UK Auctioneer To Offer Unique 1920s Cinema Organ A unique 1920s Rutt cinema organ rescued from oblivion and professionally rebuilt is to be sold by Surrey, England, auctioneers Ewbank’s in a two-day Entertainment sale on December 3-4.
News-Antique.com - Nov 18,2015 - A unique 1920s Rutt cinema organ rescued from oblivion and professionally rebuilt is to be sold by Surrey, England, auctioneers Ewbank’s in a two-day sale of Entertainment memorabilia on December 3-4.
One of the most imposing objects Ewbank’s have ever offered, it will headline a two-day sale of music, sporting, film, TV and entertainment memorabilia on Thursday and Friday December 3-4. The Rutt electric ‘Organestra’ built by R. Spurden Rutt & Co in 1927, is expected to fetch £20,000-40,000.
One of only three electric cinema organs built at the Rutt works in Leyton, London, it is the only survivor in original condition, the other two having been combined during restoration to make a single instrument now in St Albans Organ Museum.
It was installed in the Super Kinema in Walton Street, Oxford, now the Phoenix Piciturehouse owned by Cineworld, in the era prior to ‘talking pictures’ but fell into disuse after only two years and was mothballed in about 1937. The small organ chamber containing pipes, and the mechanical drums, cymbals, xylophone, steamboat whistle, glockenspiel and chimes was sealed and the console at which the organist sits was boxed and stored beneath the stage.
It was removed in 1962 and subsequently acquired by Peter Webb, 67, a Guildford contract caterer, who collects antique mechanical music machines. He installed it in a restored barn at his home. At the time Mr Webb provided the catering for Guildford Cathedral. Specialists from a company of organ restorers were working there and he arranged to give them board and lodging in return for their expertise and, in their own time in the evenings, they restored the Organestra to working order.
Mr Webb, who does not play himself, also fitted switchable electronics so that the instrument plays automatically and in the 25 years he has owned it, it has delighted guests to private functions and charitable events that have raised thousand of pounds for good causes.
“The organ has given me and my visitors enormous pleasure over the 25 years I have owned it,” Mr Webb said, “but it is time for someone else to have the privilege. We are hosting fewer events than before and the instrument is one that needs to be played. If it is not used, it goes out of tune and it deserves to be heard more than at present.
“Cinema organs produce a unique sound and I know Ewbank’s will find a new owner for it to treasure as much as I have.”
Viewing the organ prior to the sale is by arrangement only and assistance in dismantling it will be given to the buyer by the current owner.
A number of other grand survivors from 1930s cinemas will also be offered in the sale on behalf of other owners. Most imposing is a large metal and glass architectural feature with a central amber glass section depicting an Art Deco fountain, removed from the foyer and box office area of the Leyton Baths, London. It is estimated at £350-450.