"...The original Hammond Organ was Designed and built by the ex-watchmaker Laurens Hammond in April 1935. Hammond set up his 'Hammond Organ Company' in Evanston, Illinois to produce electronic organs for the 'leisure market' and in doing so created one of the most popular and enduring electronic instruments ever built.
Hammonds machine was designed using technology that relates directly to Cahill's 'Telharmonium' of 1900, but, on a much smaller scale. The Hammond organ generated sounds in the same way as the Telaharmonium, the tone wheel-The tone generator assembly consisted of an AC synchronous motor connected to a geartrain which drove a series of tone wheels, each of which rotated adjacent to a magnet and coil assembly. The number of bumps on each..."
"...Preface: This story was recently uncovered and brought to the Webmaster's attention. The manuscript was written in the early 1970's by Stuyvesant Barry. The book was never published, and thanks to Stuyvesant Barry, we have been granted permission to reprint the entire book here for our readers to enjoy. The book was written while Laurens Hammond was still alive. Since its writing, Laurens Hammond died (July 3, 1973), at age 78.
If any of our readers have interesting pictures or anectdotes to add, please Email them to us so we can include them in an interesting appendum to this page. If you have photographs or other memerobilia that you would like to contribute, drop us an email using that link and we will get back to you ASAP and then you can forward the material for inclusion. We would love to post pictures of the wives, children, former employee and more information about them. If anyone has these or any members of the Hammond family read this the general public would seriously enjoy any information you could share with us. Let this page be a living legacy to the man who made it all possible.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
"Hammond as in Organ"
"...3. THE FIRST HAMMOND ORGAN WAS SOLD TO HENRY FORD BUT LATER DESTROYED IN A FIRE AT THE FORD MUSEUM IN DEARBORN, MICHIGAN.
False. Henry Ford was Hammond's "first customer" but the Hammond Model A destroyed in the Ford Museum fire was not the original organ. In February 1934, Ford placed a pre-production order for no less than six Hammond Organs, one of which be-came the "museum organ." Early on, Hammond claimed George Gershwin was "the first Hammond owner." While Hammond generated much favorable publicity by identifying the new electric organ with the famous composer, Gershwin's Model A was an early production instrument but not the "first" Hammond Organ.
Hammond "serial number one" has a far less glamorous history. Built in early 1935, it was shipped to J. W. Jenkins Music Company, Hammond's agency in Kansas City. Bob Pierce, a young salesman, had the task of demonstrating it through-out the Midwest. Pierce ultimately became a suc-cessful Hammond and Steinway dealer in Long Beach, California and is the author of the Pierce Piano Atlas. He recalls in his book, "Three of us, an organist, a maintenance man and I traveled in sa-fari-like fashion with a van and an automobile for the next three years. We drove through Kansas, Nebraska, Okla-homa, Iowa, Arkansas, and Texas, hitting every little burg with a popula-tion over 100. We demon-strated the Model A on university campuses and radio stations, for women's clubs, in music stores and churches, and even mortuaries. The only places we avoided were the gin mills." When the organ was retired as a demonstra-tor in 1938, it was sold to the Paseo Methodist Church in Kansas City where it remained for the next eleven years. "Serial number one" is now part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection of important American " firsts" and there is little likelihood it will be de-stroyed by fire or other ca-tastrophe.
Technically, even "serial number one" was not the "first" Hammond. Laurens Hammond and his engineers built the proto-type organ in 1933. The prototype was used for research and as a patent model. Hammond's organ patent was granted on April 24, 1934, and production of the Model A officially began in June of 1935.
Interestingly, like Hammond Clocks, the prototype was not self-starting. Later production instruments..."
Here is one early model offered for $1000:
Here is another older model for $910:
Here are some dealer prices for restored Hammonds, some early, starting around $3,000+:
If they are asking $3,000 odds are they would only pay YOU $1,000 (most retail stores operate on a 3:1 ratio between wholesale and retail prices).
From this I would estimate your organ is worth between $1200 and $1800 maximum if you could find the right buyer ... the privatae party prices are still ASKing prices, but then yours is a 1935-A and theirs isn't.
Your organ is probably worth more in sentimental value to you than whatever wholesale price you could get for it... but all it takes is one retail customer and you could have a sale...