SPENCER ORGAN MOTORS.
THE steadily increasing number of public water works in America has been a great stimulus to inventors and manufacturers to keep pace with improved appliances for utilizing this water power. In no particular is this more noticeable than the changes a few years have seen in the designs of water motors for organ blowing.
The first application of water power to organ blowing was a rotary motor of the jet type. These were wasteful of water when used for this purpose and an attempt was made to use rams of various kinds, only to find that, although more economical, there was a noisy jar at the end of each stroke. To overcome this dilemma the motors combining the rotary and reciprocating motions were invented (like the old Amherst motor), with the idea that the wasteful, but noiseless rotary could be combined with the economical, but noisy ram, so that the advantages of each would be retained. The combination was a failure, because an organ motor must be so simple that no repairs are needed and the machines now produced were complicated and unreliable unless kept in perfecl condition. So the motor builders continued experiments, and brought out the direct acting piston motors, some applying air chambers at each end of the cylinder, hoping thereby to overcome the jar. Thousands of these motors are in use and their trial has developed the two facts following: In the first place, the noise and jar are only partially avoided, and secondly, there is a waste of water at the end of each stroke; for the portion that enters the air chamber of the cylinder does no work flowing out with the exhaust.
The final development succeeding these years of experiment was the Spencer motor here illustrated, which is made by the I,. E. Rhodes Company of Hartford, Conn. In an ingeniously simple manner perfect freedom from noise is secured by checking the flow of water as the piston nears the end of the stroke, so that there is no throb and consequently no necessity for the large air chambers. Such air chambers at best only partially stopped the throb and often became leaky and useless. Now, however, under the Spencer patents, each piston is stopped so gently that an unusual speed may be employed without jar and, what is more, without waste of water. The Spencer “check” is thus a successful preventative of jar and waste; but in some organs much of the trouble comes from creaking, throbbing bellows. This pounding is generally worst just as the bellows are filling and is emphasized by the sudden starting of the motor,while after the music begins, the noise often becomes imperceptible. A smoothly running mo” tor is the first necessity and in addition there has arisen a de‘ mand for a more effective means of controling the motor than the old-fashioned crank winding up a cord. To provide for the proper starting of their motors the Rhodes Cempany has developed a starting pedal furnished with a glycerine cylinder, similar to that used on door checks. A touch of the foot releases the pedal from the catch, and this rises as the bellows weight falls; but rises slowlyand evenly because being checked by the glycerine cylinders. There is such a gradual starting that the throb of the bellows is thus avoided, and safety insured for the delicate parts of an organ. As it is not possible to start too quickly with this patented pedal, the safety of an organ is assured even in the hands of one unaccustomed to the use of motors. In large organs with several reservoirs the pedal can be adjusted to rise slowly until the last reservoir is filled, and then automatically release itself ready for full speed. The Spencer motor and pedal together, therefore, seem to attain the end that has been sought for so long—namely, the combination of power, reliability, noiselessness, and economy,