Gavioli Residence Pipe Organ
by Rick Cooley

gavresorg.jpg (34kb)Just before the turn of the century (ca. 1898), Gavioli was approached to provide a large self-contained classical 90-key book playing organ (with 11 pull-stops for manual playing) for a buyer with a very large home.  As requested, a wonderful instrument was produced for the customer: it's contained in a case with "gold" filigree, hundreds of metal and wooden pipes, lots of carvings, a 90-key book playing mechanism, a rank of playing exposed pipes, and a keyboard with 11 stops for manual playing.  There are 21 classical "Gavioliphone" organ books, dated December 3. 1900, in like-new condition.

Unfortunately, after Gavioli produced this wonderful one-of-a-kind organ, the buyer could not (or perhaps, would not) pay for the instrument.

Although producing the most wonderful full-range band organs, dance organs, and some crank organs in the world, Gavioli decided to test the market in European residence pipe organs.  Recently obtained historical information shows this instrument was likely used as a demonstrator in the Gavioli office and factory in Paris, France, at the turn of the century.  As business slowed, Gavioli focused on their worldwide sales of fine band organs and less on their new adventure into the Residence Organ market.

In 1904 the Gavioli company became "Gavioli S.A.", suggesting that the Gavioli we now own was produced before that time.  No other such organ is known to have been produced by Gavioli.  Inquiries throughout Europe have acknowledged that the instrument now in our possession is the only one known to have been built, or is the only survivor.  At the center top of its 10-foot height, in brass inlay, is "Gavioli & Cie" and underneath is "Paris".

Its history after the turn of the century, and its departure from the Gavioli factory, are not well documented.  However, for over 40 years it has been in a large museum collection in Angers, France.  Recently, most items in this collection were offered to buyers all over the world on one of our two web sites.  Arthur Prinsen of Belgium is brokering this private collection for world-wide customers.

We have found no published reference (world-wide) to the "Gavioli (Gavioliphone) Residence Pipe Organ".  However, the classical book music and the instrument clearly identify the maker as Gavioli & Cie, Paris, France, and pictures with confirming documentation have been obtained from Europe.

gavreskbd.jpg (50 kb)The Gavioli organ is totally original and complete.  It measures approximately 10 feet high, over 6 feet wide and about 5 feet deep.  It weighs about 1,500 pounds (uncrated and assembled).  Its 220-volt drive motor will be rebuilt, as necessary, and used with this instrument.

There are 21 original 90-key classical music books for the instrument.  In addition, 20 more classical books will be produced in Europe in the spring of 2000 by Arthur Prinsen.  If it can be done non-obtrusively, a full-range MIDI system will be installed and four hours of wonderful classical music will be arranged by Stephen Kent Goodman.  That will bring the total to about 6 hours of unduplicated classical music for this one-of-kind instrument.  (The MIDI system can be removed from the Gavioli within 30 minutes of purchase and no trace of this system will be left, if the customer wants the instrument "entirely original".)

Organ restoration will be completed by May, 2000, after receiving a "100 points plus" restoration in the wonderful shops of  The Great Canadian Nickelodeon Company, Ltd., in Mount Forest, Ontario, Canada.  Ronald Schmuck operates one of the finest restoration shops in the world, with over 80 years of family operation.

This one-of-a-kind, confirmed "historically significant" organ deserves only the finest collection or museum.  Its absence from Europe will be sorely missed   It will be made available in Europe, initially; its return to its birthplace in Paris, France, is inevitable.

Rick and Betty Cooley

12 August 1999