The Artizan Style “D” Band Organ
With few individual exceptions, all of the American-made band organs were produced in North Tonawanda, either by the Wurlitzer Company or one of its 3 competitors, from 1893 until 1945. Artizan Factories operated between 1922 and 1930 at the intersection of Nash Road and Erie Avenue in North Tonawanda.
This organ is a rare example because relatively few organs were produced by Artizan and most were smaller. This “Style D” is the largest model built by Artizan. It is also unusual because it is in as-built factory condition, with the original roll-playing mechanism, and still plays the music for which it was built. Most organs built by Wurlitzer’s competitors have been converted to play Wurlitzer music rolls.
This organ is housed in a weatherproof trailer, which will allow us to take the organ off-site and into the community, raising awareness of the museum and creating public enthusiasm for it. It will be possible to take it to parades, civic and holiday celebrations and private functions, helping to raise funds for this organ and funds for the maintenance of the band organs in the museum’s collection. The opportunity for thousands of local residents and guests to hear the inimitable sounds of this musical instrument within their own community is another exceptional benefit.
The Artizan band organ is a significant addition to the museum’s collection. Currently in the collection, in addition to the Artizan Style D, are three important organs. The Wurlitzer Style 125 Military Band Organ was built in North Tonawanda in 1917. It is the first organ acquired by the museum and was played on the 1916#1 Special Carrousel for 15 years. Following that was the acquisition of the Wurlitzer Style 146 Orchestral Organ. This organ has been playing on the “Big Carrousel” for four years. The most recent addition to our collection is the Wurlitzer Caliola, which has been fully operational and playing since Memorial Day. Visitors can take advantage of the chance to play the keyboard on this organ, which is the only Wurlitzer Band Organ built with a keyboard option.
We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of the donors who generously made the acquisition of this beautiful band organ possible.