Wurlitzer Style 155 "Monster" Band Organ
Wurlitzer Style 155 Monster Band Organ.
This organ, previously owned by Jim Wells and then Dr. Bill Black, was missing its case. The beautiful reproduction case was built by Mac McClaran, copied from dimensions of #2453 but with the earlier style raised panels shown in the 1906 catalog. In 2001, the current owner commissioned us to restore the organ.
Unrestored Wurlitzer Style 155 Monster Band Organ.
Front view of the organ during restoration. The brass trombones and two of the four piccolo ranks have been installed, awaiting the rest of the piccolos, the brass trumpets, and brass clarinets. The piccolo division includes a violin, stopped flute, flageolet, and brass piccolo pipe for each note, so it has no trouble being heard over the rest of the organ. The large pressure pump and separate vacuum pump are installed on the floor of the chassis. For a picture of the inside of an identical organ with all the pipes installed, see the description of Monster organ #2453 following this one in the gallery.

Wurlitzer Style 155 Monster Band Organ.
Bass, accompaniment, and melody pipe ranks, all mounted vertically toward the back of the chassis rather than being under the bottom as in most band organs. This made the organ shorter in height so it could be installed on a high platform or balcony in a skating rink. With the organ elevated from the floor, the sound projected more evenly across the room instead of being much louder when the skaters were directly in front of it than at the other end of the rink.

Wurlitzer Style 155 Monster Band Organ.
The snare drum is played by a ratchet mechanism with four beaters. The pneumatic to the right engages a pair of friction wheels, rotating the ratchet. It is very responsive, playing a tap for a single perforation in the music roll, and a powerful sustained drum roll for longer perforations. It stays in good regulation for long periods of time. Smaller early Wurlitzer organs had a similar mechanism with two beaters.