Today's blog entry focusses on Gordon Twyford Fossdyke and his amazing organ school. The early 1950s was a time when organ playing was much in vogue with musical young ladies, we don't know why, it may be the mighty swell of tremolo that an organ gives as it thunders towards a crescendo gave these impressionable young things a sense of power in an age of post war austerity.
Whatever the phenomenon was, it presented Gordon with an interesting problem as even though he had a big organ and knew how to us it as well as being a very capable teacher, he was still unable to satisfy the large number of young ladies that clamoured for his expert tuition as his traditional pipe organ did not lend itself to multiple players and then there was the noise level as well. Even going down in scale with a harmonium wouldn't have been much help and if he resorted to just a little virginal, well, that wouldn't have been much cop either. Whatever could he do?
Well, Gordon turned to Mullard for help who designed for him a circuit for a Multi-Keyboard SIlent Organ. This fascinating device was of the keyboard type and was capable of full harmony with each tone generating unit comprising of one oscillator valve per note. The valves used were the Mullard EF50, of which there were many as ex wartime stock as well as contemporary production freely available at this time.
The keyboards were very simple, each consisiting of a series of key switches feeding a pair of headphones and a pedal operated swell pedal was provided for each keyboard. Up to 24 keyboards could be simultaneously connected to the unit and hence Gordon could satisfy the teaching demands made upon him. It was possible for Gordon to listen in to any of the players or even connect groups of players for duets or quartets and via a microphone, he could even speak to each pupil without disturbing other players. Pupils liked the system and they found the DLR 5 & WS38 set military headphones, ex Govt Surplus to be very comfortable indeed.
I am sure you all yearn for that halcyon time when we didn't have a nanny, loony, multiculturally embracing, wafty, do-gooding, PC, elf and safety conscious mindset, the likes of which are amply illustrated by the following photograph showing Gordon fiddling with his unprotected bits. How he never got a shock I'll never know and history does not record whether or not the gubbins was ever enclosed in a casing to protect fingers accidentally or even deliberately contacting the circuitry and frying anyone feckless enough to fiddle: -