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St. Mary's Church
Remsen, Iowa

1896 Wm. Schuelke Organ
Restored 2001 by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders

Built for the previous church building, this organ was moved in 1903 to St. Mary’s new edifice, a substantial brick structure in neo-Gothic style that retains its original altars, confessionals and other furnishings. An attached console fitted with tubular-pneumatic action controls membrane chests, patented by Schuelke in 1895. An inscription found in one of the windchests reads, “Olaf Peterson Organ Builder Milwaukee, Wis. 1896 Sep.”

We have restored the instrument with no mechanical or tonal changes. Windchests were releathered, the stoppers of wooden pipes regasketed, the metal pipes washed and carefully re-regulated to return errant pipes to original speech and strength. The present supply house regulators, which displaced the original bellows years ago, have been retained for reasons of cost.

16 Bourdon
8 Principal partly in façade
8 Flauto
8 Gamba
4 Octave partly in façade
4 Flute d’Amour
2 Super Octave
III fach Mixture
Swell to Great
SWELL (enclosed)
8 Geigen Principal
8 Gedackt
8 Salicional
4 Fugara
16 Sub Bass
8 Octave Bass
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Bellows Signal
Pedal Check

The Great windchest, shown before restoration without toeboards or bottom boards. Every one of the small rectangular holes is a cell in which is located a leather membrane for a note. The long horizontal openings are the ventil channels into which air is admitted when a stop is turned on; eight of them can be seen, because there are eight stops on this windchest. When a note is played, the corresponding leather membrane shifts to allow air to pass from the ventil channel up into the appropriate pipe.

The new white leather membranes can be seen here in the restored Swell windchest.

John Panning has posted additional photos on Facebook.


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Dobson Pipe Organ Builders, Ltd.
200 North Illinois Street • Post Office Box 25
Lake City, Iowa 51449 USA
+1 712 464 8065

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