April 2000

European Sound, A Higher Order

One of the things that any American band organ builder has to face up to is the fact that most people, to a certain extent, still think an organ has to be built in Europe to be good. This is no longer the case and we are letting our products tell the story for us.

A perfect example of this happened a few years back at one of the large trade shows in Dallas, Texas. We had a model 87 Stinson organ on display in an outside location and many people were listening to the music when a fine old gentlemen walked up and stood there for a long while listening to the music.

I was also standing out with the crowd of people when he came up not knowing who I was, bumped me on the shoulder and made the following statement. "This is a very fine example of European organ building." I told him the organ was built in the Unites States and he said, "You are wrong and I will tell you why." He then went on and explained that no one in our country could build and organ to look this good and no one in this country could build one that sounded this good.

At this time I asked him if he would like to enter the trailer and see the back side of the organ and he said he would if the owners would not object. I told him they did not care and gave him the grand tour. As he left the trailer I told him I had built the organ here in the USA and it was number fifty out of our factory.

He then turned around, tipped his hat and told me it was as good as his organ back home. I will not give his name or country as he was a fine gentleman and I talked with him for a while longer after the tour. This is what we had to face up to until our company reputation and products became widely known around the world.

Back at the old New York Central Railroad I am reminded of the way a good foreman handled a situation in a very smart way.

This story was told to me as I was not there to see this incident first hand. When we reported to work at the beginning of the shift we all stood around until the foreman gave us out time cards which we kept with us and turned them in at the end of the day. If we were late for work he would mark the time arrived and if we were on time we received a blank card with our name on it.

After picking up our card we would then get our tool box and proceed to the job he assigned to us. Now it just happened that one small man found his tool box had been placed on a high shelf not intended for tool boxes and he had to get a ladder and another man to help him get it down. The next day the tool box was in the same place and he once again had to get help to get it down. After the third day with the box on the high shelf the foreman asked who put it there and received no answer.

He was not the kind of foreman to start trouble so he picked out a man who had a short temper and told him to get the box down. I am told that he grumbled but followed orders and retrieved the box. The next three days he ordered the same man to get the box down and when the fourth day came and he again gave the order the man lost his cool and told the foreman to quit picking on him and named the man who was putting the box on that top shelf.

The foreman said no more and the guilty man received the word through the grapevine and the box stayed on the floor after that. This foreman was able to find the guilty party and correct the situation with no punishment and no detective work on his part. I worked for this foreman for about three years and still appreciate the old time people of this caliber.

And so it was at the old roundhouse.

Next: Band Organ Note No. 16, May 2000
Previous: Band Organ Note No. 14, March 2000

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