John Speller's Web Pages Debierre Polyphone

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Advertisement for the Louis Debierre "Polyphone" portable model organs, c. 1900
Louis François Debierre (1842-1920)
Louis François Debierre (1842-1920) was the son of a Nantes cabinetmaker. He apprenticed in Paris before returning to Nantes and setting up his own business. While he built some fine three-maual instruments of around 50 stops, he is best known for his portable organs, which he began making in 1871, applying for a patent for his system on 23 November 1872, which was issued in 1873. He was able to make his instruments even more compact by the use of polyphonic pipes, for which he applied for a patent on 18 August 1882. He also obtained a patent for electro-pneumatic action in 1888. Following a career in which he built more than 600 organs, Debierre retired in 1919 and sold his business to Georges Gloton. In 1947 Gloton was in turn succeeded by Debierre’s grandson, Joseph-Beuchet Debierre, who ran the firm until its closure in 1980. Among other things Joseph-Beuchet Debierre was responsible for rebuilding Messiaen’s organ at the Église de la Trinité in Paris. Videos of the 1913 Debierre organ in Saint-Hilaire de Poitiers may be seen here and here.

There were three models, all of which were fitted with a knee swell and a transposing mechanism.

MODEL 1

appears to be represented by St. Peter Roman Catholic Church, Bordelonville, Louisiana and by Saint-Patrice, Bayeux

Basses:

8' Bourdon
4' Flûte

Dessus:

16' Quintaton (or Bourdon)
8' Diapason
8' Bourdon
8' Violoncello
4' Flûte

The Bordelonville organ is currenly (2014) under restoration in Fort Worth, Texas, by Roy Redman



MODEL 2

appears to be represented by Saint-German de Rennes and by Saint-Hilaire de Poitiers (1913)

Basses:

16' Bourdon (C-B 51/3’)
8' Bourdon
8' Violoncelle
4' Flûte

Dessus:

16' Bourdon
8' Flûte Harmonique
8' Violoncelle
4' Flûte



MODEL 3

appears to be represented by Saint-Tudin de Landujan (1908) and Saint-Remi de Lassy

Basses:

8' Violoncelle
8' Bourdon
4' Flûte octaviante
8' Clariton

Dessus:

16' Bourdon
8' Voix céleste (or Salicional)
8' Violoncelle
8' Flûte harmonique
4' Flûte octaviante
8' Clariton

The stop marked “Clariton” at Lassy is currently a 3-rank Plein-jeu, but may originally have been a reed.

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