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2002/69/1 Chordette electro-mechanical organ, timber / plastic / metal / fabric, designed and made by Excelsior, USA / Italy, [1955-1965]. Click to enlarge.

Chordette organ design by Excelsior

Designed
The Excelsior Chordette illustrates a different development of the usual keyboard organ. Largely known as a leading maker of accordions, Excelsior adapted their technology to create a keyboard instrument more along the lines of an electric organ. However, rather than producing electric sounds it still uses the reed mechanism of an accordion but uses an electric motor to pump a bellows to blow air through the reeds to produce the sound. The Chordette also has the capability of playing chords of …

Summary

Object No.

2002/69/1

Object Statement

Chordette electro-mechanical organ, timber / plastic / metal / fabric, designed and made by Excelsior, USA / Italy, [1955-1965]

Physical Description

Chordette electro-mechanical organ, timber / plastic / metal / fabric, designed and made by Excelsior, USA / Italy, [1955-1965]

Chordette electro-mechanical organ featuring rectangular timber case supported on four legs. Hinged lid can be lifted to reveal a four octave keyboard with plastic keys. To the left of this is a button control panel that allows major, minor, seventh and diminished chords to be played in any key. A removable black plastic panel can be placed on top of these buttons to simplify the layout and only show major and minor chords. This indicates ten keys written as a cycle of fifths from A flat through to B that can be played and is headed 'Magic Mask' at the top and 'By Excelsior' below. Above this is an on/off toggle switch. Above the switch is a row of five larger buttons that enable the instruments tone to be changed. The buttons from left to right read Oboe, Melodeon, Master, Clarinet and Bassoon. These are all black plastic apart from the master button which is white. The front is a lattice work design with gold cloth backing. It is badged with the product and makers names. A bellows inside the instrument is electrically operated and blows air through free metal reeds similar to those in an accordion or mouth organ. An electrical cord runs from underneath the organ. A pedal is separate from the organ.

Marks

Badge on front of organ, in gold 'CHORDETTE / by EXCELSIOR'

Dimensions

Height

870 mm

Width

880 mm

Depth

355 mm

Production

Notes

The organ was designed by Excelsior. The organ was made by Excelsior, USA and Italy between the date 1955 and 1965.

History

Notes

The organ was given to the donor by a family friend who used to play the instrument for singalongs at parties. The family friend was a merchant seaman and cook and may have got the instrument whilst travelling overseas.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Asha Mazzella and Val and Wal Shears, 2002

Acquisition Date

9 July 2002

Cite this Object

Harvard

Chordette organ design by Excelsior 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 December 2021, <https://ma.as/11550>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/11550 |title=Chordette organ design by Excelsior |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}