My "Monkey Organ"
I play a John Smith designed "Senior 20" hand cranked organ
which I built myself form plans. You can see
it in more detail here.
The John Smith Senior 20 is a 20 note (or 20er) organ. It plays
paper rolls, and is a simple valveless design. The Smith Senior
20 and Busker organ designs are good beginner's
You can hear a sample of Epona's music in Here Comes the Organ Man
(a van Oost arrangement) This is stored as a 1.6 meg .MP3 file.
I finished construction of my John Smith
design "Senior 20" hand cranked organ in March 2006.
Some of my personal modifications to the
Smith design can be seen on Melvyn
Wright's web pages at www.buskerorgan.com Mel has recently released a book on
constructing simple John Smith type organs.In my opinion,
Mell sells the best 20er rolls in thew world, whether you
want them in Smith format or the Carl Frei format aka the
Raffin 20 format.
Plans for the John Smith organs available from the John
Music for Mechanical Organs
and Using MIDI Systems for Mechanical Organs
Many mechanical organs are now built with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital
Interface) systems or have had MIDI systems installed to
supplement or replace paper roll or book music systems.
In addition to my first hand experiences with our OSI organ, I
have been studying MIDI systems in general, and have started a
page of information gleaned from a variety of sources.
Notes on the use of MIDI
Music Rolls for Small Organs
Arranging and Punching Paper 20er
I began punching my own 20 note paper
rolls for my organ a number of years ago. I am using a
home-built traditionally styled one-hole foot operated
punch, and guiding the paper by hand.
I wrote an article "Hand
Punching My Own Rolls from Midiboek Templates" for
the COAA magazine The
Carousel Organ. which describes
the punch and my use of it in some detail. The article, as
it appeared in the magazine, is posted on this site as a
I'm happy with many (but not all) of
the results of my work. I now have so many rolls I have to
decide which to leave at home when I head out to a rally.
for my page of Notes on Arranging
here for my page of Resources for Noteurs
I punch from computer print-outs generated using the
MIDIBoek program, and I have created a number of "Gamma
files" in MIDIBoek format for use in my work.
Click here for my page
of Gamma Files
Cutting Paper Rolls for the 14 Note Common
and Clariona Organette Formats
Bob R... in Olcott, NY asked for
some help in getting started in producing some rolls for
his Clariona Organette. Later Edwin M. read the page and
asked about rolls in the 14-Note Common format. I have
placed a number of useful files and some explanation
Bob Essex's MIDster Punch
Between about 2000 and 2010 English amateur organ builder Bob
Essex sold a booklet describing a computer controlled roll punch
called the MIDster which produced music rolls for small organs
from MIDI files. It runs on "PCs" using the DOS operating system.
I bought the plans and started building one, but for several
reasons I did not complete it.
It appears that Bob is no longer supporting the machines. The
abstract below contains only information regarding operation of
the machine, and was created solely for the use of individuals who
may have acquired one of these elderly orphan machines.
MIDster Punch - a .ZIP file with instructions and software.
Making El-Cheapo Spools
for Homebuilt Grind Organs
Spools can be a major expense if you start punching your
own rolls. Here
is a description of how I make my El-Cheapo spools.
The Carousel Organ Association of America
I am an enthusiastic member of
COAA and frequently attend COAA rallies. In 2012 I was
elected to the COAA Board of Directors, and I moved up
to Secretary in 2016.
COAA holds about 6 to 8 rallies each year in about as
many states. The rallies are good fun, and a great way
to learn about outdoor mechanical music in all its
Organ is The Journal of the
Carousel Organ Association of America (COAA). You can
get a collection of all the back issues of the magazine
on CD for $35. The CD has color pictures, and you can
enlarge most of them, so in some ways it's better than
the magazines themselves. Order details
are on the COAA web site at www.COAA.us
I have written a number of articles for the
magazine. These include:
- An article on an the 2005 Organ Rally at
- Adding a foot switch and tin cup to a cymbal
playing toy monkey
- Several pieces on arranging music for small
- A visit to G. Perlee Draiiorgels in Amsterdam
- Early movies and organs at circuses and
- The article on my paper roll punch
OSI Strasse Orgel
My wife has an OSI Strasse Orgel. I'm her
technician, so I have started web pages for a users
group here. OSI
Strasse Orgel Users' Group