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Other Vintage Household Electrical or Electromechanical Items For discussions about other vintage (over 25 years old) electrical and electromechanical household items. See the sticky thread for details.

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Old 21st Jan 2018, 1:26 pm   #21
trobbins
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

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I'd be grateful for any information regarding the Triton Hill address. I've never heard of it and can find no other references to it.
I'd have to say that is an aussie translation error, as the english adverts are the same timeline, and they clearly say Timberhill.

I don't have current findmypast or ancestry subscriptions at the moment - but yes they may well be good tracking resources, although I haven't used them for company names before.

I just noticed that the Norman & Beard factory "St. Stephen's Works" sketch shows Victoria Station in the background (as Great Eastern Railway), which seems to locate that factory at the corner of Queens Road and St.Stephen Rd.

The British Newspaper archive shows Miller Organs advertising pipe organ tuning and maintenance services in Dec 1949 and Jan 1950 (I used up my freebies years ago so can't confirm any address).
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 2:09 pm   #22
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

The venerable Richard Dorf in his Audio Magazine Feb 1952 patent column walks through the Constant Martin patent technique, that apparently Miller Organs must have licenced. Dorf went on to be quite influential in electronic organs.

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/...o-1952-Feb.pdf

There is also some background in:
The Sound of Tomorrow: How Electronic Music Was Smuggled into the Mainstream by Mark Brend, and an article "Miller organ" by Hugh Davies.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 2:57 pm   #23
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I wonder if there's been a certain amount of "artist's licence" where the sketch of the N&B factory is concerned? Victoria Station extended right up to Queen's Road and the map shows no evidence of any station buildings on the edge of the road. These were further along, beyond Grove Road.

The three storey organ house, now converted to luxury flats certainly isn't in the location shown in the sketch. It's actually on the other side of St Stephens Road.

In the attached picture you can see what looks like the organ house on the junction of St Stephens Road and Chapel Field Road. At the bottom left of the picture is the junction of St Stephen's Road and Queen's Road where the artist, incorrectly in my opinion places the works.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 3:13 pm   #24
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Forget my reference to "artist's licence, it's incorrect. I was confused by the statement that factory was located at the corner of Queens Road and St.Stephen Rd. It isn't.

The works was situated between St Stephen's Road and St Stephen's Square with additional frontage along Chapel Field Road.

The organ house can be seen in these old and new pictures. The office entrance in St Stephens Street appears to have become the Co-op.
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 3:46 pm   #25
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

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Originally Posted by Station X View Post

In the attached picture you can see what looks like the organ house on the junction of St Stephens Road and Chapel Field Road. At the bottom left of the picture is the junction of St Stephen's Road and Queen's Road where the artist, incorrectly in my opinion places the works.
I know it's OT but that looks like a Standard Pennant followed by a Standard Companion behind the big Vauxhall. Interesting picture!
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Old 21st Jan 2018, 10:12 pm   #26
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Super stuff Graham for that extra sleuthing - I had had a long look at that photo in your post #23 as the tall 3 storey factory in the rear looked a pretty good fit, but the location was a bit out - however your siting of the buildings is spot on thanx to google street view!
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 8:58 am   #27
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I remember that when I was a child in the 60s the church I was dragged along to every Sunday morning had a Miller organ, that by the late 60s my sister was playing. So far as I am aware it was all valves, which bearing in mind it had been fitted when the church was built in the mid 50s is not surprising. I remember that it had light bulbs inside as heaters, that switched on and off automatically, and were visible through the cloth covering the vents in the back. It had the oddity that it shared oscillators between adjacent notes, so that if the two were played together only one sounded, but I don't now remember whether it was the higher or lower one that sounded.

Its power output was considerable. I know that it is not still there.
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Old 22nd Jan 2018, 12:33 pm   #28
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Miller must have had a bit of influence, or good timing, with electronic tone generation instruments.

His parallel business activity of custom keyboard instruments was well connected. The links have information from archived documents that only became available this decade:
https://books.google.com.au/books?id...ent%22&f=false

https://books.google.com.au/books?id...ler%22&f=false

At that time (circa 1957), a nice Selmer electronic organ retailed for 535 guinea, so a 3,000 quid instrument sale in to a growing market (albeit about to get swept away by transistors) would have kept Mr Miller interested no doubt.

A recent PHD thesis gives a wide view of that era of electronic music interest - perhaps something in there for everyone:
http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/3915/1/Nico...012.pdf?DDD23+
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Old 23rd Feb 2018, 3:15 pm   #29
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I think Miller Organs is still trading as Norwich Organs. They're in Lammas, NR10
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Old 26th Mar 2018, 2:36 am   #30
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any continuity from the old company to the present one.

Do we have any kind of inventory of surviving examples. AFAIK Tom Kroll in Germany has three - An 'English Organ 2m, c. 1966, a 'Norwich' 2m valve divider and a 'Martinette' 1m. I too have a Norwich 2m valve divider and the Classic IV 2m individual oscillator. It will be interesting to find out more about the St. George, Norwich instrument if it still exists.

Your pic of the Norwich T 2m drawstop console suggests it is outwardly like its valve predecessor - just not quite as packed in the back. When I have a chance to unpack it I will take some pics - for some reason I don't seem to have any.

Quote:
It had the oddity that it shared oscillators between adjacent notes, so that if the two were played together only one sounded, but I don't now remember whether it was the higher or lower one that sounded.
This presumably applied only to the pedals, as adjacent pedals would not normally be played, whereas it would be unacceptable on the manuals. In which case at least the pedal oscillators seem to have been independent from the manuals, even if the latter used dividers, as pitch-switching could not be applied to the dividers without also affecting the manual stops. A similar trick was also done with pipes, where each pipe could produce one of two notes by the opening of a pallet inside.
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Old 2nd Apr 2018, 10:14 pm   #31
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

The organ I knew (and my sister regularly played) had only one pedal, a "swell" pedal, in practice an overall volume control; no pedal board for tuned notes. In fact one doesn't all that often play adjacent notes, so the limitation wasn't too severe. I do distinctly remember my sister complaining about it though.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 1:41 pm   #32
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

A polyphonic instrument that can't play adjacent notes... I wonder what decision process lead to that particular compromise? The absence of a pedalboard indicates it was intended for compactness/economy/special purposes. Had dividers been used, switching the pitch at one octave would have caused keys of other octaves to play the wrong note or to be muted, so it must have used individual oscillators. In which case, why not give it a full set of dividers instead of half a set of oscillators, probably at comparable cost?

The only alternative I can think of is that it generated and switched a single waveform per key, deriving stops of different footages somewhat approximately by filtering alone. This would allow a 5-octave manual to be served by just 30 oscillators, hence 15 dual-triode valves; an extreme sort of economy that does not fit with the description of having generous audio output.

By 1954 Compton were offering a 'compact' type of instrument with no pedals, using their smallest electrostatic tone generators, that would fit in the space of a harmonium at modest cost. I wonder whether this was Miller's equivalent based on valve tone generation, where the generators would otherwise have been disproportionately expensive?
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 4:06 pm   #33
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

I seem to remember that the keyboard had a smaller range than a typical piano, but I can't remember by how much. The cabinet was floor standing, the length of the keyboard plus a bit, about the height of the centre of the music rest, and about 2 to 3 feet deep. The back was covered in cloth, through which could be seen the valves glowing and the "heater" lamps when they were on. I forget the number of stops it had, may be 12 to 20 at a guess. The loudspeakers were in a separate odd shaped box mounted over the "proscenium arch" between the chancel and the nave; curiously facing the alter, not the congregation. From what little I know of the history of that 1950s church, low purchase price would likely have been significant.
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Old 3rd Apr 2018, 5:11 pm   #34
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Full size organ keyboards are only 61 keys compared with the 88 of a piano.

Of course higher and lower notes than a piano's range can be had by selecting a suitable stop.
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Old Today, 5:10 am   #35
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Default Re: Miller Organs from Norwich

Hi all, I have just acquired a Miller organ from the family of a deceased gentleman in Melbourne who had it for over thirty years and played it until he died. When I looked at purchasing it I pulled off the back and was surprised to find it was older than I thought and had valve oscillators. It still works. The nameplate has on it:
"The Norwich Organ"
"Musical Research Ltd Norwich"

I believe Miller used this trade name on some organs.

I have no interest in retaining the old sound of the organ and my intention is to gut it out and convert it to a digital organ as the console and keyboards are solid and good quality. However I came across this thread while doing a bit of research and I'm wondering if the organ has any historic value to anybody. It would be a shame to dismantle it if it is a rare machine.

Peter
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