Balcom and Vaughan

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Balcom and Vaughan Pipe Organ, Inc. was a builder of pipe organs based in Seattle until the early 1980s. The company was originally started in 1921 by C.M. "Sandy" Balcom, and Leroy "Pop" Vaughan both previously working for the Sherman, Clay & Co. At the end of the silent film era Balcom and Vaughan began to focus more on building or altering church instruments. Instruments bearing Sandy's design influence were often smaller unit organs, even those of three manuals. It would not be unusual for them to contain a certain quantity of old pipe work or components from other redundant or altered instruments. As changes in taste began to lean more towards European inspired designs, Eugene "Gene" Nye was influential in inclining Balcom & Vaughan instruments of the 1960s towards that end. Some even possessing Dutch nomenclature at the console.

The return of William J. Bunch to Balcom and Vaughan after a period of time working for the Aeolian Skinner firm (1956-1966) as the Vice-President of production marked a zenith for the company. He took over the company when Sandy retired in 1966. Instruments from this period noted a certain classical style and a particular basic design, often with a complete chorus on the great, and frequently a bright unit reed (Hautbois). Metal pipe work and reeds were frequently sourced from the Jacques Stinkens firm of Zeist, Holland, or when the exchange rate not as favorable to the U.S. Dollar, to Thomas Anderson, also a former worker in the pipe shop of Aeolian Skinner. Later instruments might even contain pipework by A.R. Schopps Sons of Alliance, OH.

Upon the retirement of Bill Bunch, the company changed hands to John K. Moir. The company eventually closed down its Seattle shop when the lease was not renewed and the building located in the Greenlake neighborhood returned to the small theater (Meridian Theater Bldg.) it had once been. Tooling was also sold off and many long time employees did not remain on staff or retired when the remnants of the operation were moved to the Everett home of Moir.

Organs Built by Balcom and Vaughan[edit]

  • Opus 113 - St. Mary the Assumption Roman Catholic Church, Whittier, CA

External links[edit]