Two Wicks Organs to be Rebuilt

Marian Parrish of Ft. Bragg, California, has donated her two manual, nine rank Wicks organ to the Foundation. The organ was originally installed in Melrose Baptist Church in Oakland California.

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The Wicks organ from Ft. Bragg, CA needs complete rewiring, some pipe work, and a rebuilding of the electro-mechanical system.

In the early 1960s, it was bought by the Parrish family and until recently it has been in their home. Mrs. Parrish played the organ over a period of many years. The organ is no longer needed. Volunteers for the Foundation traveled to California in May and picked up the organ.

Another Wicks organ of the same size, this time in Port Angeles, Washington, was donated to the Foundation and it was picked up by volunteers in August. Both organs need to be rebuilt and this will be done by Foundation volunteers. It is likely that the two organs will be combined into one larger organ. Potential placements for the combined organ are currently being explored.


The Foundation realized that there would be a need to devise a wiring system for its electropneumatic and electromechanical organs which would permit the organs to be moved from one place to another both with minimal rewiring and with an interchangeability of ranks from one organ to the next. Such a wiring system required that a universal plan be set up with a premium upon flexibility as well as upon reliability. After considerable study and experimentation, a telephone wiring system was adopted in which all cables have 25 pairs of wires and in which each cable has a male and a female end on the cable when it is purchased. The cables can be cut to establish connectors at the console, at the switchstack, and at each chest. Other cables act as extension cords, and various lengths can be purchased at reasonable cost. Two cables typically accommodate a windchest with wiring which accommodates any rank of pipes ranging from a 16 foot rank to a full 2 foot rank. The system permits the interchanging of windchests across organs, and the quick movement of organ parts. Information about this system is available to anyone who would like it.


In recent months, the Foundation has focused upon the renovation of a two manual, eight rank organ owned by Seattle organ builder Sandy Balcom. The work has focused substantially on discarding the cotton-covered wire and utilizing the universal wiring system mentioned above. The organ has also been somewhat expanded. It is now nearly rebuilt and it will soon be ready for placement. Negotiations have been undertaken for placement of this organ in a church in the Seattle area.

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The switchstack for the Balcom organ showing the universal wire connectors situated in the lower left hand corner.

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The Balcom organ in the later stages of rebuilding. Mitering and Haskelizing permits this organ to be placed in settings with limited ceiling height.


The Foundation has in recent months initiated contacts with several organs in the community with the objective of restoring to service pipe organs to be played in public settings. These contacts include churches, schools, and even an occasional museum. In every instance, the Foundation will undertake to restore pipe organs to working condition so that they can be enjoyed by the general public.

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