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Thread: Hear The HMHS Britannic Organ - a Facinating Story

  1. #1
    Midshipman, Forte branchporter's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    New York State

    Hear The HMHS Britannic Organ - a Facinating Story

    Around 1914 - 1915, a large "Welte Philharmonic" pipe organ was built for the HMHS Britannic, sister ship of the Titanic. This versatile organ could be played by keyboared, or by paper roll. The organ includes "toy counter" elements.

    The reports I read vary - some say the organ was built but never installed. while others say it was installed, then removed and returned to the factory when the unfinished Britannic was
    requisitioned as a hospital ship for WWI duty in 1915.

    For nearly 100 years there has been speculation about the existence or whereabouts of the organ. Then, in 2006,
    the Swiss Museum for Music Automations undertook a complete restoration of a Welte Philharmonic organ they had purchased in 1969. It was found that the word "Britannic" was stamped into wood parts throughout their organ. They had known of a few of the past owners of the organ, but the restoration reveled it's origin.

    Here is a playlist of 29 pieces played on the Britannic Organ. Most are played by roll (or possibly MIDI made from a roll) and some may be by an organist. The mechanical playing is some of
    the best I have heard. ZRYx8IYA9di1uUWKes

    More history of the ship and organ can be found here:

    Last edited by branchporter; Nov-27-2014 at 16:59.

  2. #2
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso wljmrbill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Taylors, South Carolina, USA
    very interesting. I will check the links out. Thanks for posting
    ....To play only what is written is the domain of science. To realize what is not written is the domain of art."
    - Jean Langlais

    I wish you the Best for each day, now and always.


  3. #3
    Midshipman, Forte branchporter's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    New York State
    The pieces from #13 through # 26 are performed on the organ's console by organist David Rumsery. Many others are paper roll recordings, cut from performances by historic organists of years ago, which were made before acoustic recordings were possible.

    This site gives more information on the organ and the pieces in the playlist:

    Here's the organ as it appears at the Museum für Musikautomaten
    Hear The HMHS Britannic Organ - a Facinating Story-britannic-orgel-jpg
    Last edited by branchporter; Nov-28-2014 at 21:32.

  4. #4
    Commander, Assistant Conductor Albert's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Rocky Mountains, Canada
    Lovely. Thanks for posting this.

  5. #5
    Seaman, Mezzoforte
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I have bought the first two volumes of the Britannic organ after hearing the You Tube link and reading the story. It really is a quality instrument.

    Best wishes,

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