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Behalve pastor is Jaap Spaans musicoloog en gewapend met deze kennis al tientallen jaren actief als adviseur orgelbouw, waarbij het accent vooral heeft gelegen op de orgels in de Oud Katholieke Kerk. Een klein, actief kerkgenootschap met een hoge waardering voor muziek, en een doorleefd besef van historie. Reden ook dat in dit kleine kerkgenootschap erg mooie historische orgels te vinden zijn.

Pastor, orgeladviseur. Máár ook een gepassioneerd verzamelaar van drukwind harmoniums. Van physharmonika tot aan kerkharmonium van Bauer en uiteraard een harmonium d'art van Mustel. Er is veel meer over Jaap te vertellen, dat leest u op de pagina over hem en zijn collectie.

Collectie Jaap Spaans.

































Historic Windmill 1697 of Bodegraven

The 1697 mill pictured in stained glass




Gilbert Bauer 'English Organ'

Type/model sign
picture 01 Type/ model nameplate, behind music rack


© text Frans van der Grijn 2008
© pictures Piet Bron sr. June 7 2005
Use of those pictures is forbidden without prior written permission.


The Bauer company

Gilbert L. Bauer & Co. Established 1865. Address in 1883 21 Kings Road, St. Pancras London. In 1897 and 1903 on two addresses: 49 Tottenham Street, Tottenham Court Road and 34 Kings Road.
Gilbert L. Bauer built a rich variety of instruments, both suction and pressure.
He also built very large instruments, amongst them a 3 manual pedal harmonium of 40 stops, containing 1365 reeds. Some sources mentioned 22,5 ranks, other sources referred to 24 ranks. For this instrument Bauer was awarded a medal at the Philadelphia Exposition in 1876.

source: Robert F. Gellerman
Gellerman's International Reed Organ Atlas Second editon1998


Gilbert L. Bauer. Address Ogle Street, London. One of the first harmonium builders using a 24 note pedal board.
The firm flourished the second half of the 19th Century (1865 to 1896). At the turn of the century the firm was registered as Bauer & Co. at 34 Kings Road, St. Pancras. In 1909 registration did no longer exist.
During the last years of existence, the firm was governed by Edmund Barnes, a member of the London School Board. He was also in control over Muir Smith & Co, piano makers, where the companies founder lost his grip on his firm.

In his book "The Harmonium", published by Novello around 1880, King Hall writes about Bauer:

'A very high pitch of excellence has been attained by a clever and ingenious English manufacturer, Gilbert L. Bauer, whose instruments are remarkable for the simplicity of their mechanism, and the variety of timbres of the various registers.'

Gilbert L. Bauer was trained in France. When in business he mainly had French craftsmen on his payroll.

Bauer was son-in-law of piano builder John Brinsmead. Bauer's children, Harold en Ethel, both were talented pianists. Harold became well known and was said to be an exponent of the Debussy style. Harold emigrated to the United States of America where he passed away in Florida on March 12th 1951.

source: Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume:
Harmonium. The history of the Reed Organ and its makers. David & Charles, London, 1986



This important firm was founded by Gilbert Bauer at Ogle Street and 49 Tottenham Street, London. They also had premises at 21 King's Road, St. Pancras in 1883 and as Bauer and Co. at 34 King's Road in 1897. Bauer was one of the earliest English harmonium manufacturers and his instruments were known for their high quality of fabrication. The firm was awarded a medallion at the Philadelphia Exposition of 1876. They also made harmoniums with a 24-note pedal board.

Gilbert Bauer was the son in law of the famous piano maker John Brinsmead and learned his trade in France. He then employed mainly French workers in his London factory, hence the similarity to the best French harmoniums of the time.

Gilbert's son Harold became a well known concert pianist specializing in music by Debussy, another French connection. He was born on 28th April 1873 in New Malden, Surrey and died 12th March 1951 in Miami, Florida. His daughter Ethel was also a noted pianist.

The firm eventually came under the control of Edmund Barnes, JP, member of the London School Board (later the LCC) who also controlled Muir Smith and Co. piano makers. It was no longer listed in 1909.

source: Web site Reed Organs in England
A comprehensive study of reed organs in England, Scotland and Wales.
© Robert Allan

See here

On this web site by Robert you will find more instruments built by Bauer. The harmonium shown on this page, is also shown on Robert's web site.



















The instrument

Gilbert Bauer built this harmonium, rightfully to be described as 'very big'. Two manuals, 7 rows of reeds in the bass (2 octaves) and 12 rows treble (3 octaves). Effectively this comes down to 10 rows of reeds over five octaves. Or alternatively described: 7 rows throughout the the 5 octave manuals and added to this five treble rows.

This very impressive instrument is owned by Rev. Jaap (Jacob) Spaans, a priest in the Old-Catholic Church. As an university trained musicologist, he also became a renowned collector of reed based instruments and also a well known organ consultant. In his career as a organ consultant he was responsible for many restorations of historic pipe-organs in the Netherlands and Eastern Europe.
Due to his retirement he had to move out of the Culemborg parsonage and moved to the Aalsmeer parsonage, where (of course!) the historic church organ by Knipscheer organ was restored under his supervision.

This beautiful harmonium hade to be moved, however the new parsonage didn't have enough room for his collection of footpumped pipe organs, harmoniums and physharmonicas. Hence I was asked to house this Bauer instrument temporarily at my home, being a historic windmill built in 1697 at the rural village of Bodegraven.

Piet Bron sr., longtime secretary of the Dutch Reed Organ Society is a skilled craftsman, knowing his way around in harmoniums. He decided to give this instrument a considerable amount of tender loving care.

Below you will find some thirty pictures of this instrument. Very detailed, in order to find out about the mechanical construction of this huge instrument.

Playable in the living room of the historic windmill

Gilles Bauer speelklaar
picture 02 The instrument in playable condition in the livingroom



The stop list

Upper manual   Lower manual
Forte Pneumatic
* Dulciana 8 ft
* Principal 4 ft
* Musette & Contrabass 16 ft
Euphonium 32 ft  (treble)
Forte Pneumatic
  * Bourdon 16 ft
* Diapason 8 ft
* Flute 4 ft
Full Organ
Oboe 8’
Voix Celeste 2 ranks 16 ft  (treble)
Harp Eolian 8 ft 2 ranks (treble)
Piccolo 2 ft (treble)
* = Full Organ   * = Full Organ

Mechanical stops:

  • Expression (whole organ)
  • Manual Coupler bass/treble
  • Forte Pneumatic bass/treble (Forté Expressif)
  • Two knee levers (genouillières): Forte Fixe bass/treble (mechanical forte)
  • Full organ. Stopknob and Talonnière( Heel lever) for Full Organ between the pedals.


Lay out of the reed pan

The horizontal reed pan measures 85 cm (33.5 inches) from front to back. The table below shows where the reeds of the various stops are in the reed pan.
The upper side of the table is the rear of the reed pan when horizontal. There are no stops for bass only.

backside of reed pan
  Bass 2 octaves   Throughout 5 octaves   Treble 3 octaves
12     Principal 4'    
11     Dulciana 8'    
10         Euphonium 32'
09     Musette &Clarinette 16'    
08     Flute 4'    
07         Voix Celeste 16'
06         Voix Celeste 16'
05     Bourdon 16'    
04         Harp Eolian 8'
03         Harp Eolian 8'
      Oboe 8'   ** = unison row of Harp Eolian
02         Piccolo 2'
01     Diapason    
front of reed pan

The inside of the instrument in pictures


Picture 03
The lower case of the instrument, housing the bellows system is upside down on this picture. We see the feeder bellows and the mechanism to move them.

Notice that the feeder bellows valves are in a detachable frame. They can be taken out very easily, to renew the leather valve flaps.









Picture 04
Here you can see that the the feeder bellows valves have 40 feeder inlet holes for each feeder.


De schepbalgen   Picture 05
The lower case is in normal position here. The ribs of the feeders are covered with white leather. Although the paper cover of the feeders has detoriated the bellows are in perfect condition.


Picture 06
The front side of the lower case.

At the top we now can see the wind chest. On both sides are the leather valves to prevent the pressure to flow back to the feeder bellows.

De voorzijde van de onderkas


De registerventielen  

Picture 07
This is the bottom of the reed pan and also the closing lid of the wind chest.

For orientation I marked the position of this layer.

The long planks are the register valves.

To see details more easily, a bigger copy of the picture left, is shown below. Here are some enhanced details.


Picture 08    


Full Organ   Picture 09
"Full Organ" can be switched on or off in two ways: a stop knob or with the heel lever between the feeder treadles. This heel lever is named tallonnière in French.
The black iron lever is the connection between the tallonière and the Full Organ lever inside the reed pan.


Grand Jeu wals
    Picture 10
The Full Organ (Grand Jeu) lever activates 3 voices on upper manual and 3 voices on lower manual.


Bediening Forte-Fixe   Picture 11
On the left is the mechanism to activate the Forte Fixe, by pressing the knee lever. Forte Fixe is split in bass and treble.


Voix Celeste 16   Harpe Eolienne
Picture 12
Above are the stop valves of Voix Celeste 16'. There are two rows of reeds in this stop. Each row in its own chamber. Pulling the stops opens both valves simultaneously.

Picture 13
The stop Harp Eolian 8' (also treble!!) has two rows, like Voix Celeste. However, since the unison row of the two rows can be used separately by pulling Oboe 8', the two valves can be operated separately.

Pulling the stop Oboe 8' opens (with the most right puller) only the upper valve on the picture, sounding the unison row only.

By pulling Harp Eolian both valves will open and both rows sound together.


Bovenzijde afdekking windlade  

Picture 14
Now we are looking to the upside of the wind chest cover, carrying the stop valves which are now inside the wind chest.

The purple lines are the 'wads' closing the reed pan chambers airtight.


    Picture 15
On the separation of lower and upper manual we see the pilots to operate the stop valves.


Picture 16
On each of the reed pan compartiments containing half a row of reeds we see a mechanism, designed to be an escape valve.

The moment a stop is closed, the stop valve will return to its upper position, hence disconnecting the compartiment from wind supply.

By means of a connection between stop valve and release valve the release valve will open the moment de stop valve closes.

The release valve opens a small canal through which surplus of wind can flow out of the compartiment. Pressure will be even with outside pressure.



Bodem van cancellen
Picture 17
And the wind chest cover layer again, in bigger format. The picture clearly shows that each half row of reeds has it's own compartiment.



Picture 18
Here we have a look into the compartiments of the reed pan.

You can see that some of the ranks are mounted vertical, rather than the "normal" orientation of the reeds.

By placing reeds vertical the compartiment can be more narrow.
A narrower compartiment results as some say, in more harmonic overtones, hence a brighter sound. In some voices this will also mean a more penetrating sound.

Wider chambers produce lesser overtones and produce a more fundamental tone.


Tongenlade in groot formaat
Picture 19
The reed pan in a bigger size. See picture above this one for explanation.


Bovenmanuaal ontmanteld  

Picture 20
Both keys and note valves - including the springs - of the upper manual have been removed.

The soundboard shows there are 3 ranks of 5 octaves and one rank of 3 octaves treble.


De Full Organ wals
Picture 21
The Full Organ mechanism in close up


Mechanisme klavierkoppel bas/discant
Picture 22
The coupler mechanism of the manual couplers. Plural, because bass and treble are separate couplers. By pulling the stops the mechanism slides backwards. In the upper manual keys each adjustment screws has a felted head. When a lower keyboard key is pressed, the key of the lower keyboard presses against the felted head. This results in pushing upwards the corresponding key on the upper manual. Both keyboards are of the balanced type. Obviously, the whole mechanism is based on placing the mechanism behind the balance point of the keys.


Klaviermechaniek   Picture 23
The note valves of the upper manual are in place and the springs are back on the note valves now.


Koppeling ventielen aan toets
Picture 24
The wires with leather nuts connect the tails of the key with the note valve. By pressing the key, the tail goes up and lifts the note valve.


Picture 25
Both keyboards are in place and are ready to be played again.
Klavieren weer aangesloten


Koppeling klavier - ventielen    
Picture 26
This picture shows the connection between the key's tail and the note valves


De klavieren weer speelklaar    
Picture 27
The manuals back in place. By using paper rings, as with piano and organ keyboards, the manuals are leveled to make a straight row of keys.


The instrument closed
Picture 28
The instrument closed after full repair


Picture 29
Even closed this instrument looks more impressive than the old analog Johannus next to it


Picture 30
A few of the stop knobs, upper row is upper manual, lower row is lower manual


















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