About the Pump Organ…

After I posted the update to my pump organ with the new antique pie safe on top, I had blog readers asking about my pump organ. I promised to tell a little more about it.

Before I got the post written another blog reader reminded me that I had already told you about my pump organ in a post way back from 2014. I decided I would republish that post here. I had completely forgotten that I had written it.

Here is that “Ask Jo” post from 2014…

Every so often I share questions and comments from blog reader.  Today I am answering a question from  Linda, “ON YOUR BLOG THIS MORNING I NOTICED YOU HAVE A PUMP ORGAN IN BACKGROUND. WHAT KIND OF TOP DOES IT HAVE ON IT? I HAVE ONE THAT HAS BEEN IN FAMILY FOR SEVERAL YEARS. I DON’T EVER REMEMBER A TOP BUT THERE IS A LITTLE DISCOLOR AND THINK THERE MAY HAVE BEEN ONE YEARS AGO. I WENT ON CHRISTMAS HOME TOUR 6 OR 7 YEARS AGO AND THEY HAD ONE WITH A DOME LOOKING TOP. FIRST ONE I HAVE SEEN WITH TOP  ON IT”

Linda had seen this picture.

SMM

Yes..that is a pump organ in the back and that pump organ has a story.

It is my Grandma Johnson’s.

PumpOrgan-1

Right now it is due for a good dose of lemon oil.  Anyway…My grandma had long been dead by time I came around.  Grandpa had sold the farm to my Dad remarried and moved to town.  Even Grandpa had died before I was born.  I never got a sense of Grandpa and Grandma Johnson’s house and have no idea of how they decorated or what they had for furniture.  I’m really sorry I missed them.

Anyway, even though this organ was Grandma’s I had no idea of it’s existence.  My aunt Esther got it at some point.

PumpOrgan-2

From there, her son John got it.  John and his wife Katha got it from her.  They decided they didn’t want it anymore and knew their boys weren’t interested in it so they gave it to my sister Judy.

I first learned of the organ when it came to Judy’s house.  I was told it was my Grandma Johnson’s and it was purchased for her use.  There’s a story about getting it from a bar in Parkersburg, Iowa or something like that.

PumpOrgan-3

When we were cleaning out my Dad’s house after he passed away my sister was so sad.  My Mom and Dad had a Hammond organ.  Mom played.  Judy took lessons on it and liked to play too.  Me…not really.  Anyway Judy wished we wouldn’t have to give the organ away to Goodwill.  She wanted it.  None of the rest of us wanted it.  Judy lamented that if only she didn’t have the old pump organ, she would have room for Mom and Dad’s Hammond organ.

Well I quickly jumped in and said I could take the pump organ and she could have the Hammond…and so the deal was struck.

PumpOrgan-4

I have the pump organ that was our grandparents and Judy has the Hammond that was our parents.  It worked out rather well.

The organ as you see doesn’t have a top piece like some do.  I’d love to find one and add it.  There are plugs in the back on the top that indicate that a top with shelving could be added.  I watch on auctions, flea markets, and antique places for a top but so far, none have come my way.  If I never find one, that’s okay too.  I’m just happy to have a little slice of my grandparents.  Sometimes when a person doesn’t have a memory of someone, an article is what they can settle with.

Sadly, it doesn’t get played unless some curious 8-14-year-old is here and dabbles.

I am really happy that the organ has come to rest at my home.  I do hope that one of the kids will be the caretaker of it once I am gone and they too can hold a little something that was once my grandma’s.

Back to 2023…there are no longer 8-14-year-olds that play the pump organ…now it’s the grandkids. They all just love playing. I bet my Grandma would never be able to imagine all the places and homes her organ has lived. I actually enjoy hearing the grandchildren playing away on it even though what they are playing never really sounds good. It’s just a bunch of mish-mashed notes.

…and that’s the pump organ story.

11 thoughts on “About the Pump Organ…”

  1. Oh I love your story. You are so right about having a piece of family especially if you never knew them. I knew my grandparents but am still so happy that I have their oak drop-leaf table. I love it!

  2. Love your pump organ. Didn’t know they were made that short until you shared the picture. My inherited pump organ is at least 6 feet tall and I love it. Glad your grands enjoy playing.

  3. I’m glad you ended up with the family pump organ, and the top you added is perfect. I’m sure you appreciated the handles on the sides for ease in moving. My grandmother had one I enjoyed as a child; some time after her passing her only son gave it to a hired man who was going to cut it up to make it into a desk! I still swoon whenever I see an old pump organ.

  4. Stephani in N. TX

    Love your pie shelf on top of your grandparent’s pump organ. I can no longer add furniture to my house. I moved just at the start of Covid to a slightly smaller place and no one would pick up pieces of furniture for quite a while. My husband and I shopped in the past for a few pieces of old oak furniture and he spiffed them up till they looked like old-but-new. I love watching you add such warm pieces to your traditional home with your lovely quilts and cross-stitch.

  5. I have many mementos of my ancestors and no one to pass them on to. Does anyone know what to do with memorabilia like beautiful old doilies and souvenirs from a foreign missionary and antique china if a person has no children? It breaks my heart to think these things that beloneds to people no one but me remembers will end up in a landfill.

  6. Judith Fairchild

    Having something from grandparents is a link in your history. You connect even when you didn’t know them. I’ve mentioned it before my grandma made a Texas star quilt for 38 of her 39 grand children. So we connected to her.

  7. Love your pump organ Jo, haven’t seen one for years. The church I was brought up in had one short like this but not so beautifully decorated, the organist was great, and many of us learned to play. As much exercise as a treadle machine!
    These pictures have brought back so many memories.
    Lovely family story.

  8. Jo I have a floor lamp that was my mom’s parents. I just replace the shade for the second time. Twenty years or so ago I had it restored so all the wiring was new. I love it. I also have a quilt that was my grandparents for their wedding made by great grandma.
    On my husband’s side I got a buffet that was made in Rockford, Illinois. I just love it. I also have several quilts that were made by members of his family. Cherished!
    HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. AND TO ALL WHO READ THIS BLOG

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