Milnar Organ Company - Established 1968
www.milnarorgan.comOrgano     Pleno

Organo Pleno Newsletter 2014

Spring Hill United Methodist – Spring Hill, TN

      The small railroad town of Spring Hill, Tennessee is situated just south of Nashville. The outskirts of town have grown considerably due to a recently constructed General Motors plant. Fortunately, the heart of town remains as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. The Historic Methodist Church just celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. The sanctuary, with its original furnishings, chancel area and fixtures, was given a touch-up prior to its birthday.

      The 1915, eight rank, Hinners tracker organ was installed shortly after the church was built. Founded in 1879, the Hinners Organ Company of Pekin, Illinois developed a number of stock models of mechanical-action instruments that were advertised throughout the central U.S. Operating without salesmen, the company was one of the first to conduct all of its affairs by mail. Buyers first met a company representative when he arrived by train to set up the crated instrument that had been shipped ahead of him. Tracker organs with hand-pumped bellows were suited to an area that, for the most part, lacked electricity. In all, the company constructed nearly three-thousand pipe organs during its sixty years of operation.

 Opus 1970 Hinners particulars:

            The pump arm was disabled and a blower, situated in the basement, was installed when the town was electrified.

When restoring these early instruments, we re-leather the feeder bellows and if disabled, we re-install the hand pump. The one hundred year old leather on the pallets was like new, so along with the manual trackers, they were retained. The Pedal Bourdon was played by a tubular pneumatic action. The lead tubes were in poor condition and were replaced with black rubber hoses. The low Octave of the Swell 8’ Violin Diapason was mounted in the façade and also has a tubular pneumatic action.

      The most unusual thing about this organ is its lack of a Swell roller board. The tracker squares are mounted on an angle and the tracker runs are of various lengths running diagonally between the square rails. The action is smooth and has less friction than the normal rollerboard design. In Spring Hill, the Methodists purchased an electronic organ when the Hinners went into disrepair, but they kept their tracker knowing that someday it would be rebuilt.

      In the South, the lack of trained organ technicians has caused a lot of these early trackers to be discarded when a bellows corner blew out. Ironically, the lack of regular tunings for this organ left the pipes with tuning scrolls in wonderful condition. After cleaning and reconditioning the pipes, all the tuning scrolls were retained as well as the organ’s original pitch. New pull down wires were installed with new felt connection points. Like the builder, we installed new leather adjustment nuts instead of modern plastic ones. Besides the early addition of an electric blower, the century old organ was restored to its original level of high craftsmanship.


Blair School of Music, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University

Reuter / Milnar – 23 Ranks  FOR SALE


The organ was removed from Peabody College in August of 1981 and transported to our shop in Eagleville. There it was rebuilt, redesigned, and enlarged. A moveable platform was made for the console so it could be stored off stage while not in use. The white console was refinished to match the furnishings of its new home.

Casework to cover the mechanism of the windchests was designed to blend with the room’s décor. A new 16’ Pedal Trumpet was added to the specification. In 1986 we moved the existing 1’ Great Mixture to the Swell division and a new 1 1/3 Mixture was installed in the Great division along with a new 8’ Trumpet. A total of 276 pipes were added. The original organ was a gift from Mrs. Hugh W. Stallworth in memory of her mother Caroline Bevill McMichael. The additions to the organ were a gift from Peter and Lois Fyfe. This organ can be redesigned to fit into a new home. Upgrades and some additions are recommended. The organ can be played until early March at which time it will be removed to make room for a Dobson organ. Specification is on our website.

·        Current Projects

Athens State University, McCandless Hall                  

     Last year we removed the 1892 George Kilgen and Son tracker organ to make way for a complete renovation of McCandless Hall. We are scheduled to reinstall the organ at the end of February 2014.

St. Joseph’s Episcopal – McDonough, GA

        In 2006, we designed and installed pipe additions on a Rodgers organ at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in McDonough, GA. The church not only desired the tonal improvements, but the visual majesty of pipes. The church built a platform over their front doors to support the pipe additions.

      We just installed a 4’ Choral Bass and an independent Pedal Mixture. We have been told to start on the final phase of  pipe additions as well. When completed, the organ will have independent Principal and Flute Chorus in the Great and Pedal. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Rhinehart have been the catalysts behind the pipe additions.


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