This month, Mike restores our windchest. The windchest was not in good condition. Someone had previously worked on it and had glued a piece of plywood on as a top for the windchest. We want to get back to the original way Wurlitzer made the windchest using a solid piece of wood. So, the top was carefully sawed off and a new top was made out of solid maple.
Photo A shows the new top glued on and the holes for the wind to flow from the windchest into the pipework. The toe boards for the pipes are not installed yet. The row of smaller hole on the back edge of the windchest are where the push rods for the pallet valves are located.
Photo B shows the windchest now turned over to show the dividers in the windchest which create the wind channels. The seal is now in place and the tops of the channels where the pallet valves will be installed are visible.
Photo C shows the pallet valves in place. These pallets are faced with leather with a small tail of leather extending out the back which is glued in place to act as a hinge for the pallet. Small pins are inserted between the pallets to guide them during the opening and closing of the pallet.
Photo D shows the two strips in place which serve to retain the pallet springs. Each pallet is spring loaded. Note in the photo the push rod which when depressed by the stack pneumatic (not shown) opens the pallet. The spring serves to force the pallet closed again after that particular note is shut off by the music roll.
Wurlitzer liked to glue pieces of newspaper (Photo E) on the inside of their windchests and pumps. I assume this was a means by which to help seal the porosity in the wood with a layer of glue and newspaper. Collectors are absolutely delighted to find these pieces of newspaper. Often, they will provide a date or information by which we can date the year of its manufacture or at least the last time someone glued the newspaper on. Wherever possible, efforts are made not to destroy this paper but to preserve it for someone else to look at in the future.
But, alas, this time the newspaper contained mostly advertising and no dates for us to see............
Dr. Bill Black is one of the nation's most knowledgeble Wurlitzer band organ experts. He has made recordings of many band organs and other mechanical music machines which are available for purchase at CarouselStores.com.