Schober Organ Notes No. 80
Disclaimer: We accept no responsibility for any unfavorable
consequences resulting from following our advice
I hope that this newsletter finds you all well and enjoying your Summer.
I made my Summer move to Vermont from New York and unfortunately cannot
publish the photos of the endless loop cartridge in this issue due to some
computer difficulties here. I hope to do so in the next one.
The Demise of Schober
The following are excerpts from a 1994 letter sent by Ray L. DeVault in
response to questions asked by a Schober owner:
"Here are the answers to your questions asking about Schober's
history. Schober did not "fold" on any specific date, but in general it
was the Spring of 1981. They did not go bankrupt, but just ceased operation
because of poor cash flow and they could not pay their bills.
"Technology was passing Schober by and Richard Dorf was
afraid to go into things he didn't know anything about so sales diminished.
Also, companies like Devtronix were much advanced in technology. This left
a great number of customers "holding the bag" with partially finished organ
"Richard Dorf phoned me one day around this time and asked
if Devtronix could help the customers complete their Schober kits. I said
we could probably help most of them as far as the electronics went. I was
sent their mailing lists and a couple of boxes with about 500 letters from
customers asking for parts, assistance and what happened to Schober Organs
as the phone was disconnected.
"[As to] Schober stock [of parts, etc.], I understand
there was not a lot of stuff, but what was left was sold at an auction
at the company offices.
"For your information - Jim Ramsey (Schober's public relations
person), played almost all of his demo records (except the classical side
of one LP) and answered all customers' letters and phone calls. Jim went
to work for Rodgers Organ in N.Y. after Schober closed. One evening around
1984 as he was going home on the bus, he had a massive heart attack and
died. He was a very nice person. We had many phone calls regarding Schober's
closing and how to help the customers.
"Richard Dorf, president of Schober Organs, originally
formed the company with a technical writer/publisher by the name of Henry
Schober. As the company got started, Dick Dorf bought out Schober's interest
and Dorf kept the name as they had already written magazine articles about
it. Dick Dorf died June 27, 1989 of lung cancer at age 68.
"Bob Avedon, the long time chief engineer is still around
and active, but not in the organ field. He left Schober a year or two before
they closed because Schober wouldn't let him improve the designs. Near
the time when things were getting tight with finances, a fast talking con
man convinced Dorf he could save the company by designing a modern technology
three manual classical and theatre organ. Bob Avedon had started a three
manual classical model on his own, but Dorf wouldn't let him finish it,
so the con man did a little work on it and got it running. He then wrote
all the customers to send in $8,000 for this new wonderful organ all built
up and running. Because of Schober's good name, many people sent in the
money and the con man put the money in his own bank account. Of course,
there were no organs to ship and all the customers got were excuses and
after a while realized they were "taken". Dorf didn't really realize what
was happening until then but eventually fired the guy. Dorf's brother was
a local attorney and was able to attach the con man's bank account and
return most all of the money as they were closing the company.
There were no three manual theater organs ever started."
More about the wonderful Jim Ramsey and his efforts to help Schober
customers (at his own expense and time) after Schober's demise in the next
issue of Organ Notes. [AK]
Recital Pedal Board Fix
The original factory built pedal boards for the Recital were troublesome
because of the tension springs which were located at the toe end of each
pedal. These springs were flimsy and would break. Schober came up with
a kit that replaced these springs with coil tension springs and issued
Information Bulletin BN-39 in November 1969. The pre-assembled pedals were
replaced with a pedal kit which used torsion springs at the pivot end of
the pedals. These had no problems as far as I know. Back in 1999 I found
some material that indicated Phillip Becker had designed a great fix for
the problem some years ago. I asked him if he could send me the information
and he kindly did. In Organ Notes 59 I offered to send anyone who was interested
Phillip's plans and/or BN-39. Many of you sent for them. Now some of our
members seem to have difficulties with broken springs again, so I'm publishing
his plans, etc., in this issue. Here in parts is what Phillip wrote. See
his diagrams at the end of this issue:
"I will try to relate the concept of the pedal spring
modification, which I did to two instruments, successfully. There was some
variation in Schober pedals over the years. This modification is for the
version where there is very little space between the heavy, curved plywood
board in the frame and the floor. The concept is to replace the tension
springs at the toe of each pedal note with a torsion spring at the pivot
point of each pedal key. Since this will put the pedal board frame under
significant torsion to oppose the combined torsion of each pedal key, you
would start by reinforcing the pedal frame. The two units I worked on both
had weak glue joints on all four corners and even some fractured plywood.
So, first add corner blocks to all four corners of the frame, securing
with glue and wood screws.
"The next step is to add two 1/4" x 20" threaded rods,
which resist the tendency of the large curved plywood block to deform in
the middle under the load of the springs. The rods are anchored to the
large curved plywood block between the centers of adjacent E and F notes.
Since the clearance to the floor is small, it may be necessary to cut a
groove into the plywood for the rod and its clamp with a chisel. I used
a half of a cable clamp that was curved and had two holes in either end
to clamp the end of the threaded rod to the large curved plywood block
and secured it with wood screws. Perhaps a clamp from an electrical conduit
fitting would work. Use a nut on the end of each threaded rod. The console
end of the threaded rod is attached to the transverse frame member with
a metal bracket screwed to the wood and drilled to clear the threaded rod.
I used two pieces of steel angle iron that I cut and drilled. Add a nut
and lock washer to the end of the threaded rod as it passes through the
bracket. Snub the nuts initially. As the springs are tensioned later, it
will be necessary to increase the tension in the threaded rod by tightening
the nuts so that the large curved plywood piece is not pulled downward
toward the floor.
"The next step is to fabricate 32 springs. I used hardware
store flat galvanized steel strips - in the same part of the store as the
angle iron and the steel rod. I would guess the thickness was 1/8" or 3/16".
The idea is to get something with some give to it, but not too weak. The
deflection of the spring as the pedal is depressed is quite small, so a
heavy spring is needed. I recall that the width of the flat galvanized
strip was a little more that the width of the pedal key, something like
1/2" or 1". The length of each spring was about 4". Cut 32 pieces with
square ends out of the strips with a hacksaw. Drill a clearance hole for
a 3/16" bolt at about 1/2" from the end. Both holes are on the centerline
of the strip. File off sharp edges.
"Purchase some boxes of 3/16" X about 1-1/4" stove bolts,
washers and lockwashers at the hardware store. I'm not sure of the length.
32 of the bolts need to pass through the pedal pivot, the new spring and
the large curved plywood piece. 32 of the bolts need to have a jam nut
threaded most of the way up the bolt before it is threaded through the
spring. This screw bears on the underside of each pedal key. I believe
the original Schober design for the pedal key pivot was one or two wood
screws into the large curved plywood piece. That is not sufficient to withstand
the force of the new spring, so it will be necessary to drill a hole straight
through the large curved plywood piece, one for each key. Make sure the
drill hole is perpendicular to the surface as it goes through the block.
Since there is little clearance to the floor in the center, I counter-bored
the hole to take screw head and washer. This bolt has to be tightened to
the point where the plywood starts to deform as a small amount of looseness
here will lessen the spring action considerably. Thread a screw with the
jam nut through the tapped hole in the other end of the new spring and
tighten until it bears on the underside of the pedal key. The force is
adjusted by simply tightening the screw. The screw is kept from loosening
by tightening the jam nut against the spring. Tighten each spring slightly
and then tension the threaded rods to compensate. Then tighten each spring
until you obtain a satisfactory amount of pedal force. Re-tension the threaded
rods once again. You will find that this system can produce a fairly crisp
pedal feel. The spring tensioning screws may need occasional readjustment
and the treaded rods may need to be tightened as the pedal frame flexes
and the springs seat into the plywood. Maybe once a year would be enough.
"One other thing that I did after I achieved the pedal
return force I desired was to put felt pads between the sides of each pedal
key and the brass guide pins on either side. The felt thickness was about
3/16". That removed the side to side sloppiness that always plagued the
original design. Maybe weather strip felt would work. I had some felt pipe
organ valve disks that worked very well."
[Organ Supply Industries sells Pedal springs 4" X 7/8" X 1/8". Part
0350.01. These springs have 3 holes drilled into them I don't know at which
points. (Phone 814-835-2244)] AK
For members who receive Organ Notes via E-mail: If you wish to see the
diagrams mentioned above and photos mentioned below, please send me a SASE
and one 37 cent stamp, for a hard copy of ON 80, to my Summer address:
Alexander Kruedener, 73 N Lamphear Road, Jamaica, VT 05343
ADS DISCLAIMER: ANY DEALS, MAKING OF PAYMENTS, RECEIPT OF PAYMENTS
OR VERIFICATIONS ARE STRICTLY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
Doug Steeves is looking for a working single board Schober Tone Generator
for his Recital. If you can help Doug, please contact him at: 11 Heather
Dr. Moncton, N.B. E1E 1C6 CANADA Tel: 506-382-7463 Email: email@example.com
FREE THEATRE SCHOBER
Theatre organ with Reverbatape, Percussion, etc., in good playing order
is available from Bob Markworth in Omaha, NE. Tel: 402-573-9071 Email:
FREE CONCERT HYBRID
Concert Electronics in a non-Schober console. Looks somewhat like a spinet
piano, but has pedals of course. In Corona New York. Contact: Letha at:
Tel.: 718-335-6589 Email: Lizcomp@aol.com
I have a photo here of a beautiful Recital with simulated pipes above it
on each side. It
is complete with 2 LSS10 speakers w/HF-1 high frequency extension kit,
presets, Reverbatape and Schulmerich Carillon. For the price of the Carillon
alone. BEST OFFER. Organ Located in Norristown,PA. Contact: Vladimir R.
Weiss New Phone: 610-728-5167 E-mail: vweiss123@Juno.com
FREE THEATRE SCHOBER
I have another photo of an absolutely beautiful Theatre Schober built by
Frank Tate who unfortunately can no longer maintain it.
It comes complete with an Autotuner. Located in Columbus Ohio. Contact
Frank at: Tel: 614-888-3003 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Francine Wiest Jansen is looking for the organ that her father John F.
Wiest built in 1961. He was written up in the Denver Post newspaper on
November 19th, 1961. It is for sentimental reasons that she wants to find
this organ. It is probably a Spinet. If you have any information whatever,
please contact: Francine Wiest Jansen, 6767 Vivian Street, Arvada, Colorado
80004 Tel: 303-431-4212 Email: email@example.com
Editor: Alexander Kruedener, 161 East 89 Street, Apt. 4E, New York,
NY 10128, (212) 831-0662. Kruedener@juno.com
ORGAN NOTES FOR SCHOBER ORPHANS AND FRIENDS Issue #80
Fred Henn Founder & Headmaster Emeritus
EDITOR Alex Kruedener firstname.lastname@example.org
FORMATTING Bill Kohrumel email@example.com
EMAIL Jack D. Gildar JDgildar@juno.com
Schober Organ Orphans' Page: http://www.users.cloud9.net/~pastark/schober.html