The Orpheus

The Story and Clark Orpheus

Story and Clark was formed in Chicago in 1884 and manufactured Pianos and Reed Organs.

The “Orpheus” was introduced to London in 1898 and sold for £75. Apparently the design had taken six years to complete. A number of models was available, ranging from the small “Parlor” organ to the large “Orpheus Grand” playing 12 sets of reeds. All Story and Clark organs played the same music rolls, not interchangeable with other makes of self-playing organ. Very expensive in its time, few are known today.

Our ‘Parlor’ has a 61-note keyboard playing just 2 full sets of reeds which, being placed behind and above the keyboard, allows this to be at normal height.

A large clockwork motor and drive train is fixed to the right hand side of the roll-box. When the Tempo stop is pulled out the motor starts and the roll winds onto the lower take-up spool. Speed is controlled by a fly-ball governor. The further the stop is pulled the faster the roll will play. There is no speed indicator and the rolls are marked only slow, medium, fast.

The casework is Mahogany and the 12 Stops are of pink porcelain: Rewind, Sub Bass 16, Diapason 8, Viola 4, Bass Coupler, Pneumatic Mute, Treble Forte, Treble Coupler, Flute 4, Melodia 8, Celeste 8, Tempo. The Right Knee-lever controls Swell, whilst the Left Knee-lever is Full Organ.

Blowing is suction by Foot Pedal.

The instrument contains a total of 172 Reeds and is tuned to A 436.

Known History. The Parlor was in Phil Archer’s collection until he donated it to the Reed Organ Museum, Saltaire, in June 1987 from where it has joined the EMCOA Collection.