Theatre organ

Type of pipe organ / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A theatre organ (also known as a theater organ, or, especially in the United Kingdom, a cinema organ) is a type of pipe organ developed to accompany silent films, from the 1900s to the 1920s.

Console of the Rhinestone Barton theatre organ, installed in Theatre Cedar Rapids
Console of the 3/13 Barton Theatre Pipe Organ at Ann Arbor's Michigan Theatre

Theatre organs have horseshoe-shaped arrangements of stop tabs (tongue-shaped switches) above and around the instrument's keyboards on their consoles. Theatre organ consoles were typically decorated with brightly colored stop tabs, with built-in console lighting. Organs in the UK had a common feature: large translucent surrounds extending from both sides of the console, with internal colored lighting. Theatre organs began to be installed in other venues, such as civic auditoriums, sports arenas, private residences, and churches. One of the largest theatre organs ever built was the 6 manual 52 rank Barton installed in the Chicago Stadium.

There were over 7,000 such organs installed in America and elsewhere from 1915 to 1933, but fewer than 40 instruments remain in their original venues.[1][failed verification] Though there are few original instruments, hundreds of theatre pipe organs are installed in public venues throughout the world today,[2] while many more exist in private residences.

The console of the Crawford Special-Publix One Mighty Wurlitzer, at the Alabama Theatre. 25 of this model were built.