Just like every great invention, the SCHWEINEORGEL had many experiments of clever inventors before, like this one from E.Lorenz, who designed an electromechanical musical instrument in 1885, which worked on the basis of a self- inerruptor (buzzer, horn). Then Thaddeus Cahill followed, who built an instrument weighing 200 tons and made out of electrical generators in 1897, which tones were reproduced by the local phone net and which had such nice names as "Dynamophone" or "Telharmonium". As interessant was the invention of Severy and Sinclair, who built a keyboard instrument in 1905, which was made of a pile of a kind of sirens.
In 1921 an electronic musical instrument, that really came to operation and still comes today, was built for the first time. It was the "Thermenvoks" or "Thereminovox" or also "Ätherwellengerät" (=Etherwave Unit) of the Russian scientist Lew S. Thermen (Leon Theremin), which tone generation worked with two HF oscillators nearly in balance (Schwebungsummer). The player changed the pitch (later the volume, too) by moving his hands around an antenna, that was mounted on the instrument. The same way worked the "Ondes Martenot" or "Ondes Musicales" (=musical waves), too, that was introduced by the French music teacher and telegraphist Maurice Martenot in 1928.
With round 400 pure electronical tube tone generators an organ with three manuals was designed in 1929 from Givelet and Coupleux in France. It is known as the first electronic organ.
In 1930 Friedrich Trautwein introduced his "Trautonium" in Germany. It produced the notes via glow lamp (neon lamp) generators and had formant filters, which could change the tone colour. It was played with a band/ tape manual and is known as a father of the synthesizer.
In 1933 Laurens Hammond developped his first organ in Chicago, that generators worked the same way as those from Cahill. Hammond had certainly improved the principle that kind, that the whole stuff fits in a housing and that this instrument produced a really fantastic organ sound. In 1939 the first model A went into production and revolutionized the musical instrument market. More models followed the A model and little by little the Hammond organ became well known and famous worldwide. Because of the genius sound and for an ORGAN really low price, the HAMMOND organ found its way to many living rooms, and made the SCHWEINEORGEL socially - and whatever else accepted.
During the Fourties and Fifties other SCHWEINEORGELS were built, such as the light organ of Welte, that worked the same way as the sound-film, or the Wurlitzer Orgatron, that worked with capacitive taken up vibrating metal tongues. Other brands like Baldwin, Allen, Conn or Beyer built pure electronic organs, but which could'nt tie on the great fame of the HAMMOND organs that time, because of the huge technical expenditure (those organs had for each tone one tube and/or glow lamps for the tone generation, which needed for 100 to 200 generators of course a little bit of place and didn't even let the organs be more lighter).
Only just in the end of the fifties, when the solid state technology went into the home electronics, the pure elctronic organs became more "meaningful". And much more than that: Because of the many and diverse and easy possibilities of operation of the transistor, the electronic organs became not only more lightweight and even transportable but the organs had more tonal and sound possibilities and special effects, too. Classics, like the VOX or FARFISA organs, that became established in the beat music, or like the MOOG synthesizer, which could produce all kind of possible sounds and revolutionated the electronic music, were created that way.
Because of that technology, more and more brands of organs and organ variations were emerged, which from the small, squeaking and whimpering, one-manual organ for the small purse to the huge, cathedral, multi-manual concert organ with a bunch of electronic toys, were flooding the organ market.
Only just in the begining of the eighties when the digital technology was established, the classical electronic organs were disappearing little by little. They fall victim to the tendency of the imitation of realistic, acoustic musical instruments and to the wish, that an instrument had to play on its own. The "old" organs should imitate acoustic musical instruments as well, but in comparision with the digital sample technology this attempt seems more to be touching. That way the electronic organs were replaced little by little by absurd, digital, music making pocket calculators, that looks like flat driven, burnt and smeared baby pianos and that sounds mostly not even better.
Usually the attempt to imitate some instruments, gave the real kick on the organs. For example Laurens Hammond tried as well to imitate different instruments, and only just because of the technical imperfectness of the electomechanical tone generators and key contacts, this organ got its great sound. Making this imitation most perfect, the trendy digital playthings loose its soul completely and sound apart from a few exceptions, which then have the price of a middle class car, like they look like: plastic!
These times, where elctronic musical instruments are all trash bin grey, the real electronic organs fall into oblivion. And with them also all the different, fanciful details and technical inventions, which makes up a SCHWEINEORGEL. Many organs disappeared moudly going in any cellars or just became scrapped completely. With this a whole era gets lost with its beautiful (and sometimes perhaps not that beautiful) sides The rediscovery of the easy listening music since 1990 and the connection to the music today can't really stop the dying of the organs as well. And besides, the great diversity of existing organs should be made more accessible to the nevertheless existing potnetial organ buyers and interested people, and should shown them that there was not only the HAMMOND.
Actual, this are enough reasons to built up a real SCHWEINEORGEL museum, but I haven't the place and the necessary amount of change (yet) to do this. Surfing the WWW I discovered the Virtual Synthesizer Museum. This is a virtual museum, that offers all informationl and pictures of synthesizers from the begining to the digital age to the visitor.
Unfortunately it's not possible there to set up an organ section for reasons of time, and so I was confirmed to do it myself. After thinking over it a few minutes I found this idea pretty good, and now here we are: the SCHWEINEORGEL HOMEPAGE.
Of course I would like to buy each organ myself, I can get, and then to dismantle, to reapair, and to restore it, and even play it (so far I know it at all) and then to put it with a picture and a description into the SCHWEINEORGEL homepage. But even if I had enough place and money for this, I could hardly collect and maintenance the huge number of organs, that were sold worldwide.
For that reason YOU are demmanded !
Send me all kind of stuff, what belongs to this topic, for example photos, catalogues, documents, instruction manuals, circuit diagrams, records (perhaps do your parents have some, which they don't listen to anymore...?), MP3s and everything else, what comes into your mind, right?
If you are a proud owner of one ore more SCHWEINEORGELS, you'll be immediately included into the SCHWEINEORGEL homepage. You only have to send me by post or by EMail one or more photos and a description of your organ.
You can take this list as help to which things are important to present your organ the best for all people.
Without your help, this virtual SCHWEINEORGEL museum can't become really interessant. But with YOUR organs this will work as good as in the Virtual Synthesizer Museum.
By the way:
If someone has any ideas how to get the "Blue Book Of Organs" (it is a book where most electronic organs are listed, sometimes with pictures, and was given to music stores in the mid seventies ), please contact me, too.