Some Large Hinners Organs in Bloomington, Illinois

Larry Chace

When PIPORG-L was founded in 1993 by Dave Schutt and Ben Chi, I had been doing quite a bit of research on the Hinners Organ Company of Pekin, Illinois, in an attempt to discover the "unusual" Hinners organs, ones differing from the many one-manual and two-manual trackers for which they were so well known. The following article was mostly written in 1993 but it then languished until Dave recently asked me to contribute something in honor of PIPORG-L's 10th birthday. It seemed somehow appropriate to dust off this old article, and so here it is, pretty much as written back when PIPORG-L was in its infancy. Many folks contributed information to its production, but any errors are mine alone. Let me also express my profound thanks Dave Schutt, Ben Chi, and Dave Kelzenberg, as well as to all those who have contributed to PIPORG-L over these past 10 years!

Introduction

As a teenager growing up in Bloomington in the 1960s, I made a hobby of collecting the specifications of pipe organs in the area, many of which were built by the Hinners Organ Company of Pekin, about 35 miles to the west. Although my notes have been lost, I recall that most of the rural Hinners were trackers, mainly two-manual with a few one-manual. The city organs were mostly electro-pneumatic, all two-manual except for a single four-manual, the first organ of that size I had ever seen. This article presents the 3 largest Hinners organs in Bloomington. Two of these were among the largest Hinners ever built. Altogether, Hinners built at least 18 organs for Bloomington from 1899 until 1935, ranging from two to 32 ranks; four still exist in their original locations and one has been moved.

From 1890 until 1936, the Hinners company built about 3000 pipe organs, although it is clear that some of the 3097 assigned opus numbers were for rebuilds rather than new organs. A complete opus list does not exist, and 10 of the 12 original factory ledger books were lost in the 1960s, making it quite difficult now to complie a complete list. The best list I have includes about 2000 entries. On that list are 228 organs with tubular-pneumatic action, built from 1910 until 1929, and 280 with electro-pneumatic action, built from 1916 until 1936. (The last tracker appears to have been built in 1930, but that might have been a rebuild.) About 600 Hinners organs were installed in Illinois, some of them picked up at the factory by their new owners. Hinners at first purchased their metal pipes from the A. Gottfried Company of Erie, Pennsylvania; in the early 1920s they hired away two Gottfried employees and set them up in the Hinners factory as the "Illinois Organ Supply Company", selling flue and reed pipes to the trade, including Kilgen, Wangerin, and of course Hinners.

Since no one at the Hinners factory fully understood electro-pneumatic action, George Allen, originally from Windsor, Ontario, was hired as a superintendent; he had previously worked for Aeolian and Kilgen. Another superintendent (a Mr. Biddle or Beisel) developed the "tea-cup" pneumatics used on many, if not most, Hinners tubular-pneumatic and electro-pneumatic organs. This design used a round leather pouch on a small wooden bowl mounted on a hollow dowel glued to the windchest's bottom board, where it connected to a note groove or to an exhaust magnet. This entire action could be removed with the bottom board, apparently for easier servicing; modern experience has shown that the action is difficult to releather properly because it will cipher if the new pouches have too much free motion. Another very unusual feature of Hinners electric actions was the use of common "dress snaps" as connectors for the cable running from a bottom board relay to an offset bass chest; Hinners began using them in 1923. Photos and extant parts show that Hinners used heavy felt bushings in the rack board holes for reed pipes, another sign of their quality.

Hinners never completely abandoned its slider chest heritage. In the mid-1920s they built slider chests with electro-pneumatic pulldowns and as late as 1935 they used sliders under each individual rank of their mixture stops as an aid to tuning, even though the stops were on electro-pneumatic unit chests. To round out the choices of actions, the firm also built some tracker-pneumatic instruments; a few trackers used mechanical cone-chests ("Kegellade"), as did at least one tubular-pneumatic instrument, opus 1413 of 1912 for the Masonic Temple in Bloomington. Hinners' attempts to build pitman chests were not especially successful, even though they were copies of a Moller design, and so the company settled on ventil and unit chests for its electro-pneumatic instruments.

Hinners' output included at least 49 theatre organs, of which 22 were trackers, 9 were tubular-pneumatic, 3 were straight electric, and 7 were unified electric (the other 8 are undocumented). Except for the unit organs, these were probably very similar to the firm's church organs, ranging from one-manual trackers to a three-manual tubular-pneumatic. The two largest unit organs had three manuals and 11 ranks. According to the late David L. Junchen, the company did not want to build unit theatre organs, but when called upon to do so they built excellent ones.

Including the three large theatre organs, I have been able to identify about 27 three-manual Hinners organs. The 1907 opus 720 for the First Methodist Church in New Orleans was almost certainly a tracker. An instrument built in 1916 for First Methodist Church in Peoria, Illinois, had 3 manuals and possibly 28 ranks; this was Hinners' first complete electro-pneumatic organ. A later work, for St. John's Lutheran in Pekin in 1927, may have been enlarged from 2 manuals to 3 (at Hinners' expense) to provide the firm with an easily-accessible demonstration instrument. The three tubular-pneumatic organs were built in 1914, 1915, and 1921, while the electro-pneumatic instruments ranged from 1916 to 1928. Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington appears to have had the first four-manual Hinners, installed in 1929 and enlarged in 1935; a second four-manual was build in 1930 for the First Presbyterian Church of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

On the other end of the scale, Hinners built several two-manual two-rank unit organs as practice instruments for the University of Illinois and for Illinois Wesleyan University The Hinners company seemed to have a fondness for small instruments in a time when many firms were building giant organs. As an interesting aside, Robert Coleberd reported that Arthur Hinners became a Wicks salesman after Hinners closed in 1936, but he often recommended very small specifications rather than the larger ones that would bring in more profit. This is consistent with the vast majority of Hinners instruments, but it is also ironic, considering that the Hinners firm itself did not employ any salesmen, relying instead upon a catalogue and its reputation for high quality and low price.

The following three instruments are presented in sequence as originally built. Two of these were constructed for large, resonant Roman Catholic churches, and the third was built for a university auditorium of more moderate size but lively acoustics. While these are by no means typical Hinners organs, they offer an interesting view into that firm's ideas for larger instruments and may also reflect some of the changes that were occurring in the organ world during the course of the Great Depression.

St. Mary's Church, Bloomington, Illinois

The Hinners Organ Company built its opus 2630 in 1922 for St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Bloomington, Illinois, fairly resonant building seating about 500. This was a two-manual, 22-rank organ with tubular-pneumatic action. The facade consisted of 43 dummy pipes with 15 "canisters" behind the central flat. The manual divisions were both enclosed, the Great on the rig ht and the Swell on the left, with the Pedal pipework unenclosed on the sides and back, all within the free-standing case. The swell boxes had additional shutters in their tops.

Sometime later, the Hinners company electrified the organ, perhaps detaching the console and adding 6-stage accordion-type swell shade motors. Changes in the case panels suggest that the original console might have been attached, and closed-off holes in the primary actions show where the old tubular-pneumatic tubes had been connected. A tripper-type combination action was installed, controlled by 5 general pistons in the Swell keyslip.

Subsequently, someone (perhaps Warren Gratian) made changes in an apparent attempt to soften the organ. Almost every pipe had its toehole closed down, the swell shutters were limited to a 20-degree angle of opening, and the swell boxes were lined with an absorbent material (although the lining may have been original). The organ served in this condition until 1988, when John-Paul Buzard of Champaign was asked to examine the organ and make recommendations for improving its mechanical condition and tonal effect.

The Great and Swell were on ventil chests using "tea-cup" pneumatics. The Swell 16' Bourdon and the Pedal stops were on unit chests. An unusual feature of the ventil chests was the action for the two celestes. According to John-Paul Buzard: "The unison and celeste ranks stand on a common wide toeboard which straddles two ventil grooves and play from the same pipe valve located in the unison's rank ventil groove. However, the celeste rank's stop action consists of small leather diaphragm valves located on the underside of the toeboard, one per note, at a point where the channelling forms a junction in the celeste's ventil groove. The stop is turned off by filling the rank space's ventil groove with wind. The stop plays (from the unison's valves) when the ventil is exhausted, exactly backward of all the other stops. It is therefore impossible to play the celeste rank by itself."

The blower was a 2hp Orgoblo (#13858) with a nominal 5" static pressure. The Great and Swell each had single-rise reservoirs with curtain valves to give a 3-3/4" pressure. The Pedal had a small reservoir with a cone valve to give a 4-1/2" pressure. Each manual had its own beater tremulant.

Other unusual features were the Pedal 16' Violone, actually a small metal Diapason of about 44 scale, the unified open wood flute playing in the Pedal at 10-2/3' and 8', and the Swell Viol d' Orchestre, which may have been a replacement for a more typical Salicional. This change could have taken place when the organ was electrified; a similar change was made by Hinners in 1935 at Illinois Wesleyan University. The common metal Vox Humana had soldered caps with a very small lifted opening at one edge for regulation.

Hinners Organ Company, Pekin, Illinois, Opus 2630, 1922
originally St. Mary's Catholic Church, Bloomington, Illinois
tubular-pneumatic action, later converted to electro-pneumatic

In the following specification:
(x)Denotes unified ranks; the letter appears for each use of the rank.
owIndicates open wooden pipes.
omIndicates open metal pipes.
lmIndicates linen metal pipes.
cmIndicates common metal pipes.
smIndicates spotted metal pipes.
harmIndicates harmonic pipes.

Great – 73 notes (enclosed)
8Open Diapason lm 40sc
8Doppelflute
8Viola d' Gamba
8Melodia
8Dulciana
8Unda Maris (tc)
4Octave sm 58sc
4Concert Flute ow, harm
8Tuba harm from c1
Chimes
Tremulant
4Great to Great
16Swell to Great
8Swell to Great
4Swell to Great
Swell – 73 notes (enclosed)
16Bourdon (a)
8Violin Diapason
8Stopped Diapason
8Viol d' Orchestre 65sc
8Viol Celeste (tc)
8Aeoline
8Quintadena 60sc
4Flute Harmonique om, harm
8Oboe & Bassoon
8Vox Humana cm
Tremulant
16Swell to Swell
8Swell Separation
4Swell to Swell
4Swell to Great
Pedal – 32 notes (unenclosed)
16Violone om 44sc
16Grand Bourdon
16Lieblich Gedackt (a)
10-2/3Quint (b) ow
8Bass Flute (b)
8Great to Pedal
8Swell to Pedal

St. Mary's Church, Bloomington, Illinois (1991 rebuild)

When asked to examine the Hinners organ in St. Mary's Church, John-Paul Buzard was dismayed to find that the instrument was in poor condition both mechanically and tonally. While it was not surprising that 66 years of use had taken its toll on the action, it was strange that the organ sounded dull and unpleasant, unlike other Hinners organs. An examination of the pipework showed that someone had closed down almost every pipe in an apparent attempt to soften the organ.

The rebuilding process started with a complete mechanical overhaul. The "tea-cup" pneumatics were releathered and the entire electrical system was replaced and brought up to modern standards. The original console shell was fitted with new keyboards, stop controls, and combination action. The original ventil windchests and winding system were retained, and it was their retention that governed what tonal changes were possible and advisable. "I was delighted to learn from the Organ Committee that the essential character of the organ should remain unchanged, but there was also a strong desire to complete the 'choruses' of the basic families of sound. We therefore began to consider this project as more a combination of restoration and renovation efforts, rather than a rebuilding." As a first step, the pipes were re-regulated for normal speech and the absorbent material was removed from the swell boxes.

In order to avoid making massive changes and to guarantee proper speech and blending for the new pipework, the original ventil chests were retained and new pipework was substituted for some of the unison stops that were deemed redundant. In the Great, the original Octave was moved to the Viola d' Gamba position to make room for the new 2' Fifteenth. A new wooden Chimney Flute replaced the open wood Concert Flute, providing a more typical Hinners "Flute d' Amour" sound. The new IV Mixture replaced the original Doppelflute.

In the Swell, the very large Stopped Diapason was replaced by a new 4' Principal; since the 16' Bourdon was already on a unit chest, it was wired to play at 8' pitch as well, thereby providing a unison with a more moderate scale and cut-up. The original Great Concert Flute was placed on the Aeoline action as a 2' harmonic Piccolo, rather similar to a typical Hinners (non-harmonic) 2' Flautino. The 8' Quintadena was replaced by the new IV Plein Jeu and the 8' Vox Humana was replaced by the new 8' Trumpet. In the Pedal, chests were added for two new ranks: a Principal playable at 8' and 4', and a 16' Trombone.

The new pipes were patterned after the old ones; similar metal thicknesses, languid bevels, and scales were used. The Pedal Trombone was made of metal, 7" at CCC, with tin-faced English shallots, voiced to give a strongly fundamental tone. While the mixtures do not follow Hinners patterns (no 17ths), and the Trumpet is very much brighter and louder than a Hinners Cornopean, they nevertheless blend very well with the old pipework and give a fine chorus.

All of the original wooden wind conductors were retained and matching ones were made for the new Pedal chests. The original beater tremulants were removed because they would not work well except at a very high speed; a modern tremulant was added to the Swell.

Both original swell boxes were retained, but the failed shutter motors were replaced with new modern servo units. The beautifully-made swell shoe contact mechanism, with individual cams for adjusting each contact, was retained with new contact wires for reliability. The shutters were adjusted to open a full 80 degrees.

While the original organ depended upon the 4' couplers to provide all of its upperwork, the new specification included 2' stops and mixtures that made the 4' couplers superfluous for a full ensemble. Because of budgetary constraints, a decision was made to deactivate notes 62-73 on the manual chests. This was done in a completely reversible manner; the corresponding pipes were stored securely inside the organ case and the "tea-cups" pneumatics were left in place.

Of the displaced ranks, the Great Viola d' Gamba found a home in the otherwise-new Buzard opus 7 at the Chapel of St. John the Divine in Champaign, Illinois, where it makes a beautiful solo stop. St. Mary's retained the Vox Humana, now in storage. The other displaced ranks await re-use in appropriate instruments.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Bloomington, Illinois Hinners Organ Company, Pekin, Illinois, Opus 2630, 1922 (as rebuilt by John-Paul Buzard, Champaign, Illinois, 1991)

In the following specification:
(x)Denotes unified ranks.
(new)Indicates new pipes.

Great – 61 notes (enclosed)
8Open Diapason
8Melodia
8Dulciana
8Unda Maris (tc)
4Principal
4Chimney Flute (new)
2Octave (new)
IVMixture (1-1/3', new)
8Tuba
Chimes
16Great to Great
8Great Unison Off
4Great to Great
16Swell to Great
8Swell to Great
4Swell to Great
Swell – 61 notes (enclosed)
16Lieblich Gedeckt (a)
8Violin Diapason
8Stopped Diapason (a)
8Viola d' Gamba
8Viola Celeste (tc)
4Principal (new)
4Flute Harmonique
2Piccolo (old Gt. Flute)
VPlein Jeu (2,' new)
8Trumpet (new)
8Oboe & Bassoon
Tremulant
16Swell to Swell
8Swell Unison Off
4Swell to Swell
Pedal – 32 notes
16Violone
16Bourdon
16Lieblich Gedeckt (a)
10-2/3Quint (b)
8Principal (new) (c)
8Bass Flute (b)
4Choral Bass (new) (c)
16Trombone (metal, new)
8Great to Pedal
4Great to Pedal
8Swell to Pedal
4Swell to Pedal

Presser Hall, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois

In 1929, the Hinners Organ Company built their first four-manual organ and installed it as opus 2977 in the newly-constructed Presser Hall at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Arthur Dunham's dedication recital on February 4, 1930, consisted of these selections, played to an overflow crowd:
Allegro in A minor from 2nd ConcertoVivaldi (arr. Bach)
Adagio e dolce from 3rd Trio SonataBach
Fantasy and Fugue in G minorBach
ArielBonnet
Prayer and Cradle SongGuilmant
Question and AnswerWolstenholme
LamentationGuilmant
Petite FantasieCallaert
The Bells of St. Anne de BeaupreRussell
Shadow ChordsPeele
Scotch FantasyMacfarlane

The auditorium of Presser Hall was built with hard walls, floor, and ceiling and had wooden seating for about 900 persons; it had rather lively acoustics. Arthur Hinners, second president of the Hinners Organ Company, was a trustee of the University from 1924 until 1945 and presented the organ during its dedication. Hinners had also supplied a two-manual 16-rank tubular-pneumatic organ for the University's chapel in 1916 and later provided several small electro-pneumatic organs for Presser Hall. One of these was a unified three-rank studio organ and the others were two-rank practice instruments consisting of a 16'-8'-4' Stopped Diapason and an 8'-4' Violin Diapason. These organs are no longer extant.

The auditorium organ was enclosed in 3 chambers with the Great/Choir on one side of the proscenium arch, the Swell on the other side, and the Echo behind and above the balcony. The Great 8' Open Diapason may have been unenclosed. In addition to the 3 expression pedals, there were two crescendo pedals, a standard one and a "master" that operated the swell shades as well as the stops. The Great had 4 pistons, the Swell had 5, the Choir had 3, the Solo/Echo had 3, and there were 3 generals, perhaps in the Solo keyslip.

Presser Hall, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois
Hinners Organ Company, Pekin, Illinois, Opus 2977, 1929

In the following specification:
(x) Denotes a unified stop; the letter appears with each use of the stop.

Great – 73 notes (enclosed)
8Open Diapason
8Doppel Flote (a)
8Dulciana (b)
8Viola d'Gamba (c)
4Flute d'Amour (d)
8Tuba
Chimes (echo)
Tremolo
Swell 73 notes
16Bourdon (e)
8Open Diapason
8Salicional
8Aeoline
8Voix Celeste (tc)
8Stopped Diapason
4Flute Harmonic
2Flautino (61p)
8Oboe
Tremolo
Choir – 73 notes (enclosed with Great)
8Open Diapason
8Doppel Flote (a)
8Dulciana (b)
8Violoncello (c)
4Flute d'Amour (d)
8Clarinet
Harp Celeste (49 bars)
Tremolo
Solo – 73 notes (never installed)
8Gamba
8Gamba Celeste (tc)
8French Horn
8Tuba Mirabilis
Echo – 61 notes (enclosed)
8Fernflote
8Viol Aetheria
8Muted Viol
4Wald Flute
8Vox Humana
Cathedral Chimes (25 bells)
Pedal – 32 notes
16Open Diapason ow (f)
16Bourdon
16Lieblich Gedeckt (e)
8Flute (f)
8Cello (c)
Chimes (echo)

Presser Hall, Illinois Wesleyan University (1935 rebuild as opus 3086)

In 1935 the Hinners company enlarged the organ in Presser Hall; according to the rededication program, "eight stops and two new tone-openings were added to the instrument". The price for this work was $3705.00. It appears that the console may have originally been prepared for the additions. On January 22, 1936, Virgil Fox played a rededication recital in honor of the rebuilding. Some 300 persons braved -20 degree weather to walk to the hall for the recital, since no other transportation was available during the storm. The program was as follows:
Presto from Concerto in B FlatHandel
Trio in D Minor (Vivace)Bach
Adagio from Fantasie in CFranck
Vespers (ms)Hernberger
RouladeBingham
Chorale in A MinorFranck
Perpetual Motion (Pedal Etude)Middelschulte
The AnswerWolstenholm
Allegro from the Sixth SymphonyWidor
This was the first of four consecutive annual appearances by Virgil Fox. His performance fee ($25 in 1935) was doubled each year.

The exact nature of the additions remains something of a mystery, but it seems that Hinners added a three-stop chest to the Great and added a stop switch to play the 1929 Choir Open Diapason as a Great Second Open; it is not clear whether the 1929 Great Open was retained or replaced in 1935. The other stops on the new chest were a 4' Octave of spotted metal and a III Mixture of linen metal (12-15-17, later changed to 12-15-19). This chest was unenclosed.

The Swell received new chests for an 8' Cornopean and a III Harmonic Aetheria of spotted metal principals (12-15-17, later changed to 12-15-19). Both of the mixtures had individual sliders for tuning each rank. The Swell Salicional was replaced by a Viol d' Orchestre.

In the Pedal, a 16' Tromba was added; the bottom 12 pipes were located in the Swell chamber, but it remains unclear if the rest of the stop was extended from the (new) Swell Cornopean or from the (existing) Great Tuba; this one of very few Hinners 16' reeds. The original contract called for a 16' Violone, 12 pipes extending the Great Viola d'Gamba, "or 16' Tromba, as may be preferred". A Great to Pedal 4' coupler was also added. The Pedal Chimes stop switch may have been removed.

Those additions could comprise the "eight additional stops" that were added. Strangely enough, however, two of the stop tabs (Tuba 8' and Cornopean 8') do not also have their division name ("gr." and "sw."), unlike all of the other obviously old stop tabs. The original tabs for the Viol d'Orchestra and Tromba are no longer extant, but the stop tabs for the other 1935 additions are clearly by Hinners but with a slightly finer engraving than the 1929 tabs; that comparison applies to the 1929 Tuba and 1935 Cornopean tabs as well. The specification given below also fits the stop tab openings and the clearly original felt at the top of the openings; the newer stop tab openings (1961) are easy to identify.

Except for the Echo division, in 1961 the organ was moved to the First Presbyterian Church of nearby Delevan. The organ was enlarged by the addition of ranks from the church's previous Hinners organ and also from a Hinners originally installed at Bradley University in Peoria. Presser Hall received a new three-manual Schantz organ that also included the remaining Hinners Echo. That division was disconnected after a fire on May 12, 1970, and was subsequently removed.

The scaling and rank compositions given below are as found in Delevan; in standard Hinners fashion, the wooden ranks had 36 or 48 wooden pipes rather than the usual 37 or 49. Based upon the Delevan layout, it appears that the Great/Choir was always on electro-pneumatic unit chests, even for the ranks that were not actually unified. The Swell employed a ventil chest for its 1929 ranks, except for the bottom 32 notes of the 16' Bourdon; the Cornopean and mixture were on new unit chests.

Dan Abrahamson, organ student at IWU from 1955-1959, and now Associate Tonal Director at the Reuter Organ Company, recalled the organ as follows: "The Great Tuba dominated the whole organ, while the Swell Cornopean was more of a Trumpet than a Cornopean. The Choir Clarinet was very orchestral and imitative, and the Pedal Tuba had a good solid tone with lots of weight and fundamental. Full organ was quite full and satisfying. It filled the room marvelously and rolled around for several seconds as the hard concrete floor, wood seats, hard plastered walls, and high side walls enhanced the sound greatly. Had Widor been in 'vogue' during the 1950s, I believe it would have been a wonderful 'Widor' organ.

"I'm convinced that the old Hinners lasted as long as it did because of the good room. Visitors were always impressed by how good the organ sounded; they weren't aware of course of the difficulties the students encountered when trying to come up with appropriate musical registrations. It caused us to think and be creative. Because of the lack of adequate pistons, most registration changes were done by hand while playing.

"The Great mixture didn't work in the ensemble at all; it stood away from the 8' and 4' principals. The 4' Octave wasn't developed harmonically enough to tie the mixture to the 8' line, and there was such a poor selection of 8' stops. The 1st Open was way too loud and thick, the 2nd was too small and light, and the Doppelflute had too indefinite a pitch line. A combination of the 2nd Open, the Gamba, and the Dulciana made the best 8' line for our Bach. Consequently, we used couplers a lot to get adequate ensembles. By today's standards, the organ had many tonal deficiencies, but we thought back then that it was pretty neat. Mechanically, everything always worked perfectly, and Leon Vanderwater kept it in good tune. He also thought that the Hinners company was very proud of this instrument."

Another "connection" existed, this time to Holy Trinity Church, whose organist in 1935 was Mary Slattery Green. Her husband, Professor Spencer Green, was Dean of the School of Music at Illinois Wesleyan. It is therefore plausible that some of the 1935 changes at IWU might have been based upon the Greens' experiences with the 1934 Holy Trinity organ, which is described below.

Presser Hall, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois
Hinners Organ Company, Pekin, Illinois
1929, opus 2977, with additions in 1935, opus 3086

In the following specification:
(1935)Indicates additions in 1935.
owIndicates open wood.
swIndicates stopped wood.
smIndicates spotted metal (from tc or tg).
lmIndicates linen metal.
scIndicates approximate scale numbers for metal pipes.
(8Indicates a unison coupler, but without a pitch number on the stop tab.
(x) Denotes a unified stop; the letter appears with each use of the stop.

Great – 73 notes (enclosed)
8Open Diapason (possibly replaced in 1935)
8Second Open Diapason 43sc (switch added in 1935) (a)
8Doppel Flote 48sw (b)
8Dulciana 57sc sm (c)
8Viola d'Gamba 57sc sm (d)
4Octave 59sc sm (1935)
4Flute d'Amour 36sw (e)
IIIDiapason Mixture lm, 12-15-17 (1935), later 12-15-19
8Tuba (f)
Chimes (echo)
Tremolo
Swell – 73 notes
16Bourdon 60sw (g)
8Open Diapason 46sc
8Viol d' Orchestre (1935)
8Aeoline 64sc sm
8Voix Celeste (tc) 73sc sm
8Stopped Diapason 48sw
4Flute Harmonic 60sc sm
2Flautino 70sc
IIIHarmonic Aetheria sm, 12-15-17 (1935), later 12-15-19
8Cornopean (1935) (h)
8Oboe 49 reeds
Tremolo
Choir – 73 notes (enclosed with Great)
8Open Diapason 43sc (a)
8Doppel Flote (b)
8Dulciana (c)
8Violoncello (d)
4Flute d'Amour (e)
8Clarinet
Harp Celeste (49 bars)
Tremolo
Echo – 61 notes (enclosed)
8Fernflote
8Viol Aetheria
8Muted Viol
4Wald Fl–te
8Vox Humana
Cathedral Chimes (25 bells)
Pedal – 32 notes
16Open Diapason ow (i)
16Bourdon
16Lieblich Gedeckt (g)
8Flute (i)
8Cello (d)
16Tuba (f or h) (1935)
Couplers
Great to Great 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Swell to Great 16, (8), 4
Choir to Great 16, (8), 4
Swell to Swell 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Swell to Choir 8
Choir to Choir 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Echo to Echo 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Echo to Great (8)
Great to Pedal (8), 4
Swell to Pedal (8)
Choir to Pedal (8)

Presser Hall, Illinois Wesleyan University (1961 rebuild for First Presbyterian Church, Delavan)

In about 1961, the Organ Committee of the First Presbyterian Church of Delavan, Illinois, about 40 miles west of Bloomington, was looking for used parts to enlarge their 1912 Hinners organ, opus 1630, a two-manual 13-stop instrument with tubular-pneumatic action. Glenn Allen, committee chairman, discovered that the Presser Hall organ was to be replaced, and ultimately the Church purchased the organ for the grand sum of $375.00.

The Church hired organ architect William H. Barnes to help them plan the rebuild; they also hired James D. Trees of Chicago, a former Kimball technician, and Jack Becker of Peoria to do the work. Dr. Barnes' proposed specification called for the use of practically all of the Presser Hall material, along with a new console, one rank from the 1912 organ, and two new ranks. This plan provided for a three-manual instrument with an independent Choir division.

The actual work was more extensive, in that almost all of the 1912 organ was used, as were some ranks from a Hinners organ originally installed around 1920 at Bradley University in Peoria; the original four-manual console was retained. The new Choir division was independent and the Echo manual was used for a new Solo division that was enclosed with the Great and Choir. On the west side, at the apex of the Akron-style sanctuary, the original 1912 Hinners facade was retained but the floor behind it was removed, giving an organ chamber that extended down into the basement. On the east side, a new chamber was built to hold the Presser Hall's Great three-stop chest (Diapason, Octave, and Mixture) and another chest was added for a 2' Flautino.

Because the original console's internal combination action was retained, some of the added stops had to be left off the combination action. Since there was no room for a complete set of couplers, the Solo to Swell coupler lets the Solo play through the Swell couplers.

Apparently at Dr. Barnes' suggestion, Frank Wichlac of Chicago was hired to do the tonal finishing work. After the dedication, Jim Trees quoted Barnes: "It's certainly a good thing that we were able to get Frank Wichlac to go down and pull things together. There is no better man in this country than Frank for this sort of thing". The final report showed that the Church paid a total of $10,043.96 for the organ project, of which $6550.66 was for labor; Mr. Wichlac received $115 for the tonal finishing and Mr. Trees received $25 per day.

On January 7, 1962, Dr. Thyra Pliske Leithold played the dedication recital to an overflow audience; her program was as follows:

A Mighty Fortress is Our GodLuther
Concerto in A MinorVivaldi-Bach
Chorale in B MinorFrank
Dialogue on the MixturesLanglais
RouladeBingham (*)
Prelude on "Brother James' Air"Wright
Trumpet VoluntaryPurcell
Where'er Ye Walk ("Semele")Handel
Spe Modo Vivitur ("Hora Nivissiam")Parker
Carol RhapsodyPurvis
Contemplation on Tallis' CannonPurvis
Finale (Sixth Symphony)Vierne

(*: It is perhaps interesting to note that this piece was also the fifth one on Virgil Fox's program in 1936. Dr. Thyra Plass (her present name) became organist of this church at age 15 after only one organ lesson. The next year she won a scholarship competition at Illinois Wesleyan, playing on this instrument when it was still in Presser Hall.)

The Swell Salicional is just a little louder than the Aeoline, which matches the Voix Celeste. The Oboe, capped and fitted with keyhole-shaped tuning slots, has a nice bright sound, and the Clarion sounds about the same but is a little softer. The Clarinet has a very pleasant woody sound. The Solo Tuba is moderately bright and the Cornopean is a little brighter and a little softer; the 16' bass of the Tuba rattles somewhat but has a fairly full sound. The Solo Violoncello is just a little louder and brighter than the Salicional and blends well with the Swell strings to form a rich chorus.

Presser Hall, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois
(as installed at First Presbyterian Church, Delavan, Illinois)
Hinners Organ Company, Pekin, Illinois, Opus 2977&3084, 1929 and 1935
enlarged in 1960 by Jim Trees of Chicago and John L. Becker of Peoria,
based in part on a proposed specification by William H. Barnes.

In the following specification:
(Del.)Indicates a stop from the previous Delavan organ
(Brad.)Indicates a stop from the Bradley University organ.
owIndicates open wood.
swIndicates stopped wood.
smIndicates spotted metal (from tc or tg)
scIndicates approximate scale numbers for metal pipes
(8)Indicates a unison coupler, but without a pitch number on the stop tab.
*Indicates a stop tab that was added in 1960.
#Indicates a stop tab that is not on the combination action.
(x)Denotes a unified stop; the letter appears with each use of the stop.

Great – 73 notes (partially enclosed)
8Open Diapason (1935 2nd Diapason) (unenclosed)
8Second Open Diapason 49sc (a) (Del. Violin Diapason)
8Viola d'Gamba 57sc sm (b)
8Doppel Fl–te 48sw
8Dulciana 57sc sm
4Octave 59sc sm (unenclosed)
4Echo Waldflute (c) (Del. Flute d'Amour or Bourdon)*
4Flute d'Amour 36sw
2Flautina (Brad. 4' stopped flute) (unenclosed)*
IIIDiapason Mixture lm, 12-15-19 (unenclosed)
Chimes (red lettering)
Swell – 73 notes
16Bourdon 60sw (d)
8Open Diapason 46sc
8Stopped Diapason 48sw
8Salicional 62sc (Del. 8' Salicional)
8Aeoline 64sc sm
8Voix Celeste (tc) 73sc sm
4Geigen Octave 60sc (Del. 8' Open Diapason)
4Flute Harmonic 60sc sm
2-2/3Twelfth (Brad. 8' Stopped Diapason)
2Flautino 70sc
IIIHarmonic Aetheria sm, 12-15-19
8Oboe 49 reeds
4Clarion (Del. 8'tc Oboe) *
Tremolo
Choir – 73 notes (enclosed)
8Open Diapason (a)
8Gedeckt (Del. Stopped Diapason) *
8Hohlflute (Del. Melodia) *
8Dulciana (Del. Dulciana) *
8Unda Maris (Del. Aeoline) *
4Harmonic Flute (e) (Del. Flute Harmonic) *
4Flute Dolce (c) *
2-2/3Nazard (e) *
2Piccolo (e) *
1-3/5Tierce (e) *
8Clarinet #
Tremolo (red lettering) #
Solo (some couplers refer to "Echo")
8Ch. Violoncello (b)
16Solo Tuba (f) *
8Tuba (f)
8Cornopean (g)
4Solo Tuba Clarion (f) *
4Solo Cornopean (g) *
Tremolo #
Chimes (red lettering) #
Pedal – 32 notes
32Resultant (bottom octave: 16' (h) and 10-2/3' (i), then 32' (h)) *
16Open Diapason ow (h)
16Bourdon (i)
16Lieblich Gedeckt (d)
8Principal (top 8 from (j)) (Del Open Diapason and Octave) *
8Flute (i)
8Cello (b)
4Choralbass (j) (1935 Gt Open Diapason) *
16Tuba (f) * #
8Tuba (f) *#
4Tuba Clarion (f) * #
Couplers
Great to Great 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Swell to Great 16, (8), 4
Choir to Great 16, (8), 4
Swell to Swell 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Swell to Choir 8
Choir to Choir 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Echo to Echo 16, Unison Separation (red lettering), 4
Echo to Great (8)
Solo to Swell 8 *
Great to Pedal (8), 4
Swell to Pedal (8)
Choir to Pedal (8)
Solo to Pedal 8 *#

"Proposed Specification for First Presbyterian Church, Delavan, Illinois, using the pipes from the Wesleyan University Auditorium plus two new sets and one from present organ" (Submitted 1961 by William H. Barnes)

Great – 61 notes (perhaps enclosed with Choir)
8Open Diapason (1935 2nd Diapason)
8Doppel Flote
4Principal
4Flute d'Amour
IIIMixture
Tremolo
Swell – 61 notes (enclosed)
16Bourdon (a)
8Open Diapason
8Stopped Diapason
8Viola d'Gamba (former Great)
8Voix Celeste
4Flute Harmonique
2Flautino
IIIMixture
8Cornopean
8Oboe
Tremolo
Choir – 61 notes (enclosed)
8Melodia (old Delevan Melodia)
8Dulciana
8Unda Maris (former Swell Aeoline)
4Koppel Flute (new)
2-2/3Nazard (new)
8Clarinet
Tremolo
Pedal – 32 notes
16Open Diapason
16Bourdon (b)
16Lieblich Gedeckt (a)
8Octave (c) (former Great Open Diapason)
8Flute (b)
8Flauto Dolce (a)
4Super Octave (c)
16Trombone (d) (former Pedal Tromba and Great Tuba)
8Tromba (d)
Couplers
Great to Great 16, 8 off, 4
Swell to Great 16, 8, 4
Choir to Great 16, 8, 4
Swell to Swell 16, 8 off, 4
Swell to Choir 16, 8, 4
Choir to Choir 16, 8 off 4
Great to Pedal 8 4
Swell to Pedal 8 4
Choir to Pedal 8 4

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Bloomington, Illinois

In 1934, the parish of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church constructed a new building to replace one destroyed by fire. With hopes that this might some day become a Cathedral, the parish built a large structure seating about 1000 people. In the rear gallery, the Hinners Organ Company installed their opus 3074, a two-manual of 27 ranks with electro-pneumatic action, costing $7500.00; this was the last large Hinners organ, according to Leon Vanderwater, who tuned it for 50 years. In 1939, three years after the Hinners company stopped building pipe organs, the Wicks Organ Company of Highland, Illinois, added a three rank unified sanctuary organ. The resulting instrument served until 1989, when the Rodgers Organ Company replaced it with a three-manual hybrid instrument with 8 ranks of new pipes

When the Hinners was replaced, the choir members removed the pipework to storage in the church basement, except for a few Pedal pipes. Most of the Swell pipework has now been sold, while much of the Great pipework remains, along with the blower and the relay. Portions of windchests and framing were con verted to support the blowers and speakers for the new instrument.

Because Holy Trinity is a large building with fine acoustics, opus 3074 was scaled and voiced with a very full sound, but in typical Hinners fashion the tone was not forced. The organ occupied a pair of chambers about 12' wide, 9' deep, and 24' high at the back sides of the rear gallery with the console facing the choir. Each chamber had 2 sets of swell shades, a narrow set opening toward the nave and a wider set opening into the gallery. The Swell was arranged in two levels on the organist's left along with the Pedal Bourdon and the Great was stacked in three levels on the right with the Pedal Open Diapason and Violone. The Great and Pedal Diapasons, Violone, and Octave were unenclosed on the lowest level.

Examination of the remaining pipework shows the high quality typical of Hinners work. No pipes were mitered, even though the chambers were quite crowded. While the 8' Diapasons and 4' Octave were made of heavy linen metal and were copiously winded, they had an unforced, singing quality. The Great First Open Diapason was 40 scale with a 1/4 mouth cut up 2/7. The Swell English Diapason was about the same scale as the Great Diapasons and was somewhat more foundational. The higher-pitched principal ranks were of spotted metal of good thickness. The Great Fifteenth was of 68 scale with a 2/7 mouth cut up 1/4.

The Swell Harmonia Aetheria mixture was a Cornet (12, 15, 17) made of normal Diapason pipes; the 12th was 70sc, the 15th was 74sc, and the 17th was 76sc, with the 15th having a 2/9 mouth cut up 1/3. Some large Hinners organs had a soft Dolce Cornet in the Swell, but this stop was certainly neither "dolce" nor "aetherial". The Great Diapason Mixture, of about the same scale, consisted of 3 ranks (17, 19, 22) and also drew the 12th and the 15th. The Pedal 16' Violone was about 34 scale at CCC and also provided the bottom 12 notes for the Great 16' Open Diapason, while the Pedal Open Diapason CCC measured about 10" by 12". In the original contract, the Violone was specified as 42 scale, but the existing pipes are much larger.

From TC up, the Great Philomela consisted of open wood pipes with non-inverted mouths and a hole bored in the back wall directly opposite the mouth. This hole was equal to the cut-up in diameter and raised the pipe's pitch about 2 semi-tones. The tone was fairly bright and very full; it made a fine solo stop. In contrast, the Melodia and Stopped Diapason were of normal scale and loudness. All of the flute ranks were of wood, and there was no harmonic flute.

The string ranks had full-length open zinc bass octaves, except for the tenor-C Voix Celeste; above tenor-C the strings were of spotted metal. The 58 scale Dulciana had a 1/5 mouth and arched upper lips averaging a 1/4 cut-up and had somewhat less of an echo Diapason tone than did earlier Hinners Dulcianas. The 58 scale Viola d'Gamba was a very incisive rank with a 1/4 mouth cut-up 1/3, suitable for use as a solo stop, while the 64 scale Aeoline with 2/9 mouth and 2/7 cut-up had a quiet but rich string sound. It is clear from the remaining relay that the Swell 2-2/3' Quintette was in fact extended from the Salicional, an unusual derivation.

The Tuba was scaled about 5-1/4" at CC and had 25 harmonic pipes from f1, with flue trebles for a total of 73 pipes; its stoptab appeared with the other Great 8' stops. The Swell Cornopean was of similar construction but had a somewhat smaller and brighter tone. The Vox Humana was scaled about 1-5/8" at CC,was made of linen metal, and consisted of 49 reeds and 24 flues. (In the blower room at St. Mary's church is a rack board labelled "Vox Humana 3074", clearly from this organ.)

All of the windchests were electro-pneumatic unit chests, even though most of the stops were straight. The mixtures had individual sliders for ease of tuning. The relay had hinged exhaust pneumatics for the note switches; these were enclosed in large pressurizedboxes with glass panels and provided for 73 notes on the manuals; the Pedal did not have a relay. The stop switches were operated by pressure pneumatics and also provided for 73 notes for the 16', 8', and 4' stops, each of which was provided with an extension octave of pipes.The relay wiring was very neat, including carefully coiled pigtail connections. The blower was a 5 h.p. 3-phase Orgoblo, #25181, with nominal 5" static pressure, and so the organ probably spoke on about 4" wind.

The console was a simple design using a tripper-type combination action directly behind the stop keys, which were arranged in two rows on a straight stop rail. The added Wicks stops were not on the combination action. They played from the Swell manual and were affected by the Swell couplers.

It appears that Hinners may have had to resort to some unification in order to fit the organ into the rather small available space. Pictures taken during the organ's removal show that the chests were on many levels with little headroom. The Great was on at least 3 levels, which must have made service work especially difficult. The lack of space might also explain the absence of the ubiquitous Flute Harmonic. Mary Slattery Green's parents lead the fund-raising for the Hinners organ. It had "a big sound that filled the church", but it also had a wealth of soft registers for accompanying the choir, according to organist Mary Carlock. According to Robert Baker, Professor Frank Jordon of Illinois Wesleyan helped design this organ and he tried to follow some of the ideas of then-emerging "organ reform movement".

Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Bloomington, Illinois Hinners Organ Company, Pekin, Illinois, Opus 3074, 1934

In the following specification:
(x)Denotes a unified stop; the letter appears with each use of the stop.
owIndicates open wooden pipes.
lmIndicates pipes made of linen metal.
scIndicates the pipe size in standard scale numbers.

All chests are electro-pneumatic unit chests, even for straight ranks. All Hinners manual ranks are 73 pipes unless specified otherwise.

Great – 73 notes (partially enclosed)
16Open Diapason (a) lm 36sc 73p
8First Open Diapason 40sc lm
8Second Open Diapason (a)
8Philomela ow
8Viola d'Gamba (b) 58sc
8Melodia (c) ow 85p
8Dulciana 58sc
8Tuba 5.25"sc harm c2
4Octave 55sc lm
4Flute (c)
2 2/3Twelfth (d) 65sc 61p
2Fifteenth (e) 69sc 61 p
VDiapason Mixture (d,e, III) 183p
Tremolo
16Great to Great
8Great Unison Separation
4Great to Great
16Swell to Great
8Swell to Great
4Swell to Great
Swell – 73 notes
16Bourdon (f) 97p
8English Diapason lm
8Stopped Diapason (f)
8Salicional (g) 85p
8Voix Celeste (tc) 61p
8Aeoline 64sc
4Flute d'Amour (f)
4Violina (g)
2 2/3Quintette (g)
2Flautino (f)
IIIHarmonia Aetheria 183p
8Oboe
8Cornopean harm f1
8Vox Humana lm
Tremolo
16Swell to Swell
8Swell Unison Separation
4Swell to Swell
Pedal – 32 notes
32Resultant (h) (10-2/3 switch)
16Open Diapason (h) w 10"x12"
16Bourdon
16Lieblich Gedackt (f)
16Violone (a) 36sc
8Major Flute (h)
8Dolce Flute (f)
8Cello (b)
8Great to Pedal
8Swell to Pedal
Sanctuary (Wicks, 1938)
8Open Diapason
4Octave (12)
8Clarabella
4Waldflute (12)
8Salicional
4Violina (12)
16Lieblich Gedackt (12, Pedal)
Tremolo

References

I am indebted to the following persons and sources for information contributed to this description of three large Hinners organs. Where only a city name is given, the city is in Illinois.

The Diapason, March, 1930, for the original stoplist of the Presser Hall organ.

The Diapason, February, 1936, for the rededication of the Presser Hall organ.

The American Organist, September, 1960, for the article "The Hinners Organ Story", by Robert Coleberd, Jr.

The Tracker, December, 1962, for the article "Chronicle of the Hinners Organ Company" by John R. Hinners.

The Tracker, September, 1972, for the article "A Hinners Catalog", from information supplied by James M. McEvers.

Dan Abrahamson, Associate Tonal Director of the Reuter Organ Company and a former organ student at Illinois Wesleyan University, for details on the Presser Hall organ.

John L. Becker, organ technician from Peoria, for details on the Presser Hall organ as he rebuilt it for Delavan.

Ed Boadway, organ builder from Claremont, New Hampshire, for information from his Hinners opus list.

John-Paul Buzard, organ builder from Champaign, for details on the St. Mary's organ and on other Hinners instruments.

Robert Coleberd, Jr.,Granada Hills, California, for details on various Hinners organs.

Diane Cosentino, liturgist at Holy Trinity, for details on the Holy Trinity organ and for access to the remaining pipework and other parts.

Mary Carlock, organist at Holy Trinity, for details on the Holy Trinity organ, especially concerning how some of the individual stop sounded.

Robert Delvin, music librarian at Illinois Welsleyan University, for providing copies of the articles from The Diapason and for originals of the rededication program.

Greg Fletcher, organist in Alton, for details on the Presser Hall organ in Delavan, where he was once organist.

Cyril B. Frevert, organist in Bloomington, for details on the Presser Hall organ.

Michael Friesen, Haufman Estates, for details on some Hinners organs.

Frank B. Jordan, Des Moines, Iowa, former Professor of Organ at Illinois Wesleyan University.

The late David L. Junchen for information on Hinners theatre organs published in his Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ.

James M. McEvers, organ builder from Makanda, for details on the St. Mary's organ and the Presser Hall organ as it stands in Delavan, as well as for other data on Hinners organs.

Mrs. Janice Timm, organist at First Presbyterian, Delavan, for details on the Presser Hall organ as it now exists in Delavan and for access to it.

Tony Witte, parishoner at St. Mary's, for photographs of the removal of the Holy Trinity organ.

John R. Hinners, grandson of Arthur W. Hinners and great-grandson of John L. Hinners, who loaned his collection of Hinners documents, including the final factory ledger book.

I also personally inspected the instruments, or their remains, on several occasions from 1991 to 1993.


About the author: Since retiring after 35 years as a systems programmer, Larry Chace is now concentrating on designing and building portions of control systems for pipe organs, gladly turning a long-time hobby into full-time activity. He is a member of the OHS and ATOS and an affiliate member of the AIO. His special interest is residence pipe organs, a small example of which has been slowly evolving at his home in Etna, New York.