Mitsukoshi Department Store, Tokyo, Japan

 Wurlitzer, opus #2099, 1930, Model R20

 

 MAIN CHAMBER            Pedal   Accomp  Great           Solo

 16 Tuba  73p            16,8       8    16,8            16,8

 16 Open Diapason  83p   16,8       8    16,8,4             8,4

  8 Clarinet  61p           8       8    16,8               8

  8 Salicional  73p         8    16,8,4  16,8,4             8

  8 Voix Celeste  73p       8       8,4     8,4

 16 Concert Flute  97p   16,8       8,4  16,8,4,3,2         8,4,3,2

  8 Dulciana  73p           8       8,4     8,4

    Chrysoglott  49n                X

 

 SOLO CHAMBER

  8 Brass Trumpet  61p                      8               8

  8 Tibia Clausa  73p       8       8,4  16,8,4             8,4

  8 Oboe Horn  61p                  8       8               8

  8 Vox Humana  61p                 8,4     8               8

    Chimes  25n                             X               X

 

 COUPLERS

 Accomp                     8    16,-8,4

 Great                      8

 Solo                       8            16,8,4

 

 TREMULANTS: Main, Solo, Tibia Clausa, Vox Humana

 

 ("3" = "2-2/3"; "-8" = "unison off")

 

 This organ is installed on the store's seventh floor theatre and exhibition

 hall in two adjacent chambers that face out onto a balcony containing the

 console, which has two straight rows of stoptabs and a roll top.  There is

 also a player mechanism.  The manual keys' ivory plates are held on by six

 brass screws per key, perhaps as insurance against high humidity loosening

 the glue.  There is no 2nd touch.  The stoptabs are all white (stops) and

 black (couplers); the engraving is red for the reed stops.

 

 The 16' octave of the Diapason was a metal Diaphone and the Tibia was of

 "solo scale".

 

 In 1959 and still in 1974 the organist was Hiroshi Matsugawa.  In each year

 the organ was reported to be basically, but not fully, playable.  It was

 used for several short concerts each day.  In 1974, this was the only

 Wurlitzer in Japan.

 

 According to the Judd Walton opus list, Wurlitzer built a total of 7 of

 these "RJ20" models, but the standard specification called for a 12th rank,

 an Orchestral Oboe on the Great and Solo.

 

 (From "Theatre Organ" for the Summer of 1959 and "The Console" for January

 of 1974.) 

 

 

 Larry Chace

===========================================================

 

There is a Wurtlizer 3/12 organ installed in the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo, Japan's oldest store, 342 years old.  It was installed in 1933.  The blower motor was taken out by the  Japanese Army during the war, but a new one was filched from an Army installation and the organ was playable again. In 1950 I was asked to broadcast from the store for the opening of the Bach Festival.

 

The organ went down and down and in 1985 Phil Wickstrom and I restored it, adding a toy counter and roll player (Wurlitzer Band Organ 165)  The original player was still connected but all the rolls were burned in the war.

 

So for 20 years I have played three programs at 10, 12,and 3 and have kept it in fairly good condition.

 

I believe it was originally intended as a residence organ, as it is not a horseshoe console.  It is located in a balcony overlooking the main floor, and the store is open up to the fifth floor, somewhat like Wanamakers.

 

Victor C. Searle

Curator and Organist

Mitsukoshi Main Store, Tokyo

20/5/2005

 

From: Vic Searle (aka Yoshihisa Fujise, my naturalized Japanese name), April 2006

You may have at one time or another noticed that I am now again Curator (and Performer) on the Op 2099 Wurlitzer in Tokyo Mitsukoshi department Store. I was off duty for 3 years, 2002 autumn till April 2005, being rehabilitated from complete bodily paralysis stemming from a direct side hit by a motorcycle.

Thanks to a magnificent therapist I am completely mobile and back to maintaining and playing once a month on this organ.

During my absence, the "technician" hired by the store did all he could to "Classiscise" the organ by cutting the cables to the Glock, Xylo, Chimes, Chrys, toy counter, MIDI module, trems, Vox and roll player. I am working hard to restore them.

A complete story of my 1985-86 restoration and enlargement of the organ can be found in the ATOS magazine for Nov-Dec 1989.

I am probably the only person living who knows the entire history because I was able to access correspondence between Mr Hugo Hellenstern (who did the original installation in 1930-32) and another organ lover living here in Tokyo.

ABOUT THE MITSUKOSHI ORGAN

In 1984-5 I and some of my students restored the organ. It has 12 (not 13 or 14 as posted) ranks. The Chimes and Chrysoglott are hung outside the chambers, Chimes on left side, Chrys on right. It is not located on the 7th floor, but on a 2nd floor balcony extending out into the Grand Court, five stories high.

The Main, not the Solo,contains the Vox Humana, and there is an Orchestral Oboe in the Solo. The pipes total 872, of which 262 were dead when we began working on the restoration.

The Tibia is now 85 notes as we added another octave on top. The trems are Main, Solo, Vox/Tibia and Tuba.

Originally the ivories were secured by 6 tiny brass screws because they kept coming unglued because of the humidity which sometimes reaches 90% during the June-July rainy season.

The organ was installed in 1932 and after the war was played daily, so much that the keys on the GREAT from A 22 up an octave, were worn down to the underlying wood. They were so warped, that there was nothing we could do except replace them intoto.

All the stop keys were replaced, with red ones for reeds and black for couplers and fitted to Syndyne stop actions. The recorder board (safety pin type) in the Solo chamber was scrapped and two drawers under the manuals now operate the combon system.

At the time the organ was installed, the building regulations had ceilings so low that even with mitering the bass pipes, the organ would not fit. Therefore the floor was lowered 2' as far as it would go. This meant that the chests were only 3' above the floor, and the reservoirs took up so much space that the bottom boards of some stops (namely the Tuba) could not be dropped to get at the pneumatics for releathering, so the Tuba is mostly inoperative in the 8' octave.

There was originally a player, and 50 rolls, but all save one were destroyed in the 1944 bombing of Tokyo. The remaining roll on the player just before Pearl Harbor was "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" played by Henry Murtagh. We built a new player using a Wurlitzer 165 band organ roll frame and cannibalized the old mechanism for magnets.

We decided to add a complete toy counter and it has proved a great attraction. It is hung outside the Solo chamber, along with a Glockenspiel and Xylophone which we made. It is fun to watch the people standing on the staircase (next to the Solo chamber) jump when the Snare Drum begins its roll, or I hit the Crash Cymbal. Yes, it does have a Nightingale and Ship/Train Whistle!

The bench also had two fair-sized depressions caused by you-know-what. It was quite a job to sand them out!

The provenance of the organ is very interesting. It was originally ordered by a New York business tycoon who jumped out his office window in October 1929 when the stock market crashed. It was set up in Wurlitzer's New York showroom.

The president of Mitsukoshi, on a world-wide trip to see what other stores were doing, was impressed by the Wanamaker Store, because the Tokyo Mitsukoshi is open up to the 5th floor.

He decided to have an organ, and he visited the Wurli showroom,and saw this instrument. Asking the price and being told $30,000 he whipped out his checkbook and bought it on the spot, without any sales talk by the manager!.

The organ can only be tuned after the store closes, and the air-conditioning is turned off then.

As far as I know, it is the only Wurlitzer in the Orient and one of the two organs in department stores here in Japan. The other is in Nagoya, a Casavant, whose only claim to be an entertainment organ is the set of Chimes.

There is however a Moller theater organ with all the traps, named "Red Devil" in a beer hall here. I had a chance to buy it for $500 when I was apprenticing at the Moller agency in Pittsburgh. They had built it for fun and it sat in their storeroom for years until a local builder bought it for $30,000, added a third manual and sold for almost three time the purchaseprice!

Mitsukoshi Wurlitzer Op. 2099 Specs.

Ordered June 1929 for delivery in November
Order cancelled due to suicide of customer, Oct.31, 1929
Installed in NYC Showroom
Purchased by Mitsukoshi Department Store, Tokyo, 1929
Returned to factory and tropicalized
Shipped from factory Feb. 1930
Installed in Tokyo Store 1932
Rebuilt and enlarged 1985-86

PEDAL

Tuba 16'
Bass 16' (Diaphone)
Bourdon 16'
Tuba 8'
Diapason 8'
Tibia 8'
Clarinet 8'
Cello 8'
Flute 8'
Dulciana 8'

Acc to Ped
Gt. to Ped
Solo to Ped

*Bass Drum
*Rhythm Cymbal
*Woodblock

ACCOMPANIMENT

Contra Viol 16' (TC)
Tuba 8'
Open Diapason 8'
Tibia 8'
Clarinet 8'
Oboe Horn 8'
Salicional 8'
Voix Celeste 8' (TC)
Flute 8'
Vox Humana 8'
Dulciana 8'
Octave 4'
Piccolo 4' (Tibia)
Salicet 4'
Octave Celeste 4'
Vox Humana 4'
Chrysoglott 49 bars

+Acc to Acc 4'
Solo to Acc 16'
Solo to Acc 8'
Solo to Acc 4'

*Snare Drum Tap
*Snare Drum Roll
*Maracas
*Castanets
*Tambourine

*Triangle
*Woodblock
* Sleighbells

GREAT

Tuba 16'
Bass 16'
Tibia 16' (TC)
Clarinet 16' (TC)
Oboe Horn 16' (TC)
Contra Viol 16' (TC)
Bourdon 16'
Brass Trumpet 8'
Tuba 8'
Open Diapason 8'
Tibia 8'
Kinura 8'
Clarinet 8'
Oboe Horn 8'
Salicional 8'
Voix Celeste 8' (TC)
Flute 8'
Vox Humana 8'
Dulciana 8'
Octave 4'
Dulcet 4'
*Twelfth 2 2/3' (Tibia)
*Piccolo 2' (Tibia)]
Cathedral Chimes 25 tubes
*Glockenspiel 32 bars

Solo to Gt 16'
Solo to Gt 8'
Solo to Gt 4'

SOLO

Tuba 16'
Brass Trumpet 8'
Tuba 8'
Open Diapason 8'
Tibia 8'
Kinura 8'
Oboe Horn 8'
Clarinet 8'
Salicional 8'
Flute 8'
Vox Humana 8'
Octave 4'
Flute 4'
Piccolo 4' (Tibia)
Salicet 4'
Flute 4'
Twelfth 2 2/3' (Flute)
Piccolo 2' (Flute)
Cathedral Chimes
*Xylophone Tap 32 bars
*Xylophone Roll

TREMULANTS

SOLO

*Trumpet and Oboe Horn
* Kinura (Independent)
Tibia (operated by Vox Trem stopkey)

MAIN

Vox Humana (operates Tibia Trem) Tuba

ACCESSORIES

Solo Expression Pedal (18 shades)
Main Expression Pedal (14 shades)
Crescendo Pedal ( Great and Pedal stops)
with 3 indicator lights*
5 Pistons per manual
*Cancel piston per manual
*General Cancel
+ GT to Ped Reversible Toe Stud
*5 General Combination Toe Studs
+Military Band Toe Stud( Operates Bass
Drum, Snare Drum, Glockenspiel and
Rhythm Cymbal)

*Pistons set from recorder board switches in drawers under ACC. manual

*TOY COUNTER PISTONS

(in key cheeks)

* Steamboat Whistle
*Nightingale
*Woodblock
*Triangle
*Crash Cymbal (with Toe stud)
*Tympani roll (with Toe Stud)
* Snare Drum Roll

SOLO CHAMBER

Brass Trumpet 61 pipes
Tibia 85 pipes
Kinura 61 pipes
Oboe Horn 61 pipes

MAIN CHAMBER

Tuba 73 pipes
Open Diapason 85 pipes (low octave Diaphone)
Clarinet 8 61 pipes
Salicional 73 pipes
Voix Celeste 61 pipes
Bourdon /Flute 97 pipes
Vox Humana 73 pipes
Dulciana 73 pipes

*AUTO-PLAYER

Plays Wurlitzer Band Organ 165 rolls

NOTES

* New additions 1986

+ New addition 2006

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