The Center Theater Console

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The Center console, as we received it, before sending it out for refurbishing. This is NorCal's second console. it is from the Center Theatre, which was part of the Radio City Complex in New York. This picture was take while the console was at Berkeley before it was sent out for enlargement and refinishing.  The quarter rails will be extended and the top stop rail will be filled in all the way across. This will give us a total of 364 stop tabs. Some pistons will be added.  Note the 10 pistons above the top manual. These were all General. You can imagine the size of the setter boards. This is, and will remain, a pneumatic console. Note the light color of the console. 


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One of our promotional shots of the the refinished console. Note the lovely rosewood finish and the 364 stop tabs. 

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The Center console on stage after we got it back from Ken Crome's shop. 

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A closer view of the horseshoe and key desk. The pullouts on either side of the console were specially designed and built to follow the lines of the console. The right pullout contains the Uniflex computer controls, the diaphone blower and piano pump switches, and a few other miscellaneous functions which are not generally used while playing. The left pullout has the lift controls, the transposer controls, sound effects, and 10 additional pistons. There are a few novelty controls here, but almost all the normal organ controls are now on stop tabs. 

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Ken Crome has arrived at the Berkeley Community Theatre with our new console. 

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The new console is on the stage and we are putting it onto the special dolly which we built for it. 

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The Center console on its new dolly with the Toledo console in the background. 

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Looking down at the Center console. 

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The two main rails can be raised up for maintenance. The top has also been lifted off. 

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Bill Schlotter and Kevin King make some adjustments to the new console. 

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The quarter rails on each side can be removed for servicing. This also allows access to the bottom of the lower main rail and the inside of the front portion of the console. The wiring was left long enough to allow the quarter rails to be placed out of harms way when working on the key desk or main rails. The odd flat piece with the holes in it on the left of the quarter rail is a manifold. Note all the tin tubing going from the quarter rail to the manifold. There are two tubes for each stop tab, one for ON and one for OFF. Inside the console there is a mate to the manifold. The two connect together and more tin tubing runs from the mate to the action boxes at the rear of the console. 

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The console in the scene shop off the stage. The top is off, the main rails have been raised, the quarter rails are out, and the key desk has been pulled out. Note that the Name Board above the top keyboard is attached to the keyboards. This can be removed for servicing. The four keyboards are all hinged together so that you can raise any one of them up to give you access to the key contacts on the bottom of each key and the piston action at the front of each keyboard. 

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This is the back of the console. There are 5 horizontal action boxes which you can see. There are also two small action boxes mounted in front of these. There are two magnets, two actions, and two tin tubes for each of the 364 stops; one for ON and one for OFF. You can see some of the tin tubing between the action boxes. On the lower left there is a door open which has the computer boards used by the relay. The bundles of wire have been run to temporary spreaders. At the time this photo was taken, the wires had not yet been connected to the boards. 

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Kurt Wood (on the left) was in charge of wiring the console. He is assisted, here, by Chris Nichols. When Ken Crome refurbished/enlarged the console he wired it, but NorCal had him run the wires to temporary spreaders at the back of the console.  Kurt laced all the wires and connected them to the computer boards for us.  There are two output wires for each stop tab (one for ON and one for OFF). There is an output wire for each of the lights in the push buttons in left and right pullouts.  There is one input wire for each stop, each piston and each key. There are 40 double touch thumb pistons (2 wires each), 39 single touch thumb pistons, 16 toe studs, 8 single touch piano pedals, 4 double touch piano pedals, and 1 thunder pedal with 20 contacts. There are 4 keyboards, 2 of which have second touch giving 61 x 6 = 366 wires and there are 32 pedals.