The Largest Organ in the World.

(Note from the WebMaster: This material is taken directly from a brochure given out by the convention hall, and appears to be full of contradictions and errors, but enjoy it anyway.)

In Atlantic City's mammoth $20,000,000 Auditorium and Convention Hall there are located two exceptionally fine organs.

The one in the Ballroom is the largest and most complete semi- theater type organ ever built. But the really big one is in the main Auditorium. In size and power it stands alone. It is beyond most people's conception of a pipe organ. Even the experts are amazed at its inspiring proportions and glorious tone.

Among the problems presented is that all the organ, from the smallest to the largest pipe, must be heard in all parts of the Auditorium but under many different conditions. It must not only cope with a capacity crowd but a partly filled room as well. Nor is that all. One night it may be leading a great international religious meeting, or playing for the Miss America Pageant or even a football game. Or the next week a fraternal convention or a trade exposition with many exhibits on display. The organ has to be all things to all people.

When one hears the sound of the organ in the Main Hall he is listening to music from the largest console in the world. To describe adequately this giant organ would require a large sized book.

The huge organ is by far the largest and most powerful ever built. It is equipped with two giant consoles, one with seven manuals and the other, a moveable one, with five. There are 1225 speaking stops and 33,000 pipes ranging from three- sixteenths of an inch to 64 feet in length. It is run by a 365 H.P. group of motors, has seven blowers and its own generator.

The wiring used would girdle the earth twice. Four years' time was necessary to complete the organ at a cost of $500,000. The soundings are disposed in eight locations, all discernible from the main floor by reason of grille-screens which form the face of each chamber. In checking over the parts of the giant instrument a mainte- nance man walks the length of many city blocks before he can make a complete survey.

In addition to the huge main organ, there is a -smaller one, i.e. smaller in comparison, in the ballroom. This one cost $100,000 and is one of the finest and most complete organs of its kind in the world.

Visitor's Bureau Convention Hall, Atlantic City, N.J. 08401

The organ pipes are disposed in eight locations, all discernible from the auditorium by reason of grille screens which form the face of each chamber. in addition some of these locations are subdivided into "swell boxes" fitted with aluminum louvres in place of the con- ventional wooden shades.

In all there are 22 divisions comprised of:

          Pedal                     Unenclosed Choir                  Fanfare
          Great                     Grand Choir                       Echo Organ
          Grand Great               Swell  Ancillary                  Reed-Diaphone Gallery I
          Solo                      String Organ No.     I            Flute Organ Gallery 2
          Wood   Wind               String Organ No.     2            Diapason Chorus Gallery 3
          Great  Ancillary          String  Organ No.    3            Orchestra Reeds Gallery 4
          Swell                     Brass Chorus                      Percussion Division
          Choir

There are 12 other rooms in which are located the electrical relays and other mechanisms that operate the organ. Eight motors A a combined total of 395 H.P. drive the great blowers that supply with the wind to the pipes.

The largest pipe in the organ and also the largest organ pipe in the world is the low "C" of the 64 foot Diaphone Profunda. The p ipe is 64 feet nine inches long, ten Inches square at the base and 36 Inches square at the top. It is made of Oregon fir, 3 inches thick, and by counting the "rings" a lumber expert determined that the tree from which it came was at least 785 years old. The 12 pipes that make up the lower octave of this stop contain over 10,000 feet of lumber; enough to build an ordinary dwelling-

Since low "C" vibrates only eight cycles per second the tone is felt rather than heard but nevertheless it supplies a strong foundation for the entire pedal organ division. The speaking length of the smallest pipe is about one quarter of an inch long and Its vibration frequency is more than 14,000 cycles per second.

The largest open metal pipe is the 32 foot Open Diapason and is made of cold rolled zinc 5/16 of an inch thick. Incidentally, this pipe is 38 feet six inches in length and weighs well over 2,000 pounds. There are ten 32' voices in the organ.

Among the outstanding features of the organ are-

          (I)   The "Diapason Chorus" on the Great manual. In its unexampled
                power, majesty, and brilliance, it is unique.

          (2)   The brilliant reed and mixture choruses on the swell manual.

          (3)   The three  "string" divisions all different in power and character

          (4)   The  beauty of the soft stops in the Choir organ

          (5)   The first, in America,), Positive on low wind,

          (6)   The  ethereal Spire Flute, in the Echo.

          (7)    The  commanding tone of the Fanfare reeds includinq a battery
                   "en  Chamade," the first in the U. S.

          (8)   The  only 100" wind reeds in any organ

          (9)   The  unique 64 foot stop In the Pedal. Also the only full length
                 pipes of this pitch In the world.

The Console is also of original design. If stands on a platform that can be turned in any direction and is located to the right of the stage. There are a total of 1,439 hand controlled tablets. of which 1,255 control the speaking pipes. These tablets are placed in a "bowl" sur- rounding the manual keys in such a manner as to be easily accessible to the organist. There are also foot controls. These include four separately adjustable crescendos. The Great and Choir manuals are extended to seven octaves, to form a "Grand Great" and "Grand Choir." This was done by etending Pedal voices to these manuals. The Swell is six octaves.

The organ and the Ballroom organ are under the personal care of William R. Rosser, organ expert, and his assistants, who find it a full time job to maintain and tune the two organs.

The first organist was James Winters, followed by the late Rollo Maitland, Firmin Swinnen, Charles M. Corbin, the late Arthur Scott Brook, Carl Bonowitz, William Jackson and Lois Miller the only feminine artist to play the big console.

This and the Ballroom organ were designed by Emerson Richards A.G.O., who has an International reputation in the field of organ design Many of the special stops were designed and voiced by him and all of the pipe work was personally supervised and the voicing done under his direction.

The organ was built by Midmer-Losh Organ Company of Merrick Long Island, New York, organ builder; since 1860. The building was done under the direction of George and Seibert Losh and Otto Strack engineer. They had in their employ an outstanding group of diapason string, and reed voicers, who, under the direction of the architect, produced the amazing tonal results that distinguished this organ from its contemporaries and so far in advance of its time was its design that it is today still the World's most outstanding organ.


Some Organ Statistics

  • A total of 225,000 board feet of lumber was used in its con- struction.
  • The metal pipes are made of combinations of fin, lead, zinc, and brass, according to the tone desired.
  • Weight of the organ is approximately 150 tons.
  • Wind supplied by the eight large blowers, varying from 40 to 60 H.P. each, total 36,400 cubic feet per minute at various pressures from 3 1/2-inch to 100-inch wind pressure.
  • There are 455 ranks of pipes, the number in each rank varying from 32 in the pedal to 61 to 121 on the manuals. There are 14 percussions including chimes, harp, marimba, xylophone and grand piano.
  • So great a number of stops demanded the inventing of a special electrical mechanism for controlling them, such as remote controls, combination actions, relay controls and pneumatic actions. With the acquired Skill Of 100 pipe organ technicians, it took four years to build and complete this gigantic project.
  • Aside from the keyboards in the console. there are 12 portable auxiliary keyboards, attached by electric cables, and placed in the different parts of the organ. These keyboards are used for tuning, voicing and maintenance work,
  • The electric wiring that connects the console with the relay rooms and pipe chests would circle the earth at the equator five and one-half times, 137,500 miles of wire.
  • The "swell" shades or louvres are made of aluminum-an original idea in organ building,
  • Most of the large pipes were fabricated right in Convention Hall.
  • If you were to take a complete tour of the organ it would require four-and-a-half hours of time.
  • The organ's 30 tremolos are adjustable to various speeds by the Organist.
  • The cost of the main organ in 1929, was, slightly over $400,000, but at todays prices it could not be built for $1,450,000. Many of the large wood pipes had to be fabricated in a special shop on the site.
  • The main chests are supported on steel beams and a steel frame.

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