In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

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At almost any single period during the years 1970-1985 there were over 45 brands of new electronic organs on the UK market: Between them they managed to produce, 183 models under £1000, 137 models between £1000 & £2000 and 201 models over £2000+

In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

Postby Mike Bracchi » 21 Oct 2013 21:51

As the inventor of the Hammond organ, Laurens Hammond stands as one of the great contributors to the electronic music industry. His route to the invention of the Hammond organ was a long and twisted one, however.

After receiving much of his early education in Europe, where his family moved in 1898, Hammond graduated from Cornell University in 1916 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation he took work with the McCord Radiator Company in Detroit, Michigan, but his career was interrupted by World War I.
After serving in the U.S army in France, Laurens invented a tick-less clock by encasing the motor in a sound-proof box.

Enamoured with inventing, Hammond, who had been working as an engineer for a Detroit automobile company, left his job and moved to New York City to devote his energies full-time to the tick-less clock and other inventions.
During this phase of his career Hammond made another important invention, a synchronous motor designed to revolve in phase with a 60-cycle electric alternating current, which was becoming standard at the time.

By placing this motor within his tick-less clock, Hammond was able to invent a soundless electric clock in 1928. This lead to the founding of the Hammond Clock Company the same year.

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By placing this motor within his tick-less clock, Hammond was able to invent a soundless electric clock in 1928.

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    Instructions and serial number tag from the back of a Hammond Clock.

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    Professor T.C. Pfeiler.
    Austria's first international Hammond B3 Jazz-organist and composer of more than 2,800 tunes sitting at his Hammond B3 whilst holding a Hammond Clock.

Initially, business was booming for Hammond, but the Great Depression soon changed that. Searching for new uses for his synchronous motor, Hammond hit upon the electric organ as a potentially suitable instrument for his motor, and testing of the first prototype of the Hammond organ began in 1933.

He won patent approval soon after, on 24 April 1934. The first order for the Hammond Organ came almost immediately from engineers working for Henry Ford, who had been charged with the task of looking into the manufacture of electric organs for the famous industrialist. On 7 February 1934, Ford purchased six organs. Hammond changed the name of his company to the Hammond Instrument Company in 1937 to reflect the importance of this new invention.

Hammond later developed the less expensive chord organ in 1950, designed for people who had never used a keyboard before, opening up a vast market.
In 1953, the Hammond Instrument Company became the Hammond Organ Company, further demonstrating the predominance of the sales of Hammond’s organs rather than the electric clock he invented earlier.

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    Laurens Hammond with his wife Roxana.
    Meung-sur-Loire, 1970.

After retiring in 1960, Hammond spent the remainder of his life in his many homes, both in the United States and abroad.

A rare specimen certificate from the Hammond Clock Company printed in 1928. This historic document was printed by Northern Bank Note Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President, Laurens Hammond and Secretary and is over 79 years old.

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    Certificate from the Hammond Clock Company printed in 1928.

About Specimens

Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".

Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates we made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.

These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000.




1937 Hammond Concert E

And finally: the attached photographic collage is made up of pictures of my old 1937 Hammond Concert E, yes, I was lucky enough to own this superb and historic instrument for a couple of years 8)

Why Historic I hear you ask ... well, it is for a number of reasons but for now we'll just concentrate on one ... it was the organ that was installed into Canterbury Cathedral in 1939* whilst the cathedral's 1886 Henry Willis pipe organ was being renovated around the time WW2 broke out.
It remained in the cathedral until it was sold back to Boosey & Hawkes in 1954. (see photo of plaque).

At some point after that the Concert E was acquired by the 'Williams' family for their daughter Carol who spent many hours practising whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music ... Carol Williams became a Fellow of The Royal College of Organists (FRCO), gained a doctorate in Musical Arts, and today, she serves as the Civic Organist for the city of San Diego, California, performing regularly at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

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    Dr. Carol Williams

Just recently I sent Carol a photo of the Hammond via Facebook and she had this to say about it ....

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The reason I have included this little piece on the Concert E was to show you that the early Hammond Organs actually bare the original Hammond Clock Company name & serial number plate (see photo).

I eventually sold the Hammond to a fella in Germany who was building a Hammond collection and I believe it has been restored to it's former beauty and condition.

Click on image to view full size ....
collageconcertE.jpg


That's all for now folks .... although I do have more to post on the subject of Hammond's clocks :D

Mike.


* This will be the subject of another topic soon :wink:
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Re: In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

Postby Mike Bracchi » 18 Nov 2013 22:10

What a glorious room this is .... some lovely historic Hammond products, and the music is half bad as well :wink:

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Re: In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

Postby tomtomsf » 19 Nov 2013 01:09

Wow! What an interesting post, Mike!
I know you love organs and history but this story is really something.
Thanks for sharing it.

Tom G.
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Re: In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

Postby jackoj » 19 Nov 2013 07:59

Hi Mike,
Thanks for another fine video of the Hammond past, really enjoyed it. ATB. jackoj. 8) 8) :) :)
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Re: In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

Postby Mike Bracchi » 20 Nov 2013 01:32

Hiya Tom, John :D

I'm pleased that you found my post interesting, makes it all worthwhile :D
My old Hammond Concert E is going to be the topic of another thread shortly ... you may find that post interesting also :D

Thanks for taking a moment to read it :wink:

Mike
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Re: In The Beginning: The Hammond Clock Company

Postby Mike Bracchi » 17 Apr 2014 07:40

1930s Hammond Clock Advertising

Please allow a moment for the document to load fully ....
Best viewed by clicking on Image in the top right hand corner of the pdf viewer.
Note:If you should get a 'file taking too long to find' warning in the viewer, just click on 'here' contained within the message ... sometimes it needs a little 'nudge' to open :lol:




Last bumped by Mike Bracchi on 17 Apr 2014 07:40.
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