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Some background information about
Pipe Organs and Peterson


To those in the know, Peterson is a word that describes how pipe organs make music via electronic controls. By applying solid state electronics to pipe organs, Richard Peterson, who founded Peterson Electro-Musical Products in 1948, was actually continuing a tradition that dates back to antiquity.

Since ancient times there have been pipe organs and people who endeavor to make them play better using the technology of their time. Through the ages, devotees of the pipe organ have continually sought new ways to control the wind which powers the music from this magnificent instrument.

Legend has it that the pipe organ's precursor was invented by a barber whose machine could simulate the sounds made when air was pushed out of tubes used in the barber tools of ancient times. Others came along to elaborate this musical machine into the Hydraulus, an instrument made with rows of pipes that sounded individual notes when activated by water power used to steady the wind. Archimedes, the ancient Greek mathematician and inventor, was known in his time as the one who perfected the Hydraulus using the principles of fluid mechanics he developed, in part, for that purpose, and which are studied to this day.

Like Archimedes, Peterson sought ways to give the organist new powers to control the traditional pipe organ and play the full range of sounds possible with this king of instruments. He pioneered the successful application of solid state switches to pipe organs, giving authentic pipe organs the same technological advantages that others were using to guide rockets. Peterson recognized that space age transistors applied to the cherished pipe organ would give the organist the control advantages of modern technology without compromising the full and rich sounds of authentic pipe-generated music.

For half a century, Peterson Electro-Musical Products has found new ways to control the panorama of sounds from the traditional pipe organ. From the first solid state switching system came thousands more, to give today's organist the full range of electronic controls that are simply nicknamed Peterson. This now includes bringing the power of the computer age to the modern organist with MIDI innovations custom-designed for the pipe organ.

More dollars are spent by Peterson Electro-Musical Products, Inc. to innovate modern mechanisms for the pipe organ than by any other company in the world. Many devotees of the pipe organ say that Peterson's work will enable 21st Century churches to preserve the rich music of worship that has prevailed through the ages.

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Peterson Electro Musical Products, Inc.

Peterson Tuners


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