George Fowler has been making mixtures for over 50 years – and as these pictures show, he’s rather good at it.
He began making separate ranks when he was an apprentice at FJ Rogers in Bramley, Leeds, and progressed to making multiple ranks for an entire stop 40 or so years ago.
At present he is making a VI rank mixture, above, for an organ builder in America – that’s 335 pipes in total (and 670 pieces to solder) – made from 80 per cent tin.
Shortly before starting work on the VI rank mixture, George completed a IV rank mixture. He reckons the total time from cutting out the metal to completion of 560 pipes for both stops is about 240 hours.
A meticulous worker who takes pride in each pipe, he says the secrets of good pipe making are patience and dedication. “The important thing is to set it off right, to get the job right from the beginning. Preparation is key.”
And at 71, there are plenty more pipes to make and seams to solder. “I still enjoy my work, it keeps me going,” he says.
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