To start with, I purchased an old Conn organ from a local music dealer for $300, delivery included. At home, we set up the Conn organ in the spare bedroom. I then proceeded to tear out all the old tubes and magnets, leaving only the keyboards, the pedalboard and the empty wooden frame of the console.

 

The first organ I ever played, age 12, was a Conn.  It seemed like the universe coming full circle to be working again on a Conn.  I did some research into the Conn organ company, and was particularly struck by photos of their factory, where women wound magnets, wired keyboards and installed tubes and speakers.  Most of the workers in the Conn factory in the early 1950s were women.  I was very aware as I worked that I was un-doing the work of women; I felt a sense of re-purposing their work.  Ultimately, I took nearly 200 lbs. of scrap metal to the dump, removing everything except the bare wood shell of the console.

 

Initially I had intended to rebuild the console myself, but as I read about wiring and midi connections and such, I realized that my DIY dream was not realistic. I'm not that interested in electronics and the nitty-gritty of every little wire that holds the organ together. I just want to make music. It became obvious I needed to find a more ready-made solution.