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The

AMICA Bulletin Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors’ Association

www.amica.org Volume 50, Number 6 November-December 2013


Angelo Barbieri Organs by Dr. Giorgio Farabegoli Angelo Barbieri (Figure 1) was born in Bagnolo Cremasco (Cremona) in 1875 and was ordained a priest in 18981, and from 1903 to 1909 he lived in Marudo2, in the province of Lodi3, where, satisfying his passion for music (8 years old he was playing very well on the organ4) dedicated himself to the design and implementation of a device, which he called Automusicograph5, able to automatically record the music, while it was performed on the piano, by means of graphic signs on rolls of paper.

Figure 1. Don Angelo Barbieri at the beginning of 1930, photo taken from the brochure “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, Barbieri Organs (Gt. Britain) LTD. (Courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music)

The Master Pietro Mascagni, after trying it the first time in early 1909, said on March 12 of that year: I had the opportunity to examine some practical result of the device invented by Don Angelo Barbieri, called Automusicograph, and I was convinced that this device will bring aid to composers, help of importance and of absolute value. The results offered by the machine are clear, visual, very perfect; and every composer will find in this device the complement of his faculties, as it will be able to make and reproduce exactly all the ideas, all the inspirations that at every moment, and suddenly come from the mind and heart of the composer, who creates and does not manufactures its own music. For my part, I declare that I look forward to the time when the Automusicograph of Barbieri is offered for sale for purchase and use of it at any time to work.6

Shortly after he finally acquires possession of the device, and uses it immediately to compose his opera Dr. Giorgio Farabegoli “Isabeau”.7 This equipment is composed of two distinct parts: the Transmission frame and the Recording mechanism.8 1. The transmissions frame (Figure 2), made in 2 different types (one for the upright piano and one for the grand piano), is connected to the piano and has the function of concentrating on a small space the displacement of the individual keys presses by the executor, in order to bring them within reach of the Recording mechanism. It is equipped with a lever, which allows to remove or put it in communication with the keyboard, depending on requirements.

Figure 2. Transmissions frame for the upright piano, “The Automusicograph Barbieri”, Society for the manufacture of the Automusicograph Barbieri, Barbieri & C., Milan (courtesy “Gambalunga”, Public Library of the town of Rimini, Italy).

2. The Recording mechanism (Figure 3) rests on the piano, picks up the movement of the keys received from the Transmission frame and records graphically on the staff of the paper roll that runs in its front at constant speed. To suit the aesthetics of the piano that was connected, this device is enclosed in an elegant case fashioned in the style of the piano (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Writing device without housing, “The Automusicograph Barbieri”, Society for the manufacture of the Automusicograph Barbieri, Barbieri & C., Milan (courtesy “Gambalunga”, Public Library of the town of Rimini, Italy).

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bellows for the control of manual and registers; in the pneumatic organ by small electropneumatic windchests and in the elecric organ by electric switches. The two parts are connected to each other by a cable, to be able at the closure of one or more circuits of the transmitter, to actuate the corresponding coils that will play the notes or will command the registers to which they relate.12

* Pipe organ itself. .

Figure 4. Writing device with a holster, placed on top of a piano, “The Automusicograph Barbieri”, Society for the manufacture of the Automusicograph Barbieri, Barbieri & C., Milan (courtesy “Gambalunga”, Public Library of the town of Rimini, Italy)

Figure 5. Transmitter group of the Autoorgan Barbieri, advertising brochure “Auto-organ Barbieri - some reviews in chronological order from July 1933 to July 1934”, factory SABBAEM, Milan (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

As Angelo Barbieri’s passion for music machines could not find outcome in a small town, in 1909 he moved to Milan, the city where he could devote himself fully to inventions and achievements of mechanical musical instruments.9 Here he founded a factory of electromechanical music equipment, called S.A.B.B.A.E.M., (Società Anonima Brevetti Barbieri per Applicazioni Elettro Musicali)10, which produced: 1) Pipe Organs; 2) Automatic Organs (or Auto-organs); 3) Music on rolls of perforated paper for Auto-organs. To satisfy the curiosity of the readers, we first make a brief digression on the SABBAEM production of Automatic Organs and Music on perforated paper rolls, which constituted the most important achievements of Barbieri, then we move on to the production of pipe organs in depth, which is what is relevant for the present article, as it is the one that will be then launched for sale in Great Britain through a company created for the purpose.

Automatic Organs (or Auto-organs) A Barbieri Automatic Organ, whose marketing and sales to the public began in Italy in 1931, is composed of three distinct parts or incorporated into a single device:11 * Transmitter Group, consisting of an electro-pneumatic reader of music engraved on rolls of perforated paper, which can be connected to any type of organ, even at a distance (Figures 5 and 6).

Figure 6. Transmitter group of the Auto-organ Barbieri “Cantantibus Organis”, with double player rolls of punched paper, made from the factory SABBAEM Cantù (Como), now fully restored and running, Museum of Mechanical Music, Villa Silvia in Cesena (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

The Automatic Organs Barbieri for the churches were the devices most popular and widespread of the SABBAEM production. The models in the catalog were many, and it also provided various customizations to adapt the instrument to any kind of liturgical environment. An advertising brochure of the years ‘3013 states that the smallest Automatic Organ was the model Microorgano (Figure 7), for small churches which did not have sufficient space to install a normal organ, which was equipped with a small expressive electric organ completed with the addition of a small console, which could be installed at any distance from the organ, with the automatic reading device for rolls of perforated paper.

* Receiver Apparatus, constituted by different devices depending on the organ that has to make play: in mechanical organ is constituted by a group of coils and 262

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Figure 8. Small expressive electro pneumatic organ “Minimum”, advertising brochure “Cantantibus Organis”, factory SABBAEM a.r.l., Cantù (Como) (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music). Figure 7. Small expressive electro pneumatic organ model “Microorgano”, advertising brochure “Auto-organ Barbieri - some reviews in chronological order from July 1933 to July 1934”, factory SABBAEM, Milan (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music)

On a subsequent advertising brochure of the years ‘4014, after 1943 (but prior to 1950, the year of the death of Don Angelo), when the SABBAEM moved from Milan to the town of Cantù, to reduce the risk of damage caused by the aircraft bombing15, it was presented the model Minimum (Figure 8), the evolution of the previous Microorgano, which incorporated into a single element both the reader of the music and a small organ. The SABBAEM production then continued with largest and most important Automatic Organs, such as the one installed in 1934 in the choir of the Basilica Porziana Prepositurale of San Vittore al Corpo, Milan16 (Figure 9). Then we arrive to the most impressive and original inventions and achievements of Don Angelo Barbieri, one of which is the huge Automatic Organ installed in 1937 in the new Church of Sant’Adolfo (now St. Joseph) in Aielli (L’Aquila).

Figure 9. Two manuals Electric Console Barbieri with Auto-organ and Harmonium, advertising brochure “Auto-organ Barbieri some reviews in chronological order from July 1933 to July 1934”, factory SABBAEM, Milan (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

The organ of Sant’Adolfo was extraordinary and unique on account of several technical properties which were novel for that time: * The organ was equipped, instead of the usual bells, with 25 tubes which the historic documents called “tubular bells”. They were located in the steeple whose facade was covered with glass elements in form of

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organ pipes. The steeple was equipped with four loudspeakers instead of bells. This way not only the sound of the tubular bells of the steeple could be heard even at large distances but also the sound of the organ inside the church. * An auto-organo Barbieri was incorporated into the console which consisted of two manuals and could be controlled independently by two music rolls. * The instrument had an electric clock which at fixed times started the playing of the 25 tubular bells of the steeple from the music rolls with optional predetermined music.17 The organ and the auto-organ of Barbieri at Aielli were preserved yet unfortunately not completely, because the 25 tubular bells, the four loudspeakers and the electric clock were lost at an unknown time. In the website of the Historical Archive “Istituto Luce” there is a video of the October 6, 1937, entitled “The work ordered by the prefect of Novara Letta”, in which, for a short time, you see the Auto-organ Barbieri installed in the church of Sant’Adolfo of Aielli.18 You can see two frames taken from this movie (unfortunately in low resolution), which show the steeple facade covered with glass elements in form of organ pipes (Figure 10) as they were at the time of the inauguration (now the steeple is more modestly closed with modern flat glass).

Music on rolls of punched paper for Auto-organs Thanks to the appreciation of prominent personalities from the ecclesiastical and musical world for the perfection attained by the Barbieri equipment, the most popular and famous organists of the time recorded thousands of titles of music on rolls of punched paper intended for Barbieri Auto-organs.20 The organ recordings of the great Masters organists of the time were made through another device invented and patented by Don Angelo Barbieri, the Autoperforator.21 This device, connected to the console of an organ, allowed to “record’, by drilling a roller Master of cardboard, any execution, in real time, with interpretation and desired key22 (Figure 11). Subsequently, the original Master cartons were placed in a machine that made copies of rolls of paper taken from a reel, and they finally were held for sale. The AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music23, has a musical repertoire which consists of over 2,000 rolls of Barbieri Master cardboard (Figure 12), among which are the music of Bach, Perosi, Mozart, Guilmant, Bottazzo, Bossi, Beethoven, Handel, Gounod, Albinoni, Mendelssohn, etc.

Figure 11. (Above left) Autoperforator connected to its console, advertising brochure “Cantantibus Organis”, factory SABBAEM a.r.l., Cantù (Como). (Above right) Autoperforator removed pending restoration (photo by the author). (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

Figure 10. The 25 pipes coming up through the bell tower of the Church of Sant’Adolfo (now St. Joseph) in Aielli (L’Aquila), frames taken from the movie “Giornale Luce B1177” of 06/10/1937, titled “The work ordered by the prefect of Novara Letta” (courtesy Historical Archive “Istituto Luce”).

The wide variety of models in the catalog, as well as the original adaptations and customizations that allowed the installation of equipment in any type of environment, enabled the factory SABBAEM to build and install over 1,600 pipe organs and automatic organs throughout Italy.19 This enormous equipment production was made possible thanks to the genius of Don Angelo Barbieri, who created and deposited dozens of patents of its equipment in eight countries in the world (Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Belgium, England, USA).

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Since the AMMI is also in possession of the machinery to make copies of the rolls of Master cardboard (single copy of this equipment arrived intact to this day), it is therefore possible to provide new rolls of punched paper with the great performances of the organ of the Masters organists of the past.

Figure 12. (Above left) Some rolls of Master cardboard boxes made from the factory SABBAEM, Milan. (Above right) roll of paper to be sold from the factory SABBAEM, Milan. Barbieri Collection of the Museum of Mechanical Music, Villa Silvia in Cesena (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

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Barbieri Organs in Great Britain As the fame of the Barbieri equipment became such as to go beyond the Italian borders (there are reports of Barbieri organs installed in France24 and Switzerland25), Don Angelo in 1930 tried to enter the Great Britain market, creating for this purpose the company “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”, with a capital of £ 15,000 (Figure 13), which produced and distributed, on the basis of patents registered in England, Barbieri pipe organs. This sum of £15,000 in 1930 which equates at least to £778,200 today, was definitely a lot of money to start significantly the activity in a new very competitive selling market.26 To make a simple comparison, with £15,000 you could buy as many as 50 Barbieri pipe organs F6 model, suitable for rooms from 300 to 500 seats!

chasers”) of the third part WHEREAS the Vendor has been granted the Letters Patent short particulars whereof are set forth in the Schedule hereto in respect of the invention in the said Schedule mentioned and hereinafter referred to as “the Scheduled Letters Patent”.

Figure 14. Top of the first page of the Agreement of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”. (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

Figure 13. Fifty Ordinary Shares of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” held by Don Angelo Barbieri (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

In the penultimate and last page of the Agreement there is the list of the referred English registered patents (with handwritten U.S.A. registered patents to which it refers) and original signatures of interested parties to the agreement (Figures 15 and 16): * Don Angelo Barbieri * Umberto Corvi * Norman Hall * George Palmer * John Wilson White * Frank Robinson Ward

For its entry into the Great Britain market in cinema and Church organs, on April 2, 1930, Don Angelo Barbieri made an agreement between the seller and the Italian dealers and British buyers. On the first page of the Agreement we see the interested parties (Figure 14). An Agreement made the Second day of April One thousand nine hundred and thirty BETWEEN DON ANGELO BARBIERI of Via S. Vincenzo 26 Milano Italy (hereinafter called “the Vendor”) of the first part CORVI & SEMERARO SOCIETA ACCOMANDITA of Via Carducci 30 Milano aforesaid (hereinafter called “the Concessionaires”) of the second part NORMAN HALL of Woodleigh Edgerton Huddersfield in the County of York Manufacturer GEORGE PALMER of 23 King Street in the City of London Incorporated Accountant JOHN WILSON WHITE of 463 Princes Gardens London W.3 in the County of Middlesex Engineer and FRANK ROBINSON WARD of 14 Queen Victoria Street in the City of London Engineer (hereinafter called “the Pur-

Figure 15. Bottom of the penultimate page of the Agreement of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”. (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

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of the first part, Corvi and Semeraro Società Accomandita of the second part, and Norman Hall, George Palmer, John Wilson White and Frank Robinson Ward (for and on behalf of the Company) of the third part, or otherwise to purchase or acquire the letters patent granted to the said Don Angelo Barbieri in the British Empire, and the United States of America, for an invention relating to improvements in the manufacture of electrically controlled organs and pianoplayers, and the apparatus and machinery therefore, being British patents numbered 271,126, 218,333, 223,842, 219,148 and 295,468 respectively, and U.S.A. patents numbered 1622364, 1637674 and 1620711 respectively, and any subsequent improvements in or upon the said manufacture, apparatus and machinery which may be invented by the said Don Angelo Barbieri, and all extensions of the said letters patent or any of them. Figure 16. Top of the last page of the Agreement of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”. (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

A very interesting part of the Agreement is the first point of the agreement between the parties, which refers not only to the sale of Barbieri equipment in Great Britain alone, but even across the British Empire27 and the United States of America, a sign that Don Angelo had the ambitious goal to greatly expand its sphere of action, which until that year was limited to only the Italian territory. The VENDOR with the approval of the Concessionaires (signified by its being a party to and executing this Agreement) will sell and the Purchasers will purchase a) The said invention and the Scheduled Letters Patent and all rights privileges and advantages appertaining thereto in the British Empire and the United States of America including the right to manufacture or assemble all things covered by the Scheduled Letters Patent in any of the said territories. b) The right to apply in the name of the Purchasers or of the Company hereinafter mentioned or in the name of and as attorney for the Vendor for Letters Patent or like privileges in any part of the British Empire and the United States of America in which such Letters Patent or privileges have not yet been granted in respect of the said invention. c) All improvements upon or additions to the said inventions at any time hereafter made by the Vendor and all rights privileges and advantages appertaining thereto. d) The right to apply in the name of the Purchasers or of the said Company or in the name of and as attorney for the Vendor for Letters Patent or like privileges in the British Empire and the United States of America in respect of the said improvements or additions.

In the Memorandum and Articles of Association of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” (Figure 17), Article 3, is written: To adopt and carry into effect an agreement dated the 2nd day of April 1930, and made between Don Angelo Barbieri 266

Therefore, the patents that Don Angelo Barbieri used for the creation and implementation of the organs to be sold on the Great Britain market are those reported in the Article 3 of the Association (these are the same also reported on the Agreement, the English ones typescripted and the U.S.A. ones handwritten, Figure 15), and are precisely the following:

British Patents * Patent Specification No. 271,126 (Application date: December 23, 1925. Complete Accepted: May 23, 1927), “Improvements relating to the Control of Electric Orchestral Instrument of the Organ Type.”. * Patent Specification No. 218,333 (Application Date: January 2, 1923. Complete Accepted: July 2, 1924), “Improvements in and relating to Combined Pianoforte and Organ Instruments.”. * Patent Specification No. 223,842 (Application date: June 22, 1923. Complete Accepted: October 22, 1924), “Improvements in or relating to Music Recording Devices.”. * Patent Specification No. 219,148 (Application date: June 22, 1923. Complete Accepted: July 24, 1924),

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“Improvements in or relating to Music Recording Devices.”. * Patent Specification No. 295,468 (Application date: June 10, 1927. Complete Accepted: August 16, 1928), “Improvements in and relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals.”.

U.S.A. Patents * Patent Specification No. 1622364 (Patented March 29, 1927), “Combined Electric Pianoforte and Organ.”. * Patent Specification No. 1637674 (Patented August 2, 1927), “Electric Musical Recorder.”. * Patent Specification No. 1620711 (Patented March 15, 1927), “Perforating Apparatus.”. Now let’s see what machines and devices are described in the five British Patents listed as those described in the three U.S. Patents are equal to the British ones.28 I subdivide these five British Patents in two distinct branches: machine to record the music as it is performed; innovative devices for operation and interconnection of pipe organs.

Machines used to record the music while it is performed The first patent to consider is the Patent Specification No. 219.148, “Improvements in or Relating to Music Recording Devices.” (Figure 18), which is essentially an improvement and development of the Automusicograph device previously seen (Figures 2, 3 and 4), patented in England in 1909.29 In this patent the device for automatically recording music played on a key operated musical instrument has an electro-mechanical operation, while the previous Automusicograph of 1909 had a purely mechanical operation. This invention relates to an electrical device for automatically recording music played on a key operated musical instrument for instance a pianoforte of the type in which each key of the instrument actuates on being depressed a small rod which closes an electric circuit operating a marker which produces by means of an inked ribbon a mark upon a travelling paper band corresponding to the note played; an electrically operated device also being provided to mark upon the same paper the metre or time beats. […….] the recording of the music upon the paper band is effected by closing the electric circuit of a solenoid which is adapted to raise its core to actuate a double armed lever carrying a marking disc which by means of an inked ribbon produces a mark upon the said band and in which a pedal operated device is provided to actuate through a system of levers, a band arranged below the inking ribbon and having embossed thereon the numbers of the metronome, and to control the closing of an electric circuit to indicate the metre upon the said paper band.

Figure 18. (Above left) Part of the electric music recorder for recording the notes as applied for instance to a pianoforte. (Above right) Device for feeding the paper band on which the music is recorded and for actuating the device indicating the metre, also the paper band itself. Patent Specification No. 219,148 (Application date: June 22, 1923. Complete Accepted: July 24, 1924), “Improvements in or relating to Music Recording Devices.”.

The second patent is the Patent Specification No. 223.842, “Improvements in or Relating to Music Recording Devices.” (Figure 19), which describes the Autoperforator device, we have already seen above in Figure 11. This invention relates to a device for use with key operated musical instruments which effects the automatic perforation of a paper band while a musical piece is played on the instrument so that when the band thus perforated is used in combination with automatic musical instruments, the exact reproduction of the music originally played may be attained and particularly refers to apparatus of the type comprising a number of solenoids each electrically connected to a corresponding key of the musical instrument and adapted to operate a corresponding perforating punch when a key is depressed.

Figure 19. (Above left) Diagrammatic vertical sectional view of the Autoperforator. (Above right) Portion of a tune sheet as reproduced by Autoperforator. Patent Specification No. 223,842 (Application date: June 22, 1923. Complete Accepted: October 22, 1924), “Improvements in or relating to Music Recording Devices.”.

These two patents, named in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”, are inherent to recording devices of perforated cardboard rolls, widely used in Italy by SABBAEM to record the performances of the great Masters organists, and then realize copies for sale for use on its Automatic Organs. I can assume that Don Angelo Barbieri had planned, if its pipe organs had broken through the Great Britain market, to then market also its Auto-organs.

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Innovative devices for operation and interconnection of pipe organs The first patent I take up of this type is the Patent Specification No. 218.333, “Improvements in and Relating to Combined Piano and Organ Instruments.” (Figure 20), deposited at the beginning of 1923, regarding the connection systems between piano and pipe organ, devices that will be one of the strengths of future models “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, marketed seven years after by the company “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”. This invention relates to a combined musical instrument comprising a piano and organ electrically connected together. Musical instruments are already known comprising a pianoforte and an organ connected together in such a manner that, by playing the pianoforte, the organ is caused to play. [………] The present invention consist in a musical instrument formed by a piano and an organ electrically connected together, and provided with three different keyboards applied to the piano (that is, the keyboard of the piano proper, a manual keyboard only serving for playing the organ and a pedal keyboard for the organ) which are all connected to the valves of the pipes of the organ by means of a system of solenoids and movable contacts disposed in such a manner that, by closing by means of suitable stops the circuits of corresponding independent double solenoids designed to act upon said movable contact, it is possible to connect either all the keyboards or one or two of them, according to the playing effect desired, either to all the registers of the organ or only to a portion suitably chosen whereby a player is able to obtain by this musical instrument the effects of a small orchestra.

Figure 20. (Above left) Vertical section of an ordinary pianoforte connected electrically to an organ. (Above right) Separate view of one of the constructional forms of the electric mechanism with which every one of the keys carried by the pianoforte is provided. Patent Specification No. 218,333 (Application Date: January 2, 1923. Complete Accepted: July 2, 1924), “Improvements in and relating to Combined Pianoforte and Organ Instruments.”.

The second patent is the Patent Specification No. 271.126, “Improvements Relating to the Control of Electric Orchestral Instrument of the Organ Type.” (Figure 21), filed at the end of 1925, which relates to an improvement of the link between piano and pipe organ, described in previous Patent Specification No. 218.333, which are subsequently used in the production of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”.

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This invention relates to improvements in electric orchestral instruments as described in Specification No. 218,333 which substantially consists in the combination of a piano and organ which are so connected together electrically that all the notes of the organ or some of them, according to choice, may be brought into play, optionally, either when the piano is played or when action is made on a second key-board which for better accommodation is mounted on the piano, for the purpose of controlling only the pipes of the organ; a corresponding pedal key-board, also disposed at the piano, being adapted to transmit electrically its movement to the pedal department of the organ.

Figure 21. (Above left) Front elevation partially in section of the mechanism of an organ taken away from the organ case or shell. (Above right) An elevation of a combination of solenoid controlled electric switch contacts. Patent Specification No. 271,126 (Application date: December 23, 1925. Complete Accepted: May 23, 1927), “Improvements relating to the Control of Electric Orchestral Instrument of the Organ Type.”.

The third and last of the patents is the Patent Specification No. 295.468, “Improvements in and Relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals.” (Figure 22), filed in mid-1927, which concerns an invention relating to percussive sound effects, which will be equipped with the more complex “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs” and the machine “Electrically Controlled Jazz Sets” (Figure 32). This invention relates to that type of apparatus comprising a combination of electrically operated percussion sound producers with a piano, which instruments are actuated from the keyboard or pedals, the movements of which close electric circuits whereby the particular instrument is directly struck through the attraction of the armature of an electromagnet. [……..] The operation of the jazz instruments is obtained as already proposed through a small system of pedals.30 Figure 22. Pratical embodiment of the electrical connections of apparatus comprising a combination of electrically operated percussion sound producers with a piano. Patent Specification No. 295,468 (Application date: June 10, 1927. Complete Accepted: August 16, 1928), “Improvements in and relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals.”.

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Angelo Barbieri, for his input on the Great Britain market, aimed particularly on cinema organs, pipe organs specifically designed to imitate an orchestra. These organs were built to provide the greatest variety of timbres, and often had pianos and percussion instruments built in, and some sound effects such siren, harps, chimes, etc. During the 1920s and the 1930s the cinema organs were built in a great variety of sizes, because, at a much lower cost, replacing the orchestra before in the accompaniment of silent movies, then to insert musical interludes between a film projection and the subsequent one. In England, the two leading companies in the production and sale of cinema organs were the German-American Wurlitzer and English Compton, the latter is the company that has sold more cinema organs in the Great Britain, for a total of 261 units! To get into a so competitive market, Don Angelo Barbieri did things in a big way, offering a full range of models, called “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, which made it possible to be installed in any hall, whatever its capacity, whether it be 300 or 5,000 seats, a pipe organ suitable in tone and volume to its size. Its technical/commercial catalog had 18 pages (Figure 23), and can be dated around 1930, the year of incorporation of the “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company. Unlike other organs which demand with every alleged improvement greater skill and agility on the part of the organist, the Barbieri Perfect Unit Organ could in the smaller sizes be played with a few hours practice by any good pianist, and could be played from the keyboard of an ordinary piano without affecting the normal operation, separately or in conjunction with the organ, even to the extent of the treble being rendered on the piano and the bass on the organ, and vice versa, giving effects until that moment impossible with one performer.31

Figure 23. “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, catalog cover of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music)

In the technical/commercial catalog of the models of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, their positive characteristics are publicized, which distinguish them from all other equipments of the competitors. The following is an excerpt from the “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs” catalog. By virtue of the numerous novel devices embodied in the Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs and the range of sizes and prices at which they are offered, it is difficult to make any comparison between them and others on the market, but some of the outstanding features may be enumerated as follows: 1. Absolute and positive electrical control from keyboard and stop to pipes, including all couplers and combinations, tremolo and swell (Figure 24).

Figure 24. Keyboard of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music). 2. A perfect volume of wind for all types of pipes, no matter how many are in operation and if every pipe in the organ is maintained at full pressure; and yet it is impossible for any pipe to be overblown. 3. Power required to operate blower and control-small, giving low cost of running. 4. Simplicity in construction and maintenance. There is nothing in the electrical mechanism which cannot be repaired by any competent electrician. 5. The operation of one stop automatically annuls the previous one, unless it is desired to retain both, thus eliminating the pauses necessary between the cutting out of one stop and employing the next. Yet at the same time, when desired, the combinations can be built up by the gradual pressure of one foot until the whole force of the organ is combined in a crash of melody which may be gradually allowed to die away to nothing by the reverse operation (Figure 25).

Figure 25. Stop panel, two manual console, of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

6. Any organ, from the smallest chamber type to the largest, can be supplied to any specification of pipes to meet the individual need of the organist or his audience, and, if desired, such pipes may be changed in half an hour or so. AMICA Bulletin - Nov/Dec 2013

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7. Owing to its simplified Unit construction and complete electrical control an organ of any size can be easily adapted to the space available, no matter how irregularly shaped. The pipes may be fitted in the roof, under the stage, or in any place however apparently inconvenient. 8. The stops are divided so that any combination of bass and treble can be produced, each pair of stops controlling half the register – the right half operating the treble and the left half the bass, the two together operating the whole register. 9. Price: there is no other organ in the world which can supply such volume of power and tone and such a number of combinations at the prices at which the Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs are offered.32

In addition to the technical specifications, in this catalog there are the five standard sizes in which the Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs were produced, including the relevant prices and the number of seats in the room to which each model was more suitable33 (Figure 26).

Figure 27. Models “F6” and “F6c” of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

We then move on to intermediate models, “NR” and “NRc”, suitable for halls from 500 to 1400 seats (Figure 28), with two manual console, the price went from 290 pounds to 415 pounds, that equates at least from £22,570 to £36,310 today.35

Figure 26. Sizes and prices of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

Sizes of Barbieri Organs started with the small “F6” and “F6c” models, suitable for halls from 300 to 600 seats (Figure 27), the most economical and compact, the price went from 290 pounds to 415 pounds, that equates at least from £15,040 to £21,530.34 270

Figure 28. Models “NR” and “NRc” of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

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Finally you get to the giant model “Super O” (Figures 29 and 30), which in Italy had been installed at the new “Odeon Cinema” in Milan in the year 192936, cinema which had a huge auditorium with 3,800-seater (Figure 31). The room was so great to have twice the size (a house double the size) than the famous “Teatro alla Scala” in Milan! This organ is probably the largest organ in Europe and has five manuals on two consoles, including piano, enabling two organist to produce effects hitherto unattainable by even the most accomplished of modern performers. Owing to the simplicity of its construction and entirely electrical operation, it would be possible to install such an organ in Great Britain at a considerably lower figure than has been paid for any of the more important recent installations in this country.37

the organist, giving effects hitherto unobtainable. [……] Second console comprises two manuals, consisting of a piano with an extra set of keys. This arrangement allows two persons to play the organ at the same time and permits the use of the piano keyboard as a piano or an organ keyboard. The upper register of the piano keyboard can be divided from the lower half, so that any combination can be made; and with two operators effects can be obtained and combinations produced which on any other organ are impossible.38

Figure 30. Specifications of model “Super O” of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music)

According to Angelo Barbieri, his organ model “Super O” was probably the largest organ ever installed in Europe. The other organ models of the time, of which we know, which could compete in size with the “Super O” are: Figure 29. The two consoles of “Super O” model of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

As can be seen from Figure 30, “Specification of the Barbieri Double Grand Organ as installed at the new Odeon Cinema, Milan” (it’s the model “Super O”), it was a five manuals, 32 ranks, and 21 effects organ. It is operated on five manuals and one 88-note piano keyboard on two consoles, which enable the piano to be played separately or in conjunction with the organ at the wish of

1. Wurlitzer pipe organ installed in 1930 for the grand opening of the 3,500-seater Trocadero cinema, at the Elephant and Castle, London, the largest Wurlitzer pipe organ ever installed in an European cinema. It was four manuals on one console, 21 ranks. 2. Compton pipe organ installed in 1937 at 2,116-seater Odeon cinema, Leicester Square, London. It was five manuals on one console, 17 ranks. The following table highlights better the different technical characteristics between the Barbieri “Super O” and these other two huge organ models (Table 1).

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Table 1. Technical specifications for “Super O” of “Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs”, as compared with those of two of the largest pipe organ ever installed in Europe, Wurlitzer and Compton.

In the following Figure 31 you see two images of the interior of the new Odeon Cinema in Milan in 1929. 1. STAGE. The organ is installed in the proscenium, the sound passing through the decorative perforation seen in the illustration. The two consoles of the Barbieri “Super O’ Organ are seen in the centre below the stage. 2. AUDITORIUM. The organ at its softest can be heard clearly from every seat, yet the sound is not oppressive anywhere when played full forte.39

Figure 32. Standard specifications of “Electrically Controlled Jazz Sets”, taken from the catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited” company (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

A wrong approach to the Great Britain market? Of all this work of Don Angelo Barbieri to launch its pipe organs in the Great Britain market, now we ask: how many of them have been sold? There is some one kept up to date? From some research carried out by experts and fans of musical instruments, organs in particular, there has been only one news about one Barbieri Organ installed in 1931 in a British cinema, namely the “Regal Cinema” (now “Apollo Cinemas”), Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. On the “Cinema Treasures” website you will find this information:43 In the catalog “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” also appears a system specifically designed to produce effects and noises in films, called “Electrically Controlled Jazz Sets”40, which was patented in 192741, whose retail prices ranged from from £65 for the smallest and simplest model to £310 for the model more elaborate and rich sound effects model (Figure 32), that equates at least from £3,372 to £16,080 today.42 272

The Regal Cinema was equipped with a Barbieri 3 Manual/6 Rank organ which was opened by Frederick Jukes. It is thought that this was the only British cinema installation of this Italian made instrument. The organ was removed in 1955 when CinemaScope was installed.

Mr Richard Cole44 confirmed to me that this is the only Barbieri Cinema Organ installed in England. He also provided me with some information on its technical characteristics:

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It was the only Barbieri organ to be installed in an English cinema. It was removed from the cinema in the 1950s and broken-up for parts. […….] The Regal, Leamington Spa, had a 3 manual, 6 unit Barbieri organ: Vox Humana, String, Flute, Trumpet, Tibia Clausa, Diapason. [……..] I have now been informed that the pipework probably still exists, spread about various instruments, but that the console, chests, regulators, etc, were all broken-up many years ago. A sad end for the only Barbieri organ in England!

The only images, unfortunately in low resolution, which I was able to find of this Barbieri organ and of the interior of the era of the “Regal Cinema” are those of Figure 33.

Figure 33. (Above left) Auditorium of the “Regal Cinema”, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. (Above right) Three manuals console of Barbieri Organ installed in “Regal Cinema”, here played by the organist Leslie Norris (courtesy AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music).

Therefore, from the little information received, it appears that Don Angelo Barbieri has failed to break into the Great Britain market, despite: * The vast experience and success obtained in Italy with the sale, up to that time, of over 1,600 organs (the Rudolph Wurlitzer company, the most prolific manufacturer, built 2,234 organs, not many more than those who sold the SABBAEM company of Angelo Barbieri); * The several innovative devices, filed with three important patents since in the 1920s, of its “Perfect Unit Organs”; * The technical, economic and commercial commitment devoted in the creation of an ad hoc company, “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) Limited”, with a registered capital of respect for the time of £ 15,000. It would be interesting to understand why Don Angelo Barbieri has sold only one copy of its “Perfect Unit Organs” in the Great Britain market, or, if he has sold more, why tracks have been lost..... We hope, sooner or later, to find answers to these questions, perhaps even with the help of our readers.

End Notes 1 Archivio della Curia vescovile di Lodi, serie Registri del clero, registro n. IX 1893-1900, p. 38; registro Census cleri, p.94 2 Archivio della Curia vescovile di Lodi, serie Clero nominato, cartella Barbieri Angelo. Archivio della Curia vescovile di Lodi, Stati personali dei sacerdoti. Archivio della Curia vescovile di Lodi, serie Parrocchie, Marudo.

3

Tiziano Casartelli, I sotterranei di San Michele - La ditta organaria Barbieri a Cantù negli anni di guerra, in “Canturium - Periodico di storia, arte e ambiente del Canturino e della Brianza”, Issue 33, Year IX, July 2012, Borghi Publisher, p. 50. 4 Piccolo notiziario della Parrocchia di S. Michele Arcangelo, Cantù, Number 6, June 1948. 5 Patent Specification No. 29,685 (Application Date: December 18, 1909. Accepted: December 15, 1910), An Improved Apparatus for Recording Music Played on Keyed Instruments. 6 Brochure L’Automusicografo Barbieri, Society for the manufacture of the Barbieri automusicograph, Barbieri & C., Milan, (1910), p. 2. 7 The Washington Herald, Wednesday, September 14, 1910, p. 4. 8 Giorgio Farabegoli (author), Aldo Laus (translator), The Automusicograph of Angelo Barbieri (1875-1950), in: “L’antico organetto”, Italian Association for Mechanical Music, Issue 3, Year 14, Dicember 2012. “The AMICA Bulletin”, Volume 50, Number 2, March-April 2013. 9 Piccolo notiziario della Parrocchia di S. Michele Arcangelo, Cantù, Number 6, June 1948. 10 Attestato di Trascrizione di Marchio (Certificate of Trade-Mark Registration) della S.A.B.B.A.E.M., Società Anonima Brevetti Barbieri per Applicazioni Elettro Musicali, Milano, depositato il 1 Aprile 1924, e registrato il 24 Marzo 1925, in possession of AMMI. 11 Auto-organo Barbieri - alcuni giudizi in ordine cronologico dal Luglio 1933 al Luglio 1934, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM, Milan. 12 Giorgio Farabegoli, “Angelo Barbieri (1875-1950), inventore di organi automatici ed altre meraviglie per registrare e riprodurre la musica” (Angelo Barbieri (1875-1950), inventor of automatic organs and other devices for recording and reproducing music), Arte Organaria e Organistica, n. 86, January-March 2013, Edizioni Carrara, Bergamo, p. 36. 13 Auto-organo Barbieri - alcuni giudizi in ordine cronologico dal Luglio 1933 al Luglio 1934, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM, Milan. 14 Cantantibus Organis, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM a.r.l. Cantù (Como), p. 9. 15 Tiziano Casartelli, I sotterranei di San Michele - La ditta organaria Barbieri a Cantù negli anni di guerra, in “Canturium - Periodico di storia, arte e ambiente del Canturino e della Brianza”, Issue 33, Year IX, July 2012, Borghi Publisher, p. 50. 16 Auto-organo Barbieri - alcuni giudizi in ordine cronologico dal Luglio 1933 al Luglio 1934, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM, Milan, pp. 12-13. 17 Giorgio Farabegoli (author), Albert Loetz (translator), “Angelo Barbieri (1875-1950), Erfinder selbstspielender Orgeln und anderer Apparate zur Aufnahme und Wiedergabe von Musik” (Angelo Barbieri (1875-1950), Inventor of automatic organs and other devices for recording and reproducing music), Das Mechanische Musikinstrument, Journal der Gesellschaft für Selbstspielende Musikinstrumente, n. 117, August 2013, pp. 2223.

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18

Giornale Luce B1177, 06/10/1937, Italy, Aielli (L’Aquila), The work ordered by the prefect of Novara Letta, artistic director Arnaldo Ricotti. The Historical Archive “Istituto Luce” is an Italian institution which houses a vast heritage of and photograph and film consisting of documents of its production (from 1924, the year of his birth), from private collections and audiovisual funds acquired over time from different sources. The assets currently consists of 12,000 newsreels, 4,700 documentaries and other types of films, ranging from the origins of the cinema to the documentation of events and social life in recent decades. http://www.archivioluce.com/archivio 19 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 2. 20 Auto-organo Barbieri - alcuni giudizi in ordine cronolo-

It stretched on all five continents, from Canada to Guyana, from Egypt to South Africa, from India to Australia; it controlled territories rich in raw materials, and this allowed the United Kingdom to become the largest economic and military power of the planet for almost a hundred years. 28 U.S.A. Patent Specification No. 1622364 is equal to British Patent Specification No. 218,333; U.S.A. Patent Specification No. 1637674 is equal to British Patent Specification No. 219,148; U.S.A. Patent Specification No. 1620711 is equal to British Patent Specification No. 223,842. 29 Patent Specification No. 29,685 (Application Date: December 18, 1909. Accepted: December 15, 1910), An Improved Apparatus for Recording Music Played on Keyed Instruments. 30 Patent Specification No. 295,468 (Application date:

gico dal Marzo 1931 al Giugno 1933, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM, Milan. 21 Auto-organo Barbieri - alcuni giudizi in ordine cronolo-

June 10, 1927. Complete Accepted: August 16, 1928), Improvements in and relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals. 31 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial cat-

gico dal Luglio 1933 al Luglio 1934, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM, Milan. 22 Patent Specification No. 221,880 (Application date:

alog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 1. 32 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial cat-

June 22, 1923. Complete Accepted: September 22, 1924), Improvements in or relating to Music Recording Devices. Patent Specification No. 223,842 (Application date: June 22, 1923. Complete Accepted: October 22, 1924), Improvements in or relating to Music Recording Devices. 23 AMMI, Italian Association for Mechanical Music,

alog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, pp. 2-3. 33 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial cat-

founded in Cesena in 1998, is responsible for recovering and spreading the mechanical music, currently has a few hundred members, of whom 10 % are foreigners. AMMI combines and connects all the knowledge in Italy dedicated to this culture, is the referent of the institutions for all major repairs of mechanical musical instruments, has a technical library of the most important in the world and publishes a quarterly magazine. http://www.ammi-italia.com/AMMI/Home.html http://www.museomusicalia.it 24 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 17. 25 Auto-organo Barbieri - alcuni giudizi in ordine cronologico dal Luglio 1933 al Luglio 1934, advertising brochure of the factory SABBAEM, Milan, p. 2. 26 MeasuringWorth, Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present: http://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare/, for conversion of 1930’s price to 2011’s price, consulted on November 9, 2013. 27 The British Empire was the largest empire in human history; in 1921 it ruled over a population of over 500 million people, although more than half of them, or about 300 million, had settled in India. If we also consider the Antarctic domains, it measured 45.218.448 millions of km ², 30% of the total surface of the Earth. Its maximum area was reached in 1918 and maintained that until 1932 (the year it was granted independence in Iraq). 274

alog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 4. 34 MeasuringWorth, Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present: http://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare/, for conversion of 1930’s price to 2011’s price, consulted on November 9, 2013. 35 MeasuringWorth, Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present: http://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare/, for conversion of 1930’s price to 2011’s price, consulted on November 9, 2013. 36 The Odeon cinema-theater in Milan was built, on the design of Ing. G. Laveni and Arch. A. Avati, from 1926 to 1929, and was inaugurated on 26 November 1929. This building, in addition to cinema, which was developed in height to three storeys, included a 900-seat underground theater, a dining hall and a ballroom. Unfortunately this building since the war has undergone various interventions that have fundamentally altered it, until the current intended use in eight multiplex cinema halls. http://www.giusepperausa.it/cinema_odeon.html 37 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 2. 38 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 9. 39 Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 11.

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Barbieri Perfect Unit Organs, technical/commercial catalog of pipe organs of “Barbieri Organs (Great Britain) LTD.” company, p. 10. 41 Patent Specification No. 295,468 (Application date:

Editor Notes: Dr. Farabegoli may be contacted at:

June 10, 1927. Complete Accepted: August 16, 1928), Improvements in and relating to a Combination of Musical Instruments Electrically Operated by Means of Keyboard and Pedals. 42 MeasuringWorth, Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1270 to Present: http://www.measuringworth.com/m/calculators/ukcompare/, for conversion of 1930’s price to 2011’s price, consulted on November 9, 2013. 43 Website Cinema Treasures:

Dr. Giorgio Farabegoli Piazzale Ruffio, 22 47521 – Cesena (FC) Italy

e-mail: g.farabegoli@libero.it telephone number: 00393285871093 Article translated from Italian by: Mr. Aldo Laus e-mail: aldolaus@dmsware.com

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/24797 44 Richard Cole, Curator at The Musical Museum, Brentford, Middlesex, England.

Postcard, ~1890 contributed by James Huffer

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The AMICA Bulletin - Angelo Barbieri Organs  

Volume 50, number 6. November-December 2013.

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