Volume Control, Cookies
Here at Stinson Organ Company we have just finished a very large model 187 organ for an amusement company. An organ that had to be capable of being heard over the many sounds of the midway.
Over the last few years we have been leaning toward the softer voiced organs utilizing the Stinson music rolls which most clients agree are superior and more musical than the Wurlitzer rolls.
I have been asked how to judge how loud an organ is and there are several answers.
Number one is to check with a meter.
Number two is to just listen and number three is the one I usually give to get some humor in the situation: I sometimes tell people you can tell how loud an organ is by simply counting the bullet holes in the facade.
Volume is one of the things which bothers me the most, and I will give some illustrations.
It is not always that the organ is too loud but the type of music it is playing does not always agree with some members of the younger generation. Many years back we were at a steam show with a Stinson Calliola and several people complained to the management that the organ was too loud.
Shortly after that we were asked to move to a different location and the same people came out with a large pile of speakers and audio equipment and started playing rock music at twice the volume we were using.
On two other occasions I have built small organs with only two ranks of pipes in melody and voiced them at five inches, which is considered low for band organs. After the first hour or so the operators simply say that it is too loud even at the low volume level. My opinion is that operators are paid to do a job and should do it or move over and let someone who likes organs take the job.
There was no way I could ask the owners of the factory I worked at in the early years to turn off the machines because they were too loud. It was my job and I did not complain.
The first thing we organ people hear many times over is the following question"
IS THERE A VOLUME CONTROL ON THAT THING?"
Now I am sure many of you organ owners have had to answer this question many times and I will give you a standard answer, which seems to work in almost all instances.
When a person comes up angry and asks this question simply do the following: Put your arm around them and tell the following lie, which goes this way.
OUT OF RESPECT FOR YOU PEOPLE
WHO DO NOT CARE FOR OUR KIND OF MUSIC
WE ARE OPERATING THIS ORGAN AT ONE QUARTER VOLUME
AND DO NOT WANT TO CAUSE PROBLEMS
BY TURNING IT UP ALL THE WAY
They usually just say thank you and walk off thinking they have won the battle.
It is a much more diplomatic way than saying what you think and hanging a sign on the organ stating
ANYONE ASKING FOR A VOLUME CONTROL WILL BE SENT TO THE SOUTH POLE FOR A NICE THREE YEAR VACATION.
These are isolated cases and most of the people we have dealings with have respect for the organs and music they provide.
Stinson Organ Company will be introducing our NEW GENERATION ORGAN LINE in the near future and are very exited about the many new items coming out.
Look for them on our web site. www.stinsonbandorgans.com
BACK AT THE OLD RAILROAD SHOP
I was reminded again of our electrical supervisor who taught me to climb the floodlight towers. I was talking to an old friend last week and we were discussing the driving habits of our supervisor. Now I am not saying he was a bad driver but I did refuse to go on a service trip with him in his own car one time and had to pay my own expense to follow him to a town about 60 miles away.
Before we left he borrowed the chain saw and gas can which I mentioned in an earlier episode and before we returned he ran over the gas can and stuck the chain saw in a pole and ruined the blade.
On this trip he was running in front of me and decided to pass another car. It took him almost a mile to get around, as he did not like to gas it hard and waste gas money.
To save the company money we had two electric lines running between buildings made up with spliced wire with no section longer than about eight feet. He never put anything in the scrap dump.
He is the same one who borrowed the car from a supervisor and wrecked it only to tell the man to go pick out a new one, which he paid for. He is also the same one who pulled in a filling station and hit three cars before he was able to get back on the road.
Returning from this trip I followed him into a small town where he pulled up in front of a bake shop and asked me to come in with him. In this shop were many different kinds of cookies all at different prices. He would ask for odd numbers of each one and have the girl put them in the bag until he had a dozen or more different kinds. He then asked the girl how much he owed her and she could not begin to figure out the bill.
He just looked at her and named the prices and amount of each cookie until he had them all listed and totaled them up in his head and asked her if that was right and was told it would be just fine with her. I think this might have been one of his ways of entertainment as he was very good with figures.
He was also the man who would do anything to help you if you showed interest in your work.
I miss the old boys who have gone before me at the New York Central Railroad.
And so it was at the old roundhouse.