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  What and where is the largest functioning pipe organ in the world? By some measurements the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ could take that honor but unfortunately, is barely functional. However, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ is played twice a day and has two full time caretakers. It is not in a church. It is in Macy's Department store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a huge instrument with 28,604 pipes in 463 ranks. The organs six manual console weighs in a about 2.5 tons. The combined weigh of the console, pipes, chests, and cabling comes to over 287 tons!
It was originally made for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and was equipped with an automatic player which used punched rolls of paper. It was designed at that time to be the largest pipe organ in the world. Huge cost overruns resulted in a finished cost for the fair to be a total of (can you believe it) $105,000. After the World Fair it was placed in a St. Louis warehouse until 1909 when it was purchased by John Wanamaker for his new department store at 13th and Market Street in Philadelphia. It took 13 freight cars to move it and 2 years to install. It did not have enough sound to fill the 7 story store atrium that housed it, so Wanamaker started his own pipe organ building. He hired about 40 people to expand it. Between 1911 and 1917 about 8,000 pipes were added. In 1924 a new expansion of the organ began, encouraged by Rodman Wanamaker, John's son. This resulted in the celebrated 88 Rank String Division, which fills the largest organ chamber ever constructed - 67 feet long, 26 feet deep, and 16 feet high. The W.W. Kimball company of Chicago made that section of the organ. During that time the Wanamaker Pipe Builders built the current 6 manual console. Any one interested in pipe organs that visits Philadelphia should certainly visit the Macy's store to hear this organ.
You must see the new Viscount Unico 300 organ. It has 47 stops and the Physical Modeled tone system - it is a great instrument to play and hear.
  Come try Viscount’s new “organist assistant”.  This new Choirmaster can be quick-select setup to play up to 64 different hymns and songs and enjoys the storage space of several thousand songs.  It is amazingly flexible and capable.  
If you have any bulletins you would like to see on our list?
Send them to: Roy Hepworth