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Jack Vance ‘Rescues’ Old Pump Organs


“Some people rescue puppies; he rescues pump organs,” says Marshia Vance of her husband, Jack, who has rescued, restored and repurposed more than a dozen of the antiques into functional desks.

Jack took up an interest in woodworking during his high school days in Mountain View. The interest simmered until he completed more than 28 years of military service and then retired from a civilian career. The Vances still lived in the Washington, D.C., area when Jack began noticing ads for the old organs that were free to whoever would come get them. He was unable to resist the quality wood and craftsmanship of the pieces, many of which are made of South American rosewood, American walnut and oak.

He is able to disassemble the organs and reconstruct the pieces so that there is a desk surface. On some models, this requires another piece of wood such as the drop-leaf from an old table that is no longer functional. It was Marshia’s idea to relocate the keys – most made from ivory – as a decorative feature.

Read the complete article and see all photos in the Oct. 19, 2016 issue of the Stone County Leader.

Comments (1)

  • Jack Vance

    Thanks Lori Freeze for your excellent news article covering the subject of rescuing this great American manufactured antique pump organs and melodeons. Hopefully, the story will help promote other craft persons to join in the effort to save these wonderful antique pieces by making them functionally useful for future generations to admire in their homes and businesses.


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