This is the restored console of the Robert Morton Organ originally installed in the Loew’s Kings Theatre in 1929. The design is one of the flagship models of the company, which collectively became known as the Wonder Mortons, because they were all installed in the five Loew’s “Wonder Theatres” built in the New York City area toward the end of the 1920s. The striking decoration and design of this console is not unique to this particular instrument, but it is a consistent feature of the Wonder Mortons.
The Robert Morton Company was the second-largest producer of theatre pipe organs in the United States. Although their larger instruments have not fared well over the years, many fine examples still exist. In a relationship similar to that of the Fox Theatres and the Wurlitzer Company, the Robert Morton Company provided pipe organs to both the Pantages and Loew’s theatre chains, therefore when the Loew’s Company set about creating the biggest and best theatres in their system, they asked the Robert Morton Company to create the biggest and best organs for these theatres.
The prototype of the Wonder Mortons is housed in the Sanger Theatre in New Orleans; currently dormant and awaiting restoration after the damages done by Hurricane Katrina. The first Robert Morton organ to boast the fence design that decorates the top of the Wonder Mortons is stilled housed in the Providence Performing Arts Center — formerly the Loew’s State Theatre — in Providence, Rhode Island.
It is noteworthy that this instrument is simply the console of the pipe organ. The pipes, bellows and airway infrastructure of the organ have been dismantled and removed, or have fallen victim to the damage that the Kings Theatre suffered due to leaking, while sitting vacant and neglected through the end of the last century.
Photographed in the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.
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