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 Deboins ???

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organist



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MessageSujet: Deboins ???   Jeu 8 Déc 2011 - 14:52

Dear Friends, I'm sorry, I don't speak French.

I have contact with French harmonium with only signature as on the picture below. Can somebody to tell me something about this firm? Can it be "Debain" with mistake? Could Debain put his own firm medallion with mistake? And also "Francois" and not "François"?
Anyway, I think, the quantity ca 20.000 made harmoniums is very big for unknown workshop?


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Bastien Milanese
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Jeu 8 Déc 2011 - 15:50

Interesting. I reach the same conclusions as you.
Maybe a medal set up to replace a missing one ?
With a picture of the whole instrument, maybe we will know more

And welcome on this forum!
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Jeu 8 Déc 2011 - 16:26

Thank you!

Currently I have only these pictures:



and



The instrument is in poor condition.

There is no medallion between the keys and stops.
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Bastien Milanese
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Jeu 8 Déc 2011 - 16:33

One thing is sure : It's not a Debain.
More like Christophe & Etienne (colored stops)...
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Jeu 8 Déc 2011 - 16:39

Bastien Milanese a écrit:
One thing is sure : It's not a Debain.
More like Christophe & Etienne (colored stops)...

And what is the idea of different colours? For example, here (1) and (2) are white, and (3) & (4) - purple.

... And: I'm not sure, if there is expression and/or percussion present. I cannot to try now the stop without indication.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Dim 11 Déc 2011 - 8:36

Finally I have the harmonium at home.

Its specification:


(0) Forté (3) et (4)

(J) Jeu-doux
(V) Violoncelle
(E) Eolien
(4) Basson
(3) Clairon
(2) Bourdon
(1) Cor Anglais
(C) Contrebasse
(M) Mélophone
(?) ? (the stop was cancelled long time ago)

(B) Baryton
(T) Trémolo
(C) Voix Céleste
(1) Flûte
(2) Clarinette
(3) Fifre
[(4)] [Hautbois]
(5) Musette
(H) Harpe Eolienne
(V) Voix Humaine

(0) Forté (3) et (4)

There are no more inscriptions of autorship, but the serial No. 19799 is true, since I fond it not only on doubtful medallion, but on some internal wood parts too.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Dim 11 Déc 2011 - 12:53

You should have a look on the data base here :
http://reedorgan.info/

This really looks french, and the threadles, the kneelers could help you to identify the builder.
But this will be tedious... Some part lead me to think about a late Rodolphe, but nothing sure at all.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Lun 12 Déc 2011 - 15:10

Mathieu a écrit:
You should have a look on the data base here :
http://reedorgan.info/

This really looks french, and the threadles, the kneelers could help you to identify the builder.
But this will be tedious... Some part lead me to think about a late Rodolphe, but nothing sure at all.

Thank you!
Yes, you are right. Some Rodolphe instruments are quite close to my one. But some Debains too. Christophe & Etienne can also be regarded as "similar".

And nothing sure.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Lun 12 Déc 2011 - 15:53

Can the harmonium be signed somewhere else, not only on top place near the stops, keys, or on cover?

I meet my serial no. 19799 for several times, but never the name or other inscriptions inside. Also on the down of the last (highest) key is engraved "1+5+91". Can it be the date, or something else?

How many French harmonium-makers produced over 19000 instruments? Is it a normal number for average reed-organ-fabric?

The harmonium seems be complete. Many years ago it was bought by one of parish church in Lublin. Then they build a pipe organ and the harmonium was stored without any use in a storehouse. All internal felts and fabrics are destroyed by moth. Currently I undo it apart and try to clean and restore everything. I believe, that after such manipulations the harmonium will be playable.

There are some curious things. On the stops in jalousie is indicated "(0) Forté (3) et (4)", but in fact there are not only 3 and 4, but: Clairon, Eolien and Basson (bass) and Fifre, Harpe Eolienne, Musette and Hautbois (discant). Other sets of reeds are close to front.

I am curious about the stop which was cancelled long time ago. I don't know, if this is Expression, or Grand Jeu, or maybe percussion. I hope, I'll find it out.

Can somebody tell me something about the button situated between the knees? (on the photo below.) It's out of work and seems be under a layer of paint. Since I am only a novice, I have no experience with French harmoniums and especially with this button. Is it expression? If so, must it be pressed, or pulled? With any fixation, or without?

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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Lun 12 Déc 2011 - 17:49

In think there should have been a central kneeler there, as the two wood parts with flet would indicte. These kneelers are used for the Grand jeux : on the right, off, on the left, on. The piece is obviously missing. So this would mean the unnamed stop is the Expression.
Sometimes, the builders also has his name ont the chest, around reeds... but not all did this.

Good luck for the full restoration. Many tricks are given on the forum (for reeds cleaning, and so on...) but in french. So don't hesitate to ask for translations !
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Lun 12 Déc 2011 - 22:26

Mathieu a écrit:
In think there should have been a central kneeler there, as the two wood parts with flet would indicte. These kneelers are used for the Grand jeux : on the right, off, on the left, on. The piece is obviously missing. So this would mean the unnamed stop is the Expression.
Sometimes, the builders also has his name ont the chest, around reeds... but not all did this.

Good luck for the full restoration. Many tricks are given on the forum (for reeds cleaning, and so on...) but in french. So don't hesitate to ask for translations !

Thank you, Mathieu!

It's true, this knee-lever was for Grand Jeu. Now it's missing.

The missing stop was for Expression. I have no idea, why someone cancelled it.

Today I had the great day: I took full harmonium apart and saw the reeds.

How we should count the rows in harmonium?

I have following rows:

2 Bourdon/2 Clarinette
Contrebasse / Voix celeste
Melophone / Baryton
1 Cor Anglais / 1 Flute
4 Basson / 4 Hautbois
(no indication: Eolien, 1st rank) / Musette
(no indication: Eolien, 2nd rank) / Harpe Eolienne
3 Clairon / 3 Fifre

Is it mean, that the number of rows is 8? Or such half-ranks as Melophone / Baryton, or 2-ranks stops should be count in other way?

When I will instal the keyboard back, I will check exact stop combinations and "mixtures", such as "Violoncelle", VH, Jeu-doux etc. But finally there are more rows, than I expected before.


Few reeds in Fifre and Hautbois are lost (the holes are stuck with paper). How is possible to get the new (or used) reeds`? Sometimes there are offers on eBay etc., like "The full 4' row of reeds from old German harmonium". Is it good idea to buy such things? Are German reeds from FF-f''' harmoniums the same as French used in harmoniums C-c''''? Is it possible to use, for example, a reed from 4' row to put inside 8' Hautbois (one octave higher)? Or the mensures will be different?

Thank you for help Smile


Dernière édition par organist le Mar 13 Déc 2011 - 20:24, édité 1 fois
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Olivier Schmitt
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mar 13 Déc 2011 - 6:38

Be very careful, the reeds of German harmoniums (suction) and French harmoniums (pressure) are not compatible.
It would be preferable to see with a specialist who can supply you with adapted reeds (according to the dimension of reeds just before and just after those who miss), Louis Huivenaar for example (search his website with Google).
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organist



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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mar 13 Déc 2011 - 19:25

Olivier Schmitt a écrit:
Be very careful, the reeds of German harmoniums (suction) and French harmoniums (pressure) are not compatible.
It would be preferable to see with a specialist who can supply you with adapted reeds (according to the dimension of reeds just before and just after those who miss), Louis Huivenaar for example (search his website with Google).

OK Olivier, thank you!

Today I found horrible fissure through all harmonium. It's going through Baryton and Melophone chambers:




I will try to stick it with silicon and paper, but the problem is with plugs, wich must be tight and hermetic, so, paper layer must be very thin. I hope, I will not destroy it more.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mar 13 Déc 2011 - 19:44

Well, first of all : NO SILICONE !!!

Only use natural "animal" glues, such as bones glue, fish glue, etc. (not sure about the names translation in english...)
They are pellets you put in cold water, then later you heat it up softly, it melts (it stinks) and you can use it.
http://www.fine-tools.com/G10008.htm
More generally :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_glue
They are harmless for the wood and can always be cleaned with hot water.

And yet, I am not sure this crack is not too large to be filled with glue.
The positive point is that it's not right in the middle of the notes holes. So if there is no air leaks, I would tend to let it this way, waiting to have enough money for to give it to a specialist.
It seems there have been lots of water on this chest...

By the way, the labels remind me the Rodolphe instrument, and also the Rodolphe fils and Debain...

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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mer 14 Déc 2011 - 8:12

Mathieu a écrit:
Well, first of all : NO SILICONE !!!

Only use natural "animal" glues, such as bones glue, fish glue, etc. (not sure about the names translation in english...)
They are pellets you put in cold water, then later you heat it up softly, it melts (it stinks) and you can use it.
http://www.fine-tools.com/G10008.htm
More generally :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_glue
They are harmless for the wood and can always be cleaned with hot water.

And yet, I am not sure this crack is not too large to be filled with glue.
The positive point is that it's not right in the middle of the notes holes. So if there is no air leaks, I would tend to let it this way, waiting to have enough money for to give it to a specialist.
It seems there have been lots of water on this chest...

By the way, the labels remind me the Rodolphe instrument, and also the Rodolphe fils and Debain...


OK! Actually I didn't use silicon, but just put a layer of self-adhesive paper. It's not enough, I think, but better than nothing. And it can be removed without any loss.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mer 14 Déc 2011 - 8:40

Now I am sure for 100%, than my harmonium is an instrument made by Rodolphe Fils et Debain.
On http://rmcks.pagesperso-orange.fr/harmonium/rodolphe.htm I found lot of pictures of other harmonium no. 21550 (mine is 19799) with absolutely the same details, parts, colours, indications, mechanismes etc.

I think, the colour of my harmonium was changed once. Under the black paint I can see the "natural-wood" French-polishing, as on harmonium from the link above. Also the keyboard has no ivory, but plastic facing (btw, a lot of plastic pieces are dropped). So, I can imagine, that during this renovation original ceramic medallion was removed (damaged?) and replaced by metal one, with inaccurate inscription with mistakes in French (so, the renovation possibly was made out of France, maybe in Germany).
If the inscription "1+5+91" means the date (May 1st, 1891? or January 5th, 1891? What is French norm?), it means also, than the Lublin parish (founded only in 1933) could not to buy the harmonium as a new-made instrument. Probably, it was bought around 1933 as a used harmonium. The previous owner had big reason to make the new medallion with putting there word "Paris"! - then he could sell it more expensive!
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mer 14 Déc 2011 - 17:01

Today I found, that all reeds of my harmonium was made by Estéve.

Firstly I was curious, if the Estéve (instead of Rodolphe) was a harmonium-maker, but then I reed, that he made only the reeds. Did he cooperated with Rodolphe Fils et Debain? Was his reeds good?

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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mer 14 Déc 2011 - 17:22

Estève was a independent maker of reeds, who supplied many factors of harmoniums (Mustel for example). These reeds are of excellent quality, even if later, the work of harmonization and tunning is specific at every house (Mustel, Debain, Alexandre did not work in the same way identical reeds).
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Ven 16 Déc 2011 - 17:29

So, finally I finish work with upper part and small internal details. Now it's looking as a harmonium again Smile

But then there are other problems - with bellows and "dashboard". The quantity of air is very small, it's impossible to play on more then one stop. Btw, all the discant stops are playing in its low part only - nothing is playing in the highest octave. I don't think the problem is with reeds - surely with the pressure or maybe with the air-throughput.
BUT why the Baryton plays through all its scale? No one note is missing... and all 1, 2, 3, 4, Musette and VC are played very enigmatically, or not at all (in last octave).
The bass stops are playing quite good - except for buzzing of some reeds.

Some blunt problems - as pedal reparing, keys' facing, or knee lever reconstruction - will wait probably for better times.





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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Ven 16 Déc 2011 - 17:41

Finally I know exact specification of my harmonium:


(0) Forté (3) et (4)

(J) Jeu-doux [8’] (= Sourdine for (1) Cor Anglais [8’])
(V) Violoncelle [8’] (= (J) Jeu-doux [8’] + (4) Basson [8’])
(E) Eolien [4’ + 2’] [2 ranks]
(4) Basson [8’]
(3) Clairon [4’]
(2) Bourdon [16’]
(1) Cor Anglais [8’]

(C) Contrebasse [16’] + (2) Bourdon [16’]
(M) Mélophone [8’]
(E) Expression

(B) Baryton [32’]
(T) Trémolo (for (4) Hautbois [8’])
(C) Voix Céleste [16’] + (2) Clarinette [16’]
(1) Flûte [8’]
(2) Clarinette [16’]
(3) Fifre [4’]
(4) Hautbois [8’]
(5) Musette [16’]
(H) Harpe Eolienne [16’]
+ (5) Musette
(V) Voix Humaine (= (3) Fifre [4’] (with sourdine) + (4) Hautbois [8’] with other kind of tremolo)

(0) Forté (3) et (4)

Forté-expressif (b/d)

Grand Jeux (4, 3, 2, 1, C, M / B, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

NB. The real ranks of reeds are in bold.


Dernière édition par organist le Jeu 22 Déc 2011 - 15:52, édité 1 fois
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Ven 16 Déc 2011 - 17:50

Nice instrument, with some unusual features (such as the 4+2' Eolien).

The treble being mute are probably a wind problem. When you play with the expression drawn, do you hear leaks while pumping (gently !!) with no stop drawn ? and try the same with each stop, then.
Can you locate the problem ?
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Ven 16 Déc 2011 - 18:05

Mathieu a écrit:
Nice instrument, with some unusual features (such as the 4+2' Eolien).

The treble being mute are probably a wind problem. When you play with the expression drawn, do you hear leaks while pumping (gently !!) with no stop drawn ? and try the same with each stop, then.
Can you locate the problem ?

Yes, I literally feel the wind on my feet (from the pedal-niche). Not only with "Expression" - without too.

Can in be problem with bellows, or because of depressurized dashboard?

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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Ven 16 Déc 2011 - 18:14

Actually I cannot understand, what is the role of indicated flap? I understand, that the air comes from bottom (bellows --> reservoir / Expression --> dashboard --> reeds' chambers), if the stop is switched, and goes out through the reed, if the any key is pushed. So, what's happend with this flap?

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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Sam 17 Déc 2011 - 12:22

The flap auomatically evacuates the pressure when the stop is canceled. So that there is no residual speaking of the reeds once closed.
About the leaks, you have to locate them. It can be the purple waddings on the dashboard/stopvalve board that are too flat and let the pressure escape. This is generally suppressed by adding some goat leather strips under the dashboard (Olivier did it recently on his instrument, he can tell you about this).
But there is many other possibilities, you really have to check the origin precisely.
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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Mar 20 Déc 2011 - 8:19

Yesterday I pulled out the bellows and found there one big and some small holes. So, now I have to do a lot...

Mathieu, Bastien, Olivier, do you maybe know, what is the role of the turquoise paper covered the bellows? It also has a lot of losses, and I'm thinking, what can I use instead of this paper. Can it be the usual paper, or must it be something special, like a parchment, or paper impregnated with oil, or...?



Who knows what is this? This small piece of wood has a hole on its center, but I don't know, what should be inside and what is its function. Now is out of work, shall I try to restore it, or is better just leave it?

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MessageSujet: Re: Deboins ???   Aujourd'hui à 20:10

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