Wurlitzer was only one, but by far the largest, of many builders of theater pipe organs.Â Each Wurlitzer theatre organ has an “Opus” number, which is a serial number specific to that particular instrument. The Lorain Palace Theatre’s Wurlitzer is Opus 1858.
The organ was tagged for delivery to the Lorain Palace Theatre on February 25, 1928. It was fully installed by March 15, 1928.
Wurlitzer designed a series of standard models which were given a style designation. A lot of standard models were built and sold, but many of Wurlitzer’s theatre organs were not “standard” and thus designated as “specials”.Â In the end, Wurlitzer wound up building more “specials” than standard theater organ models.Â The Palace Theatre’s Wurlitzer is a model 220.Â Based on the earlier H3M Wurlitzer model, the Palace’s organ is one of only seven ever built in this style. It is also one of only two Wurlitzer’s of this particular style – worldwide -Â that is still in its original installed location and in its original installed condition.
The Wurlitzer Style 220 has three manuals (keyboards), ten ranks of pipes, and many special effects (drums, bells, etc.) typical of cinema organs of its era.Â The console is positioned in the orchestra pit and, thanks to a 2014 reinstall/refurbishment, can once again rise majestically on a lift for solo presentation and then, once the featured organist has performed, will again descend gracefully back into the orchestra pit.
A virtually unknown and certainly unseen feature of the Lorain Palace Wurlitzer is its organ chambers.Â These chambers that house the ranks of pipes, the percussion, and the organ’s other effects, are tucked away behind the walls on either side of the Palace stage. It is from these chambers in conjunction with the sole power source for the organ – Spencer Turbine Company’s Spencer Steel Orgoblo – located in the basement that the “mighty” Wurlitzer gets its might.
For more information on the Wurlitzer Organ and Company click here.