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These are close-up shots of the wooden rectangular box that is attached to the Great Diapason I and II chest (called a plenum) that supplies the wind. This was also removed from the chamber for restoration.
In the contract that was written by the organ’s architect, Emerson Richards, he specified that all screws should be made of brass, because of the close proximity to the ocean. Although there is an abundance of brass screws in the organ, this specification was clearly not kept. There have been claims that brass screws were used only where one can easily see them when walking through the chamber (for example, if Mr. Richards were to walk through and inspect to see that the organ was built to his standards). Steel screws are cheaper than brass screws, and Midmer-Losh was not in great financial status during the organ’s construction. However, there are many parts of the organ that steel screws can also be seen relatively easily. If Midmer-Losh was in fact trying to keep the use of steel screws somewhat discreet, this plenum is a perfect example. The upper shot of the first photo uses brass screws, and on the opposite side of the plenum, the three screws that are doing the exact same function as the brass screws are steel, shown in the lower shot. The second photo shows the top side of the plenum (prior to leather being glued on the unfinished area), easily seen from the walkboard, with a brass screw. These are the only brass screws in the whole plenum, and they are on the end of the plenum that is much more visible than the opposite side, which butts up against the chamber wall. In this instance, it’s hard to argue that the screw choice wasn’t deliberate! Finally, as you may have seen, we also came across a brass screw that was double cut. Kind of like finding a four leaf clover 🍀.
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