Dating a reed organ
In 1989, Seattle businessman Bernard "Bud" Greer purchased the Sohmer company, which also held the George Steck, Knabe, and Mason & Hamlin names, technical specifications, and manufacturing equipment.
He moved these to a piano factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts, which he had recently purchased from piano manufacturer Santi Falcone—from whom he also purchased the Falcone manufacturing specifications and naming rights.
With older builders repairs are made with original materials whenever possible.
The Reed Organ Societydatabase has nearly 350 Mason and Hamlin reed organs registered in their directory and I have scrolled through them all.
So, the first step was to find out something about the instrument and I set about that task with the few photos that I had.
Now I may not know much about mechanical things, and I may only be a mediocre musician, but I am a professionally trained historian.
Mason & Hamlin was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1854 by Henry Mason, son of Lowell Mason, the American hymn composer and musical educator, and Emmons Hamlin, a mechanic and inventor who had worked for melodeon makers Prince & Co. but in 1855 introduced the organ-harmonium or flat-topped cabinet organ.
This design placed the bellows vertically and underneath the reeds, and served as the model for the suction operated American-style reed organ.