An Introduction

 The Organs of the US and Canada Database (OUSCDBŠ) was created with the intent of providing in a single, consistent, accessible source a detailed historical overview of the organ as it has been physically constructed or installed in the United States and Canada since the arrival of the first imported instrument in the colonies. All instruments either fabricated in or physically located in the US and/or Canada are to be included.

Basic parameters of data included are:

Individual record listings for:

1 - Each organ constructed within the US or Canada

2 - Each organ installed within the US or Canada

3 - Each action assigned a builder identifier number by a US or Canadian builder

4 - Each rebuild/restoration/renovation of an organ installed in the US or Canada

Material excluded as outside the scope of this database includes most material relating to:

1 - reed organs

2 - orchestrions or band organs

3 - basic stock model electronics

4 - photoplayers or theater pit organs

 The OUSCDBŠ is organized in a manner to allow ease of use and flexibility in initial entry, editing, and updating while including specific necessary physical and historical information and considerable detail. It is designed to be continually updated and will only remain viable as long as it is maintained in an ongoing operation. By use of an uncomplicated standardized computer format, which could easily be made available to researchers, collectors, historians, musicians, etc., editing and updating is facilitated. Little specific instruction would be needed other than very basic familiarity with, and availability of, a PC. Ideally, the OUSCDBŠ format could go to builders who could make their own updates. For most builders, the entry of the activities of an entire year, new instruments, rebuilds/relocations, additions, restorations, or large scale maintenance could be completed in a few hours once the basic data is assembled. Organ historians would be able to easily update and verify known statistics and details as research progresses. Church, architectural, and other researchers would be able to trace physical locations, congregation/population changes, or natural physical events (i.e. great fires, earthquakes).

 The ORGANS OF THE US AND CANADA DATABASEŠ is potentially a very significant aspect of the history of the organ, not only in those specified areas, but also world wide. With the growth and continued improvement of the quality of North American instrument builders into a most influential segment of the organ builder's art, it is necessary that this growth be documented while some of that documentation still exists. Our paper documents are both disappearing and deteriorating at an alarming and unfortunately unstoppable rate. We still alter original and historic instruments with unconscionable ease and disrespect for their significance and leave little evidence to indicate what we have changed, or how we did it. We continue to replace serviceable but perhaps old fashioned instruments with new ones representing our current notions of what a "good" organ is and must be. Poorly informed budget conscious purchasers continue to award the care of good and important instruments to the ministrations of unqualified and unsympathetic service technicians because they are the only source available locally, or, more often, because they are the lowest bidder.

 The database concept allows maintenance and continuation of that history in multiple locations (no single place to lose to fire, for example), rapid accurate exchange of information (computer/modern generation, transport, and integration of data), and simple accessibility to that information. Encyclopedic cataloging of information on non-extant instruments in a permanent CD-ROM format would be of little difficulty and distribution of that material to archives and libraries or individuals would be greatly simplified. Greater knowledge and understanding of our past would facilitate and enhance our appreciation and respect for our present, that which will become the body of the archives of the not distant future.

 In summation, the ORGANS OF THE US AND CANADA DATABASEŠ has the potential of being a significant part of our future Organ historical research and documentation

George Nelson




 The listing has been entirely built and maintained by its owner, George Nelson. You may contact Mr. Nelson for information at Post Office Box 17463, Seattle, WA, 98127-1163, or via E-Mail c/o ouscdb@q.com. George is always eager to help others interested in historical pipe organ research. If you have material which may be useful for the maintenance of this data base (such as information on destroyed or relocated organs, rebuilt organs, new installations, etc), Mr. Nelson would be happy to hear from you at the address above. If you are willing to share information you have gathered, he would love to hear from you. Similarly, if you need information on locations, opus numbers, or other historical data, George would like to hear from you. Material supplied by George has already contributed significantly to such activities as OHS Chapter organ crawls, etc.

Please, if you are sending information to Mr Nelson, complete organ Identification is important. Please, give full basic information identifying the organs. Please give location name (Church, city, state - address is great if known), and builder name at least. Other information would also be appreciated as known {year, opus, ranks, stops, pipes, etc. etc.}.

 Submissions by those interested in organ history are all-important in the creation and maintenance of this listing. Currently, it includes almost 90,000 instruments, with references to c.1800 builders. The list is not available on line or via the web, but Mr. Nelson is always happy to look up special or particular information on the OUSCDB. Contact thfough E-Mail or to the above address. In addition George can make printouts of segments of the lists available at cost through US Mail.


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