R.F. Stevens (1853-1978)

stevens_name_early.jpg stevens_name2.jpg stevens_name3.jpg stevens_name.jpg renovated_by_name.jpg

R.F. Stevens remained in business a relatively long time and built quite a large variety of instruments, both harmoniums and reed organs. Some may argue that they were not all to the best taste or quality. The database of British organ builders lists one F.C. Stevens of 7 Green Street, Cambridge Heath as a reed organ builder from 1900-12 and R.F. Stevens as an organ builder who retired in 1910 - they were probably not related.

Richard Franklin Stevens, who founded the firm, was listed in the 1891 census as being born in 1843. [There is probably some error in the dates.] Richard's wife was Emma (b.1850) and they lived with son Robert and daughters Ethel, Mabel and Hilder [sic] at 25 Campdale Road, Islington. All were born in the St. Pancras district.


The firm of R.F. Stevens changed location several times starting at 170 Drummond Street, Euston Square, London in 1878 (with a steam powered works), then 180 Drummond Street in 1887 with a showroom at 343 Euston Road, then 42b Hampstead Road in 1896, 82a Leighton Road, Kentish Town, London NW5 in 1906-11. They moved in 1929 to Royal Mail Yard, Kelly Street, Kentish Town NW1 then to 9-11 Leighton Place, Kentish Town in 1951 until they ceased production. As well as making full organs, both pressure and suction types, they did renovation work and sold reed pans and bellows for amateurs or other builders. They also made transposing keyboards.

The following photograph shows the Leighton Place premises in 2013 from ©Sébastien Ardouin.


170-180 Drummond Street have been re-developed.

The company was finally wound up in voluntary liquidation on 28/11/1978. This information was found by Mark Jefford in the Archives of the London Gazette at The decision was made at an extraordinary general meeting of the company held at 2 Broad Street Place, London EC2M 7EP, the offices of H.C. Trey and Co., solicitors acting as the liquidator, at which the Chairman was C.H. Foster. The accounts were audited and decision confirmed in a second meeting on 27/7/1979. All assets belonging to the company had been ``disposed of''.

Today Shafer House, which is a student residence for University College London, occupies the place of 168-182 Drummond Street and there are commercial premises up to number 192 which is the end of Drummond Street. These were probably built in the 1970s. 343 Euston Road is nearby.

The last organ was built in 1966, but the firm continued to do restoration work. They had formerly employed up to 50 people at any one time. A number of the tools from Stevens' workshop have been inherited by Phil Fluke who is an active restorer in Shipley, W. Yorkshire. Phil, originally from London, was taught and inspired by Charlie Foster who was the last director of Stevens. Charles H. Foster died suddenly on 23/2/1986 at the age of 78. The Flukes published a comprehensive article with the full history of Stevens and the many models of reed organ they produced in ROS Bulletin, August 1990 [72]. Phil told me that Charles was the last remaining reed organ builder in London.

Stevens had closed down only a few years before Charlie Foster died. We have information to suggest that Charlie had asked W.N. Blakey to take over all the lists and catalogues of reed organs of the firm and other records they owned of their suppliers. This included Stevens' full production records and even the brass company plaque from the outside of the workshop. Neville Blakey also took on the remaining stock of reeds and other parts, although the demand for them at that time was very limited. He asked Phil Fluke to take over the large stock of advertising material for reed organs that they had which is now offered for sale at the Saltaire museum as agreed. Some of the pictures shown in this chapter are taken from these cards and sheets.

Harmoniums by Stevens were exhibited at the International Exhibition in 1872. They made a large number of folding organs for a variety of uses, including for ships. They had identified the need for small instruments, including in 1905 a 5-octave harmonium to be placed under a piano keyboard so that the two could be played at the same time. There were a number of other similar devices by British makers including Humphreys for use in accompaniment of silent films. Stevens latterly also made new 2MP instruments fitted with electric blowers and also carried out repairs.

In 1873 they were advertising as follows.

         Harmoniums as Exhibited at the Exhibition in 1872
           Harmonium Manufacturer of first quality only.
Pedal Harmoniums made to order, suitable for organists' practice with
independent reeds. Charges exceedingly moderate. Trade
supplied. Price list and designs sent post free - Apply at the
MANUFACTURY, 18, Windmill Street, Tottenham Court Road, London W.

In 1934:

               R.F.STEVENS, Ltd. Telephone: Gulliver 2745
                        REED ORGAN BUILDERS
                     Organ Works: KELLY STREET,
                           KENTISH TOWN,
                           LONDON N.W.1
           Students Pedal Organ, Two Manuals and Pedals,
R.C.O. Pedal Board, complete with electric blower to suire any current
           Cash Price ... 95 Guineas ... Established 1853

By the way, if you use an Internet search engine to look for ``Stevens Harmonium'' you will get a lot of hits. However most will be to the poetic works of American Wallace Stevens who published his first collection at the agea of 45 in 1923. They are not in the public domain, but more information is given on Wikipedia:

It has to be said, at least in my opinion, that many Stevens' reed organs are extremely ugly. I have yet to play a later made one to assess the quality of the construction and tone. As noted below however I think their earlier harmoniums were innovative and good.

I was a student at Royal Holloway College, University of London from 1976-79. I had planned to study Music and Physics as a joint honours degree, but eventually just did Physics. There was an active group of musicians at RHC and we could still practice organ and piano. There was a nice Victorian pipe organ by J.W. Walker in the Chapel of the Founders' Building which the philanthropist Thomas Holloway had commissioned from architect William Henry Crossland after the style of Château de Chambord in the Loire valley in France and payed for with profits from his pill making business. There was also a small 1M harmonium with 1 set of reeds by Stevens. There is an entry in the Guiness Book of Records which probably relates to this innocuous looking instrument The longest recorded non-stop harmonium marathon is 72 hours by Iain Stinson and John Whiteley, both of Royal Holloway College at Englefield Green, Surrey on 6-9/2/1970.


Some serial numbers of known instruments are as follows:

TBD - 1504, 1766, 2269,
1895 - 2553, 2573,
TBD - 2862, 2974, 8445, 15238,
1923 - 24130 (model 25),
1928 - 25556 (model 26),
TBD - 26081 (model 24), 26805, 27351, 27438,
1945 - 29419 (June, model 55)


Early Stevens harmoniums were very well made with solid oak cases and some unusual features such as octave couplers and wind indicators. I have seen a few of them. Later labels show ``selected exhibitor, International Exhibition 1872''.

Burwell Parish Church 1M

Here is one which I photographed in Burwell Church, Lincolnshire around 1975. It had serial number 1103H on the rear. Stops are: Forte, Dolce 8', Dble. Diapason Bass 16', Diapason Bass 8', Grand Organ, Expression, Diapason Treble 8', Dble. Diapason Treble 16', Voix Celeste 8', Tremolo, Octave Coupler. See also Introduction 2. This harmonium carried number 98191 on the rear. It also had labels noting no.1103H selected exhibitor, International Exhibition 1872 and Reeds by Estève et Cie SGDC Paris. There was what appeared to be a similar instrument at St. Oswald's Church, Strubby around 1976.

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These instruments are very well made and durable and were used in small churches for a long time. It is a great shame that the Lincolnshire churches I visited in the 1970s were in such a poor state of repair and are probably closed with their harmoniums, in need of repair, now destroyed.

Amazingly however I was contacted by Mark Jefford, fellow ROS member, in Sep'2006 who said: As I was working near Louth I've been able to visit Burwell Parish Church and found the R.F. Stevens organ you mention on your Web pages still there. The organ is fixed to the floor beyond the pulpit but in poor playing condition with some sticking keys and a loose black key. The case though is in comparably better condition.

An identical instrument attributed to Robert Stather is shown in Chapter 19.

The ROS database lists entries for Stevens: 399, 225, 400, 401, 677, 1396, 1684. There is also an entry 1911 for a Wagstaff instrument which is clearly very much like the same Stevens harmonium. Others are from Fritz Gellerman's database numbers 3787 and 4108.


Jon Miller's Model 7a

RFG-4108 mentioned above is now owned by John Miller of Oxford. He sent me the following photos before and after he had done some restoration work.

stevens_7a_details.jpg stevens_7a_front.jpg

He added: FYI it's serial number 15248 and I got it from North London last August. So far I've put the stops in the correct order and replaced the missing faces, re-leathered the feeder valves, replaced a wooden bar which prevented the expression stop working and replaced the cloth which was ripped. It still requires a bit of TLC regulating the octave coupler and cleaning buzzing reeds, but even so gives a nice sound.

An identical instrument appeared as e-Bay item *8907 in June 2007. It had previously been in an old church in Llandrindod Wells, Wales.

Another, carrying the trade label of Wilkinson and Son of Kendal, appeared as e-Bay item *2191 in Mar'2016 and again *4859 in Oct'2016 from a vendor in Sheffield. It is said to have been professionally restored some 8 years previously and to be in good condition, although some of the stop labels are in the wrong order.

1M2:2 Harmonium e-Bay *0672

This is a smaller one with only 10 stops but the same build quality. It also carries the label citing the 1872 exhibition. It was advertised in Southampson in Jan'2017.

Stops: Forte, Dolce, Double Diapason, Diapason Bass, Grand Organ, Expression, Diapason Treble, Double Diapason, Tremolo, Forte.

1M1:1 Harmonium e-Bay *7692

A mature oak framed Harmonium sold by a well known Birmingham company, Henry Riley of Constitution Hill. It looks very much like an early harmonium by Stevens. The pads were overhauled when the seller first had it c.2007.

Interestingly, there seem to be no stops, so this is probably a single rank instrument, but is there a reservoir or is Expression permanently on?


1M Reed Organs

Instruments sold by Crane and Sons

It is believed that a range of instruments made by Stevens were sold by Crane and Sons, see Chapter 18.1. This is somewhat speculative at present. A number of instruments have been seen which have the same case style, althought they are similar to those of Macolm or Imperial. The next few are examples.

Crane 1M

A 1-manual suction instrument carrying the Crane and Sons label appeared on e-Bay in Feb'2005 and again in Jan'2012. It has a walnut case and measures 41 3/4''h x43''w x20''d. It was in Epsom, Surrey and later in Eastbourne. It is pretty certain that this instrument was built by R.F. Stevens.

2012 vendor claimed the following: Probably made around 1890 for Crane and Sons, a major music emporium in Liverpool at the time, almost certainly by Rushmore and Dean [sic] the famed Organ Manufacturers based in Liverpool. However there are no definitive markings anywhere to be certain of its provenance. ...

Clearly someone much more recent has changed the material insets in the panelling and you could of course change them for something more to your taste. The pedals are quite heavily worn and although the harmonium is in working condition the 10 stops need restoration. The bellows work fine. The sound is pleasant, however the swells have to be used to make the higher octaves work, but this is apparently due to the limited functioning of some of the stops.

This instrument appeared for sale again in Jan'2012, now in Eastbourne.

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1M on e-Bay *0693

This instrument with the R.F. Stevens label was offered for sale by a company in USA, June 2006. Despite an entertaining description, it attracted no offers. Size: It has a walnut case, 68 3/4"h x49 1/2"w x20"d.

It carries a label ``Selected exhibitor International Exhibition 1872''.

It is listed under Stevens in the R.F. Gellerman database entry 5350.

stevens_av_small.jpg More Pictures

ROS Database entry 284 1M

The ROS database entry 284 lists a harmonium, entry number 8445, with stops: Forte, (face worn), Diapason, Expression, Diapason Treble, Voix Celeste, Tremolo, Forte. Not this has a very similar case stype to above.


1M e-Bay *2847

This small suction instrument was listed in August 2009.


Stevens Harmonium on Squeezytunes Blog site

There are a few random, but interesting pictures appearing on this site which belongs to Ivor Armley. They are mostly of items for sale on e-Bay. Here are two of a Stevens harmonium.

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Another like this was for sale on e-Bay *9554 in Oct'2012 but seemed to be in poor condition.

Cambridge Reed Organs and another late model 1M/3:3

One of the loan instruments maintained by Cambridge Reed Organs is a Stevens with electric pump built around 1966. A similar one appeared for sale on e-Bay in July 2008. I contacted the seller in Ipswich and was told that it had the following stops: Diapason Bass 8', Dulciana Bass 8', Bourdon Bass 16', Principal Bass 4', Viola 4', Vox Humana, Bass Coupler, Treble Coupler, Principal Treble 4', Bourdon Treble 16', Dulciana Treble 8', Diapason Treble 8' . I am not convinced of the order. The first photo below is © Cambridge Reed Organs.

stevens_electric.jpg stevens_1m_late.jpg

Late 1M e-Bay *8176

A very late 1M instrument appeared on e-Bay in May 2015 from London W7. It had clearly been a loved instrument as its description suggests.

This is a reluctant sale of a cherished 12-stop organ with a lovely harmonious sound. A couple of operations to back and hip have meant that the seller can no longer work the foot pedals while sitting upright.

The 12-stop organ sounds great because it was built by the specialist reed organ builder Richard Stevens in London in 1906.

The organ looks really good because it was made at the heights of the Arts and Crafts movement with quarter sawn oak panels in the styule of Harris Lebus, a near neighbour of Richards Stevens Ltd.

Overall 44'' tall, x42'' wide.

The Lebus furniture factory was actually in Finsbury at Tottenham Hale. You can find more information here Whilst it is quite possible, we cannot confirm that Lebus made any reed organ frames.

1M e-Bay *6666

A very late model in light oak case, square sound holes, but no electric blower.

12 stops: Bass Coupler, Bourdon 16', Diapason Bass 8', ? 8', Principal Bass 4', Viola 4', Vox Humana, Principal Treble 4', Dulciana 8', Diapason Treble 8', Bourdon Treble 16', Treble Coupler.

1M/1:2 no.16183

A relatively late instrument with a light oak case which appeared on e-Bay *7013 in Chudleigh, 11/7/2016. It has had a mirror top added at a later stage.

Stops are: Bass Coupler, Dulcet Bass 8', Diapason Bass 8', Vox Humana, Diapason Treble 8', Dulcet Treble 8', Vox Celeste 8', Treble Coupler.


Instruments for Silent Films

Instruments built to accompany silent films are described in Chapter 27.3.

Larger Instruments

ROS Database 225 2MP/9

Entry number ROS-0225 is a 2MP organ serial number 27351. It is noted to have a mahogany case and being located in The Netherlands.

Swell:                    Great:
Vox Humana                Principal 4'
Melodia 8'                Clarabella 8'
Flute 4'                  Diapason 8'
Schalmei 8'               Bourdon 16'
Dolce 8'                  Dolce 8'
Clarionet 16'
Swell to Great            Double Diapason 16'
Swell to Pedals           Bourdon 16'
Great to Pedals

Horizon Organs' Model 80 2MP

Horizon Organs in 2010 had a Stevens Model 80 available for sale. I contacted the owner, Philip Hextall in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, for more information.


Castle Camps United Reformed Church 2MP

NPOR entry H007554 gives a very interesting description of this organ, which was originally a 2MP reed organ by R.F. Stevens. It is noted that the organ, photographed in 1979, had been rebuilt through the generosity of Mrs. Head and Mr. Haylock in March 1989. It was indeed rebuilt by an organ builder C. Hall who kept the original Stevens console but replaced the reeds by pipes, some coming from other instruments. It is likely that this was a similar but slightly smaller instrument to the one in Ashburton described below.


Note Castle Camps is a village in south Cambridgeshire.

Milton Baptist Church, Weston-super-Mare 2MP/6

NPOR entry A01197 notes a 2M/6 organ by R.F. Stevens in this church. It had stop keys over the manuals and the following specification:

2x 61 note manuals

Great:               Swell:
Bourdon 16'          Melodia 8'
Diapason 8'          Dolce 8'
Dolce 8'             Flute 4'
Principal 4'         Vox Humana 8'

Swell to Great
Bass coupler
Treble coupler

No pedals
Expression pedal
Electric blower

St. Clement's Cheshunt 2MP/7

NPOR entry N18656 is an R.F. Stevens 2MP/7 electric reed organ with RCO-style console which was included in a survey around 1950.

Swell:                Great:
Melodia 8'            Bourdon 16'
Dolce 8'              Cremona 8'
Flute 4'              Diapason 8'
Viola 4'              Dolce 8'
                      Principal 4'
Swell to Great        Pedal:
Swell to Pedal        Bourdon 16'
Great to Pedal        Double Diapason 16'

BOB electric blower

Westdale Lane Baptist Church, Nottingham

Colin Pykett sent me the following note:

I have found your excellent reed organ site absolutely fascinating. I cut my teeth on them as a youngster in the 1950's and 60's, when my long suffering parents put up with no less than 5 of them at one time (all American organs). I think they might have been responsible for bringing a severe infestation of woodworm into the house as well. My first church organist's post in c.1962 had a 2 manual and pedal reed organ. From your site, I think it was a Stevens model 80, although it had an extremely small and consequently almost unplayable pedalboard. It was also of uniformly dull and undifferentiated tone, and I have to say I was glad when I was able to move on to a pipe organ at my next appointment!

The instrument was at Westdale Lane Baptist Church near Nottingham. I have no idea what might have happened to it, although the NPOR implies it was replaced by an even more un-satisfactory pipe organ at some point.

Ashburton, Devon 2MP/10

A Stevens reed organ was advertised on e-Bay 5/8/2006 as a 2 manual and pedal harmonium made by R.F. Stevens London. Case made in oak and oak veneered ply. Blower box in non-descript ply. The blower works by extracting air from the bellows, and is placed to the left. It has been housed in a dry store room for many years in working order. Has now been disassembled for reason of sale of property to be moved on short notice. It is a very well made instrument and needs only minor work like a clean, some repair of a split panel, easing of stop action. The specification given is as follows:

2x 5-octave keyboards
30 note concave radiating pedal board
4 independent ranks for each manual 2 for the pedal, 10 ranks in all

Swell:                     Great:	       
Flute 4'                   Principal 4'
Dolce 8'                   Diapason 8'
Viola 8'                   Dolce 8'
Clarinet 16'               Voix Celeste 8'
Oboe 8'                    Bourdon 16'

Couplers:                  Pedal:		  
Swell to Great             Double Diapason 16'
Swell to Pedal             Bourdon 16'
Great to Pedal

2 balanced swell pedals, full organ pedal

Dimensions: 60'' x58 3/4'' x33''. Pedal board protrudes 20 1/2'' and is removable.

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An advert appeared on Charles Birkin's Web site in November 2004 for a similar instrument as follows: two Manual R.F.  Stevens reed organ with integral blower recently rebuilt. Good solid casework. Excellent working order. 16' 8' and 4' sets. Offers around £250. Buyer will need to collect from Leigh on Sea, Southend, Essex.

Stevens 2MP in the Netherlands

This one is for sale in the Netherlands and information was sent into Frans van der Grijn of the Harmonium Vereen Nederland. Thanks to Frans for passing it on. It is a 2MP instrument similar to the Model 80 with 7 ranks of reeds as follows:

2x 61 note manuals
30 note pedals

Lower manual:
Principal 4'
Diapason 8'
Bourdon 16
Cello 16' (derived)
Bass Coupler
Treble Coupler
Manual Coupler
Upper manual:
Dulciana 8'
Gamba 8'
Flute 4'
Vox Humana (the owner could not tell, but presumably upper manual)
Bourdon 16'
Hitch-down pedals:
Left:  Full Organ
Right: Forte Lower Manual; Forte Upper Manual
Wind: foot, hand, blower (choice)


2MP/9 e-Bay *0438

A 2MP Stevens instrument, c.1930s appeared on e-Bay in Oct'2014 possibly from a collector in Newport. This interesting instrument has had some extensions since the original design.

There are 2 complete ranks on the swell, 3 on the great and one pedal rank. The 30 note pedal board is standard concave and radiating. There is a three rank addition from a Bell American organ installed in the top and connected to the great keys, giving an additional 3 stops.

The specification is as follows.

2x 61 note keyboards
30 note pedal board

Swell:                         Great:
Flute 4'                       Flute 4'
Viola 4'                       Twelfth 2 2/3'
Melodia 8'                     Orphone [?] 16'
Dolce 8'                       Dulciana 8'
Vox Humana                     Diapason 8'
                               Melodia 8'
Pedal:                         Diapason 8'
Bourdon Pedal 16'
Double Diapason 16'            Couplers:
                               Swell to Great
                               Great to Pedal
                               Swell to Pedal

Balanced swell pedal to RH side of console

It is 60'' wide x55.5'' high x29.5'' deep to front of main organ.


2MP e-Bay *0953

A 2MP Stevens instrument appeared on e-Bay in Jan'2009. It was in a church in Corby, and the specification is vague to say the least because all the stop knob labels have fallen off. This is the best I could do from the photographs what were sent by the vendor.

2x 61 note keyboards
30 note pedal board

Swell:                         Great:
7x stops                       7 stops

Couplers:                      Pedal:
3x stops                       3x stops

2x balanced swell pedals
1x full organ pedal

This console is very similar to the Ashburton one.

Cambridge Reed Organs 2M/6

Bruce Dracott at Cambridge Reed Organs has also restored a late model Stevens 2M organ with built in BOB blower. Pictures of it can be seen on his Web site at He says it was built in the 1960s.

Its a bit hard to tell from the photos, but the stop list seems to be Swell: Oboe 8', Viola 8', Clarabella 8', Voix Celeste 8', Flute 4', Not in Use, Great: Swell to Great, Principal 4', Diapason 8', Dulciana 8', Bourdon 16'. There are two balanced swell pedals.

Graham Rogers' 2MP/6 Student Pedal Organ

Graham, a ROS member, wrote to me in Nov'2006 to say he wished to sell his 2MP Stevens. He described it as having 3 ranks on Great, 2 ranks on Swell, and one pedal rank. Dimensions 5'2'' x4'2'' x4'6''.

Note that there are only 6 ranks and many derived stops. Graham noted that the console is the same as the RFG-1903 2MP ``Student's Pedal Organ'' shown above from the Stevens brochures. The instrument is playable and probably could be used as a practice organ, a purpose for which it was intended. In my opinion it is ``aesthetically challenged'', but we need to understand the reasons for this.

stevens_student.jpg More Pictures

This instrument was then for a while owned by Peter Nicholson in York who was planning a full restoration, but lack of time forced him to advertise it for sale again in Aug'2013.

Empress Model, e-Bay *6551

This 2M instrument appeared for sale in Wisbech, Apri'2013. Pausane said it was built in 1901, has a sold oak case and built in blower making it very heavy. It is in ``as new'' condition and had been professionally maintained Dimensions are 3'6'' x2'2'' x3'10''. This seems to be one of Stevens' better instruments and the sound quality is very good.


2MP e-Bay *2615

This 2MP fairly late R.F. Stevens organ appeared for sale on e-Bay, May 2015 in Delabole in N.Cornwall.

This is a fairly impressive instrument, but is clearly has been stored in damp conditions for some time. It is hoped that after dry storage some of the minor problems might disappear.

Because of the damp, several of the stop labels have fallen off, so the specification is not complete.

2x 61-note manuals
30 note pedals

Swell                      Great
Vox Humana                 Principal 4'
Melodia 8'                 ???
Dolce 8'                   Dolce 8'
Oboe 8'                    ???
???                        Bourdon 16'
Pedals                     Swell to Great
Bourdon Sub Bass 16'       Swell to Pedals
Diapason 8'                Great to Pedals
Double Diapason 16'        Lamp (later addition)
                           Motor (later addition)

built in blower

Stevens 2MP in Whitby

I'm not sure if this is the same as one of the above. It is said to have been for sale on e-Bay, bought c.2008 but for sale again in 2010. It is thought to have been made in 1903.

Swell:                Great:
Melodia 8'            Bourdon 16'
Dolce 8'              Cremona 8'
Flute 4'              Diapason 8'
Viola 4'              Dolce 8'
                      Principal 4'
Swell to Great        Pedal:
Swell to Pedal        Bourdon 16'
Great to Pedal        Double Diapason 16'

BOB electric blower
Balanced swell pedal
Full organ pedal

Unit Organ Style C 2MP/12

I did not believe any of these instruments still exist, until I discovered Ivan Furlanis' fascinating and relatively new Web site in Oct'2013, see His excellent photographs are hosted on Flickr

This instrument, registerd on ROS DB as number 5126, is in a private collection. It has 639 reeds, so 9x manual ranks and 3x pedal ranks. Despite being referred to as ``Unit Style'' this really only refers to the horseshoe shaped console and it is not a unit organ design, just a fairly large 2MP reed organ.

2x 61 note manuals
30 note pedals

Double Diapason Pedal 16'
Violoncelle Pedal 8'
Bourdon Pedal 16'

Mussette 16'
Oboe 8'
Seraphone 8' (from Melodia)
Melodia 8'
Flute 4'

Principal 4'
Diapason 8'
Dulciana 8' (from Diapason)
Bassoon 8'
Trumpet 8'
Bourdon 16'
Cremona 16' (from Bourdon)
Great Octave

Swell to Great
Swell to Pedal
Great to Pedal

Balanced swell pedals to Great and Swell
Full organ pedals to Great and Swell
Built in electric blower


The organ is finished in an oak case and seems to be very well built. Unlike some instruments by Stevens, it is also quite elegant and well proportioned. It demonstrates that they were perfectly capable of building very effective large reed organs for anyone who wanted one up until the 1960s.

Ivan told me in fact the stop action is a little too weak and must be checked from time to time to keep working without problems, as you need some effort to open the mutes and this effort is relieved on the structure that keeps the action. The sound is not so ``big'' as one could expect, I think it is a good instrument to practice at home. I should remark that this organ was prepared to have more toe pedals that were never installed and their holes covered with those wood panels you see over the pedal board.

Elliott Collection

There is said to be a 4-octave Stevens and a 2MP Stevens with 1948 Discus blower in the collection of Mike and Joan Henderson.

Folding Organs

Many of the smaller organs were built during the War as Stevens had a contract to supply folding organs to the Forces and Ministry. Every ship in the navy fleet had to have a small organ which could be used for entertainment and for playing hymns on a Sunday morning, but this boost was short lived. Many of these instruments were built from extremely thick wood to withstand the inevitable damage in transit and were also ``tropicalised'' for extreme environments including heat, corrosion and vermin attack. With this experience their market extended far afield, including Jamaica, West Africa, China, India and South America. There was even a contract for the prison service.

Model 18

See Gellerman DB no.G1875.

Model 21

The advert for a Stevens Model 21 is shown by Ord-Hume [140] figure 16 p45. They were available in three sizes: 1) 4 octaves, 2 rows of reeds and 5 stops for £15; 2) 3-1/2 octaves, 2 rows of reeds and 3 stops for £13; 3) 4 octaves, 1 row of reeds and no stops for £10.

They have large treadles and the organ collapses down into a large box with a separate hinged lid. See Gellerman DB no.G1880.

Pictures of a number of the Stevens folding organs are shown by Gellerman [82], pp147-9.

There is one dating from c.1915 in the Averesch Collection.

Model 22

See Gellerman DB no.G1871.

Frank Rooney sold his Stevens folding harmonium to a folk singer in Finland via e-Bay in February 2008. It was described as follows: An old folding harmonium manufactured by R.F. Stevens (1853-1980). I think it is the Model 18 or Model 22, manufactured in 1925, but I can't be sure. When ``folded up'' it measures 24'' x12'' x11''. The brass plate states ``R.F. Stevens Ltd, Manufacturers, Estd. 1853, Works, Kelly Street, Kentish Town, London, NW1''. When unfolded it is 28'' high. The front carrying handle is missing and the wooden case is grubby on the outside. The foot bellows appear to work fine and the notes play, however some of the keys stick a little and do not return to their original position. This instrument weighs 19 kg...


Model 24

First an early 4-octave one advertised in Dec'2016 in Ingleby Barwick e-Bay *1632.


Another Model 24 is in the ROS DB no.4667 and is currently located in Italy. Another illustration is from the Gellerman DB no.G690.

Model 25

This is what I refer to as the ``coffer shape'' folder. They were made from c.1926 with an oak or ash case, 4 octaves and one set of reeds.

There is one in the ROS DB no.401 (from 1928) and another no.6264. Slightly larger ones in the Gellerm DB nos. G1920 and

Entry 677 is a similar one with serial no.2553 but said to have been built in 1895.


Model 26

The Model 26 is illustrated by Ord-Hume figure 21 p65. It was built from 1923 with 4 octaves C-c and one set of reeds and one wooden knee swell. It closes up to form a box with a handle on top. Believed to be only three made. See also ROS DB no.400.

Model 28

Another small portable Stevens instrument is shown on the Cambridge Reed Organ Web site. Photos © Cambridge Reed Organs

stephens web 1.jpg More Pictures

This is a Model 28 sold up to the end of 1963. They were available in two sizes: 1) 4 octaves C-c with 2 rows of reeds and 2 stops, dimensions 30'' x32'' x12''; 2) 5 octaves F-f with 3 rows of reeds and 6 stops, dimensions 37'' x33'' x14''.

There is also one in the ROS DB no.6503 serial no.3086 said to be from 1963. Another in the Gellerman DB no.G1897.

Stops are: Principal 4', Diapason 8', Bourdon 16' for both bass and treble.

Model 30

See Gellerman DB no.G1916.

Model 31

See Gellerman DB no.G1915.

Model 33

See Gellerman DB no.G1881.

Model 50

See Gellerman DB nos. G1898 and G6418.

Another, somewhat later one, is owned by ROS member Mark Jefford. He says that it was probably built after 1951 as it has the Leighton Place name plate (see above). The keys are by Herrburger Brooks, so it is definately after 1920. It carries numbers 3138 and 3288 on the RH side of the base and number 716 on the lowest two keys.

This is probably a Model 50 instrument with a 4-octave keyboard and two knee swells. The LH one adds a second row of reeds and the RH one opens the swell shutter. It measures 23 3/4'' wide by 11 3/4'' deep by 36 1/2'' high (14 7/8'' when collapsed). It was used by a Mr. Harold Gwinell as a portable missionary organ. He travelled around England and Wales and used it until he died in January 1999.


Here are some pictures of a similar folding organ for sale on the Internet at the end of 2002.

stevens_folding_a.jpg More Pictures

Model 55

This model, similar in style to the Salvation Army Triumph series was made from c.1945 for the Admiralty to use on board ships. It has a tropicalised case and keyboard, 2 sets of reeds controlled by wire knee levers and 4 octaves. See ROS DB no.399 and Gellerman DB nos. G3064 and G1896.


Model 66

Another folding tropicalised model but looking more conventional, see Gellerman DB no.G1883.

Abbey Portable No.1

See Gellerman DB no.G1882, also has stop knobs in the conventional position.

Register of the larger known organs by Stevens.

Size Date Serial Number Comments
    27351 ROS-255
2MP     B.Schooling, Leigh on Sea; sold 2004
2M/6     Castle Camps U.R. Church
2M/6     Milton Baptist
2MP/7     Cheshunt St. Clement's
2MP?     Westdale Lane Baptist, Nottingham
2MP/7     Scherpenzeel, Netherlands for sale Oct'2007
2MP/10     Ashburton, Devon; for sale 5/8/2006
2MP/6 Student's     G.Rogers, Thame; Jan'08; W.J.Fox, York; Oct'2010 P.Nicholson, York; e-Bay *7072 Aug'2013
2MP6     Newport; e-Bay *0438 Oct'2014
2MP     NPOR ?
1M   15248 RFG-4108; J.Miller, Oxford
1M     Llandrindod Wells; sold on e-Bay *8907 24/6/2007
1M/3     Ipswich, e-Bay 11/7/2008
1M 1872?   Southampton; e-Bay *0672 Jan'2017
2MP Model 80     2010 Horizon Organs, Derbyshire
2MP     Corby; 2009 e-Bay *0953
2M/6 1960s   2011 B.Dracott
2M Empress c.1901?   Pausaune, Wisbech; e-Bay *6551 Apr'2013
2MP/12 Style C     private collection
2MP/?     Delabole; eBay *2615 May'2015
2MP/?     Elliott Collection

Styles and Specifications of Stevens Organs

Register of models produced:

Designation Type Date Description
Class 4 harmonium 1920-30 1-1/2 ranks, 8 stops
Class 7a harmonium 1911 church model, 4-1/2 ranks
Model 1 harmonium   folding, 6 stops
Model 18 harmonium 1925 folding, 1 rank, 4 oct
Baby harmonium   folding, 1 rank, 3-1/2 oct
Model 21 harmonium 1925 folding, 1-2 ranks, 5 stops
Model 22 suction 1925 folding, 1-2 ranks, outdoor use
Model 24 harmonium 1925 folding, 4 oct, 1-2 ranks
Model 25 harmonium 1928 folding, 4 oct, C-c of F-f, 1 or 2 ranks
Model 25a suction organ   folding, 4 oct 2 ranks
Model 28 harmonium   4-5 oct, 2-3 ranks
Model 32 harmonium   1 or 1-1/2 ranks
Model 33 harmonium   outdoor folding, 4 oct, 2 ranks
Model M harmonium   outdoor folding, 5 stops
Model 44 suction organ   1M 2-1/2 or 4 ranks, pipe top parlour organ
Model 45     2M pipe top
Model 50 harmonium 1945 folding, 3 1/4 or 4-oct 1-2 ranks
Model 55 harmonium 1945 folding, 3 1/4, 4 or 5-oct, C-c, 8'+4' ranks, Admiralty use (tropical)
Model 58      
Model 60      
Model 66 harmonium   folding, tropical 4 or 5 octaves, 2 ranks, 10 stops and knee swell
Model 70 harmonium   tropical 4 or 5 octaves, 2-4 ranks
Model 80 suction organ c.1935 2MP
Abbey portable harmonium   4 or 5 oct. 2 or 1 sets of reeds
Abbey Model 90 harmonium   1M, around 421 broad reeds, various specifications, tropical use, 16 stops
Empress suction organ   2M 5 ranks
Student's pedal organ suction organ   2MP up to 579 reeds (10 rows)
Unit organ Style A      
Unit organ Style B      
Unit organ Style C     2MP/12 639 reeds with 20 stops
Abbey style 77      
Cottage Organ suction organ   2 or 4 ranks
Model H     Combined piano and organ

The following black and white image is of a Church Model Class 7a from a Stevens advertising sheet, c.1903.


Later Stevens Advertisement Sheets

Phil Fluke has sold a number of sets of Stevens original advertising sheets. Among these are specifications of some of the better 1M organs made in the Organ Works at Kelly Street. The Church Model class 7a, as seen in my picture from Burwell Parish Church. Several different sizes were available all finished in the same solid oak with mouse proof treadles suitable for export. The Model 22 was a similar harmonium said to be ``exceedingly powerful''. It had up to 5 1/2 ranks of reeds with 14 stops. The most impressive was the Abbey Model 90 broad reed organ, also a pressure harmonium. These were available from 100 guineas in 1929. They had elaborate specifications as follows (order of stops is not correct):


Action A (7 ranks, 421 reeds, 18 stops): Double Diapason Bass 16', Principal Bass 4', Diapason Bass 8', Baritone 32', Musette 16', Octave Coupler, Basso Prolongo, Expression, Double Diapason Treble 16', Principal Treble 4', Diapason Treble 8', Harp Aeolian 2', Voix Celeste 8', Saudien, Tremolo, Oboe 8', Bassoon 8', Saudien

Action B (334 reeds, 16 stops): Double Diapason Bass 16', Principal Bass 4', Diapason Bass 8', Musette 16', Octave Coupler, Basso Prolongo, Expression, Double Diapason Treble 16', Principal Treble 4', Diapason Treble 8', Harp Aeolian 2', Voix Celeste 8', Saudien, Tremolo, Oboe 8', Bassoon 8'

Action C (274 reeds, 14 stops [sic]): Double Diapason Bass 16', Principal Bass 4', Diapason Bass 8', Expression, Bass Coupler, Double Diapason Treble 16', Principal Treble 4', Diapason Treble 8', Oboe 8', Treble Coupler, Saudien, Tremolo, Bassoon 8'

Action D (183 reeds, 10 stops): Double Diapason Bass 16', Principal Bass 4', Diapason Bass 8', Expression, Double Diapason Treble 16', Principal Treble 4', Diapason Treble 8', Octave Coupler, Saudien, Tremolo

The images reproduced below are probably all from the same late period [dates?].

Robert Gellerman's database

0691 - 2MP ``Student's Pedal Organ''


1873 - 2MP ``Unit Organ Style C''


1874 - 2MP ``Unit Organ Style A/ B/ C''

The specification of the basic Unit B 2MP/6 organ is as follows:

2x 61 note manuals plus 30 pedals.

Swell:                         Great:
Flute 4'                       Diapason 8'
Oboe 8'                        Principal 4'
Dulciana 8'                    Bourdon 16'
Couplers:                      Pedal:
Swell to Pedals                Bourdon 16'
Great to Pedals
Swell to Great
Great Octave

(Stops not given in order.)

Total 335 reeds
Horseshoe shaped Console designed to RCO specifications with polished
figured oak case and tilting stop flaps. 5'6'' wide, 2'5'' deep plus
pedals making 4', 4' high.
Full organ pedal and balanced swell pedal to each manual
1/4 HP Rockingham blower.

It was advertised at 195 Gns. Unit A 2M/11, advertised at 250 Gns, adds to this basic specification with an additional 5 ranks of reeds. The two extra on the Swell are split into treble and bass sets.

2x 61 note manuals
30 note pedal board

Swell:                         Great:
Flute 4' (derived)             Diapason 8'
Voix Celeste 8' (treble)       Bassoon 8'
Musette 16' (treble)           Principal 4'
Harp Aeolian 2' (II, bass)     Bourdon 16'
Melodia 8'                     Trumpet 8'      
Viola 4'                    

Couplers:                      Pedal:
Swell to Pedals                Violoncelle 8'
Great to Pedals                Bourdon 16'
Swell to Great
Great Octave

Total 609 reeds
Horseshoe shaped Console designed to RCO specifications with polished
figured oak case and tilting stop flaps. 5'6'' wide, 2'5'' deep plus
pedals making 4', 4' high.
Full organ pedal and balanced swell pedal to each manual
1/4 HP Rockingham blower.

This is the only reed organ I know of, English or elsewhere, built with a horseshoe console, then the vogue for cinema and theatre organs. Later models of the Student's Pedal Organ also had tab-style stops as did the various semi-electronic instruments and the later Estey organs from the USA.

Unit C was slightly larger again, 20 stops with 639 reeds. Model 1873 shows this specification with alternative drawstop console. This 2MP/12 (9 manual ranks and 3 pedal ranks) was the largest organ produced by Stevens. Given their experience of voicing reeds for outdoor use, it may have been an imposing instrument able to provide music for a small theatre. If one of these came up for sale I might be minded to buy it! For the result, see below.


1876 - 2MP ``Abbey Style 77''


1877 - 2M ``Model 58''


1894 - 2M ``Model 60''


1901 - 2M ``Empress Model''

2x 61 note  manuals

Swell:                         Great:
Flute 4'                       Principal 4'
Melodia 8'                     Diapason 8'
Dolce 8' (derived)             Dolce 8' (derived)
Vox Humana                     Bourdon 16'
Swell to Great                 Treble Octave
                               Bass Octave

Total 305 reeds.
Full organ pedal and balanced swell pedal
Internal electric blower


1902 - 2MP ``Model 80''


1903 - 2MP ``Student's Pedal Organ''

2x 61 note manuals, 30 note pedal
stop tabs listed from left to right on console:

Pedal:                        Couplers:         
Double Diapason 16'           Swell to Pedal	  
Bourdon 16' (derived)         Swell to Great    
                              Great to Pedal	  
Melodia 8'                    Great:		  
Dolce 8' (derived)            Principal 4'	  
Flute 4'                      Dolce 8' (derived)
Viola 4' (derived)            Diapason 8'	  
			      Cremona 16'  
     			      Bourdon 16' (derived)

Balanced swell pedal for Swell and Great
Full organ pedal
Built in blower.

Dimensions are: 53" W, x48" H, x27" D without pedals and 53'' with pedals attached.


At least one of these instruments still exists, see notes on Graham Rogers' instrument below.

1904 - 2M ``Abbey Model 51''


Rob Allan