy and Hughes Pianos of Philadelphia.
During the 1950’s W.L. Schryer, a piano lover from coastal Virginia, discovered and rescued the piano from the Duffy and Hughes warehouse and began the work of restoration, refinishing the original Rosewood in black lacquer.
In the mid 1960’s Frances Berman Burlock acquired it and it remained in the Burlock home in Poquoson, Virginia, for nearly fifty years where it was carefully maintained and regularly tuned. Warren Seale of Oakville, Ontario studied with Mrs. Burlock in the 1960s and took lessons on the instrument. After Frances Burlock’s passing, the Burlock family (very generously) decided that Seale-a musician and teacher in Oakville- should have it.
John Hall of the Canadian Piano Museum moved the piano from Virginia and undertook a complete restoration in preparation for it’s first concert performance in more than a century at St. George’s Cathedral in Kingston on November 17, 2013. This historic instrument is now part of the permanent collection of Warren Seale at Ed-Vintage Studios in Oakville.
1866 John C. Fox Square Grand Piano #3749
This one started the whole thing. It was a gift from my chiropractor!
(I can’t make this stuff up!)
John C. Fox trained both as a musician and as a manufacturer of pianos in the United States and Europe. He established a successful manufacturing firm in New York City (J.C. Fox and Company) and arrived in Kingston (Canada West) in February 1861 to sell pianos made by this firm. By June he had a branch store in Kingston and within a year had started a piano factory. By 1862 he was a resident of Kingston and had discontinued the New York firm. In September 1862, he competed in the provincial exhibition in Toronto and won first prize for the best piano. He also supplied instruments for visiting musicians and as a skilled performer himself, performed at numerous concerts and musical events including the first Confederation celebration in Kingston. His pianos were known for their superior quality and one was even presented to Lady MacDonald which was sent to the first Prime Minister’s residence in Ottawa. There is also a fine example on display at Fort Henry in Kingston. Fox expanded his business in January 1864 purchasing a large stone building on Princess St. in Kingston, now the recently restored S & R building.
In 1865 he received a patent for a modified sounding board with a cast iron band that allowed his pianos to withstand the string pressure and produce a sound quality equal to the concert grand and upright pianos that were becoming increasingly popular in the late 19th century. He advertised these instruments as “Double Iron Clad Pianos” capable of exceeding competitors in both price and beauty of tone.
By this time Fox owned the largest piano factory in Canada and was exporting his instruments all over the world. He employed over 60 men, many of them skilled artisans from American firms such as Steinway and Chickering who were willing to relocate to Canada to avoid conscription during the American Civil War. Fox was producing six pianos a week which is quite remarkable for instruments that were entirely hand made. He had sales agents in Picton, Cobourg, Toronto, Hamilton and London.
In May of 1867 a fire destroyed the Princess Street factory and in October the collapse of the Commercial Bank brought financial failure and eventual insolvency. Fox suffered severe head wounds in early December 1867 from a sleighing accident and died in January of 1868.
The John C. Fox Serial # 3749 was acquired by Warren Seale in 2008 through an unlikely combination of chance, circumstance and coincidence and there remain many unanswered questions. The instrument was restored to pristine condition by John Hall of Napanee Ontario, probably the foremost authority on Fox pianos.
Although there is still much speculation and research in progress about Fox, his wife (Mary Elizabeth) and infant son (name unknown) as well as questions regarding his cross-border dealings during the height of the American Civil War there is little doubt that the John C. Fox #3749 Square Grand is one of the finest remaining, fully restored and playable examples of these remarkable instruments in existence today and a treasured showpiece of the Ed-Vintage Studio collection.
Visit John Hall at: canadianpianos.ca
*If ANYONE out there has any additional information regarding Mary Elizabeth Fox and the unnamed infant son PLEASE contact me immediately!
We’re offering cash, cars and tropical vacations!
Victor Talking Machine (circa 1918) Table Model “Victrola” #489349
Another kind gift from good friends Jan and Bill. I always wanted one!
Gramophones became popular home entertainment items in the early 20th century. They were produced by many companies in a variety of styles -Victor and Edison being the most popular.
Early models played rolling cylinders which were susceptible to melting in high temperatures and wore out quickly.
Later models featured large, directional horns for amplification and metal spring bands wound by a hand crank at the side.
(Think of the RCA-Victor brand logo of the little dog sitting in front of a big horn listening to “his masters voice”).
That image was used by RCA for several decades in the 20th century.
The spinning cylinders were eventually replaced by mechanical turntables with adjustable speeds. They used sharp steel needles weighted by a heavy arm to play flat disk shaped “records”.
Victrolas were available in large, standing floor models with elaborate cabinets as well as smaller, table sized models. The large amplifying horns were eliminated and replaced by acoustic baffles under the closeable top and turntable. Volume could be increased or decreased by simply opening or closing two cabinet doors.
Victrola #489349 has a charming sound when playing vintage 78 rpm records it was designed for. Think of that 1920s “Great Gatsby” sound.
Note: these machines were not built to play vinyl records. The size and weight of the steel needles and arms of these machines would quickly destroy your favourite vintage 33 rpm stereo album!
#489349 was restored by John Hall of the Canadian Piano Museum, Napanee, Ontario
Harmonipan Hofbauer “Barrel Organ” Anniversary Edition #L-120111
Although the anniversary plaque on the top calls this instrument a “Hurdy-Gurdy” it has nothing to do with the medieval instrument of that name.
This is a true Barrel Organ albeit a hybrid design in that it uses traditional hand-cranked wind power but also uses a battery and song cartridges containing pre-programmed song selections. No keyboard!
Aside from the battery operated controls for song selection and speed control it operates on the same principle as an organ grinder’s street instrument from centuries past.
Since this organ uses actual pipes to produce pitches, a constant air supply must be provided by a circular hand crank in the back. The instrument will only play as long as the air supply is constant.
The music it produces is quite loud and obviously intended for outdoor use. The characteristic sound and available songs are reminiscent of the steam calliopes used on Mississippi River “Showboats” and amusement park carousels in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This one is a real kick. It’s truly hilarious. Especially when I crank it up in the backyard late at night in the middle of a snowstorm.
Think I’m kidding? Videos to follow!
In case anyone is interested, the manufacturer is still in business in Göttingen Germany.
Faventia “Barrel Piano” (c.1955) Barcelona, Spain (no visable serial number)
This instrument is a true, mechanical Barrel Piano. It uses felt hammers to strike piano strings inside the hand painted case.
It does not have (or need) a keyboard.
The mechanics work very much like a complex music box but instead of using metal tines to produce the pitches, hundreds of plectrums on the hand cranked brass barrel trigger the hammers which strike the strings.
The instrument contains no springs so must be cranked by hand to play each of the numerous songs.
How weird is that?
This little guy was rescued from a flea market and included two brass barrels (six songs on each), a metal barrel case as well as all the original documents (in three languages) with tuning instructions and it’s cute as a bug!
The vendor informed us that it was purchased (new) by his parents while visiting Lisbon, Portugal in the mid 1950’s and had remained in the family since.
The instrument is fully functional but needs a thorough cleaning, tuning, adjustment of the mechanical action and LOTS of TLC. All felt hammers and strings are in excellent condition.
1961 Wurlitzer Sideman #321941
Now THIS is cool!
The Wurlitzer SIDEMAN was the first “drum machine” in history predating the digital instruments so common today by almost two decades.
Like the Hammond Organ, the Wurlitzer Sideman was an electro-mechanical instrument. It combined electronic amplification with an electric motor which powered a system of pulleys, belts, wheels and other moving parts to trigger preset rhythm patterns from a tonal generator.
The result was a clever and noisy piece of furniture with three speakers that could be used to add rhythm accompaniments for solo or ensemble settings.
The fact that the technology is over 60 years old and still functions perfectly makes it all the more remarkable.
Of all the “mechanicals” in the collection the Sideman is probably my fave for several reasons.
I am the original owner and it was a Christmas gift from my parents when we lived in Hawaii. I used it often for my earliest club gigs as a kid. Later it traveled from the Islands through the Panama Canal to Norfolk Virginia and I continued to use it for many years.
The American Federation of Musicians actually “outlawed” their use for public performance and recording. The reasoning (at the time) was that the Sideman could take the place of a paid Union percussionist or set drummer.
Bravo say I!
(Not really! I have a lot of friends who are drummers.) Sorry Guys! Just kidding!
This beautiful and bizarre creature followed me from Hawaii to Virginia to Canada and although digital technology had made it obsolete I couldn’t bear to part with it so it has been stored away for decades.
When adding the “mechanical” instruments in the collection to the website and encouraged by the recent interest in this instrument in particular, I decided to pull it out, clean it up and restore it to pristine condition.
Syd Beaumont of www.idealinnovations.biz is in the process of cleaning, minor repairs and overall reconditioning prior to refinishing the walnut cabinet. Syd has been a valuable resource providing schematics, vintage advertisements and a ten episode restoration and research project by Darsha Hewitt. You can visit Darsha at: sideman5000.org
*Final note. Some of the instruments listed in the collection may be available for special concert performances, film shoots or historic display events in the future. If interested in information on leasing please contact me at: email@example.com