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Bunn=Minnick History

Bunn=Minnick has completed work on pipe organs dating from the late 1700’s, and on virtually every major American make. Bunn=Minnick’s philosophy is that much of the past is worthy of preservation and blending with the present to provide continuity with the heritage of the past. In addition to rebuilding and restoration, we also build new Bunn=Minnick Pipe Organs.

The present building is the third location of Bunn=Minnick. The company was begun forty years ago in the humble setting of the basement of Robert Bunn’s home. In 1975 Bunn=Minnick bought their first building at the corner of First and Harrison Avenues. Growth was solid, and two years later, a second building was added which doubled the space. Bunn=Minnick operated successfully in this setting for a number of years.

Bunn=Minnick continued with steady growth, and had begun expanding from a local company into a national company by completing work in a number of additional states.

In 1987, Bunn=Minnick completed an organ for the Cathedral of Saint Mary, Miami, Florida, for the First stop on the historic United States tour of Pope John Paul II. Because of the quality of the work, and because of the notoriety of this project, Bunn=Minnick was featured in many national and international publications and on television.

In completing other pipe organs, but especially this large project, which included three consoles, Bunn=Minnick felt a need to expand its production facilities.

Bunn=Minnick began studying options, at First expecting to build a third building at the First and Harrison location. The staff was encouraged to look at every detail, every operation, in fact even their every step required to complete their work. By merging the ideas and dreams of the entire Bunn=Minnick staff, it became evident that it was time for Bunn=Minnick to think of moving. Focusing on what it would take to improve quality, increase in-house production, and increase efficiency, it became apparent that a space about six times larger would be needed.

Through prayer and a great amount of hard work, the building at 875 Michigan Avenue became a reality.

Not only does it meet the requirements set forth, but the building’s grace and beauty exceed all expectations. It has provided an efficient, quality work space which inspires the creativity of each Bunn=Minnick artisan. Its large, modern energy-efficient windows provide wonderful natural light. State of the art, energy-efficient mechanical systems provide heat and air conditioning at very low cost. Further, it sits on over an acre of property in a small industrial park located near the freeway system in the center of Columbus. This will allow for extensive possibilities of growth without the need to move again in the future.

The present building was purchased March 14, 1991. Extensive remodeling was required, and Bunn=Minnick officially moved in on November 6, 1992.

The building was built in 1927-28 for the International Derrick and Equipment Company (IDECO). IDECO was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1920 to produce steel oil well derricks. Additional items were added which included steel buildings, aircraft hangers, electric power sub stations, radio and TV broadcast towers, microwave and radar towers, and mechanical parking garages. In 1944 it became known as Dresser-IDECO. This international company headquarters remained at 875 Michigan Avenue until the late 1960’s. (By coincidence Bunn=Minnick Company was founded about the same time.) The building was closed and remained unoccupied until purchased by Bunn=Minnick.

During this lengthy unoccupied period, vandals and the elements caused much superficial damage to the building. Structurally, it was not harmed. Its solid, sturdy, fireproof construction of masonry and steel was there waiting for Bunn=Minnick Pipe Organs. The rest, as they say, is history.

Tours, arranged in advance, are always encouraged.

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Bunn=Minnick truck at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida
The restoration of this historic organ was completed in 1992.

Bunn=Minnick facility in Columbus, Ohio

"Soli Deo Gloria"

Visitors Always Welcome

  1. Foyer. One enters the building through wrought iron doors originally from the Gordon Battelle mansion. (His Columbus, Ohio, Bryden Road home was torn down to make room for I-71. Ironically, when it was planned by Bunn=Minnick to incorporate these doors as a part of the renovation of this building, it was not yet known that Gordon Battelle sat on IDECO’s Board of Directors.)

    Interesting elements in the foyer are the original (1927) travertine marble floors and a graceful double stairway of the same travertine marble with intricate wrought iron railings. In the center of the stairway is a circa 1875 Derrick-Felgemaker “Portable” Pipe Organ. This unaltered instrument contains two independent ranks of pipes (8' Dulciana and 8' Open Diapason) which share a common stopped wood bass.

    A painting of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music, playing a pipe organ is displayed on the upper level of the grand stairway. This original painting was executed in oil on corduroy by Sr. M. Eulalia Wehrle in 1908.
  2. Business Administrator. This is the center for business affairs. Accounting and payroll are processed here using state-of-the-art computer systems.
  3. Executive Washroom. If you are familiar with the British TV comedy, “Are You Being Served?”, nothing else needs to be said!
  4. Vault. The building was constructed with four walk-in vaults. Of the four, this one is the only one presently functional. All historical Bunn=Minnick documents, files, etc. are kept here. This provides a secure environment.
  5. Office Workroom. This area is used for preparing mailings, collating proposals, etc.
  6. President’s Office. This elegant office is one of the most unaltered original 1927 areas of the building. Some of the special features are cast plaster crown molding, handsome wooden wainscoting, oak flooring, and a fireplace.

    Mr. Minnick has furnished his offce with touches of family memorabilia. However, the most unique is the extensive electric light bulb collection. Therefore it will be no surprise that Mr. Minnick’s idol is Thomas Edison. Part of the interest in pipe organs stems from Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory having had an 1875 Hilborne Roosevelt pipe organ used both for research in sound and telephone experiments and other functions, as when “in Mr. Edison’s opinion, Music’s magic strains were needed to soothe the savage breasts of his employees.”¹

    This creative, quiet environment provides an appropriate setting for designing Bunn=Minnick pipe organ specifications.

    ¹ quoted from Francis Jehl’s book Menlo Park Reminiscences
  7. Library. This room houses Bunn=Minnick’s extensive research library. It also doubles as a conference room.
  8. General Manager. The General Manager is responsible for writing proposals, coordinating workflow and planning schedules for the entire operation.
  9. Customer Service. Pipe organ service is planned and scheduled from this office. Bunn=Minnick has an extensive Service Department currently covering eight states. We are the only pipe organ company that we know of that offers 24 hour a day, 365 days a year live telephone coverage, so that we can be reached in the event of a pipe organ emergency.
  10. Drafting. The drafting of a Bunn=Minnick pipe organ is completed utilizing state-of-the-art Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) This includes producing detailed “blueprints” for the organ’s design, pipe scales, and full-scale chest layouts. Our in-house drafting tools also include a light table and a 42” plotter. Bunn=Minnick’s staff also assists with the incorporation of the pipe organ into the new or existing architechtural design. Bunn=Minnick often creates “Photo-renderings” using photographs of the church and superimposing a realistic scale rendering of the organ’s design for assisting with the customer’s fund-raising campaign.
  11. Supply Room.
  12. Corporate Secretary. This is the office of Leo J. Klise, Jr., one of the owners of Bunn=Minnick. His duties include those required of a Corporate Secretary, and further duties centering around staff concerns and major corporate decisions. Mr. Klise, who has expertise in accounting and other financial matters and a life long interest in pipe organs, joined the firm about 20 years ago. He has been responsible for overseeing and developing master plans for solid growth.
  13. Vice President. Mr. Bunn, Vice President, is primarily responsible for the technical side of Bunn=Minnick. This includes overseeing production, quality control, research, development, and implementation of new products. For example, Mr. Bunn was responsible for the design and implementation of the Bunn=Minnick Solid State Pipe Organ Relay. His office is therefore centrally located to allow access to office facilities and to production.
  14. Loading. This interior area allows space to organize for packing and shipping of Bunn=Minnick Pipe Organs.
  15. Winding. Bunn=Minnick pipe organs have wind conductors primarily of PVC pipe. This pipe is cut and fit in this area adjacent to the Erecting Room. Most elbows are made by mitering the pipe (rather than using elbows which look like plumbing). The use of PVC pipe is much more efficient even though material costs are higher than some other methods. There is less chance of long-term damage, no leakage, and far less friction.
  16. Erecting Room. This large multi-story space allows Bunn=Minnick to erect each pipe organ to the point of being fully playable. This allows completion of nearly every detail in advance, and also allows extensive testing.

1. Foyer

6,12,36. Corporate Officers

10. CAD Drafting

39. Erecting Room

9. Pipe Ogan Tuning

2. Efficient Communications

6. Philip D. Minnick,
President and Tonal Director

  1. Kitchenette. This is used for serving refreshments to visiting committees, and doubles for staff coffee and lunch breaks.
  2. Employee Lounge. By having a quiet retreat away from the work, Bunn=Minnick has provided a place for mental and physical refreshment. This has increased productivity and helped to create the environment conducive to encourage Bunn=Minnick’s standard of excellence in the finished pipe organ.
  3. Chapel. Bunn=Minnick believes that its work is a ministry. This Chapel is dedicated in memory of those who have gone before and have lead us to our work, or have been a part of our work here. The Chapel is always open to provide a spiritual retreat to staff members.
  4. Pipe Organ Inventory. This area is used for storage of pipe organs and 16' pipes.
  5. Conference Room. Bunn=Minnick believes that education is a fundamental beginning for an organ project to be totally successful. This room has allowed the opportunity to entertain committees and other guests. The large space allows room for educational tools such as the Bunn=Minnick Slide and Tape Presentation, pictures of completed instruments, pictures of work in progress, and a working display of a pipe organ.
    This room has also been available for tour groups, meetings, and events such as the Annual Meeting of the Regional Dean’s meeting of the American Guild of Organists.
  6. Solid State. Bunn=Minnick began production of its own solid-state pipe organ relay in the mid 1970’s, long before other companies acknowledged its superior advantages (no moving parts, instantaneous trouble-free operation). Everything from assembly to testing is completed here.
  7. Console Department. This area is for the assembly of delicate console parts such as keyboards, pistons, stop tablets and drawknobs, etc. Work includes installation of these parts in the finished wood shell and culminates in final wiring and testing. The full length of the building at its widest point is available to this department for ease in making up all cables for consoles and chests.

15. Chapel

17. Conference Room

19. Console Assembly

18. Bunn=Minnick Relay

19. Completed Console

18. Testing Solid State Relay

This floor not only boasts the same large windows as the other floors, but also features seven skylights, allowing a workplace bursting with gorgeous natural light. All of these skylights, except the one over the stairway, were built by Bunn=Minnick in its own facilities, saving many thousands of dollars.

  1. Leathering/Magnetizing/Preliminary Testing. This spacious room spans the entire center section of the building. It is divided into three sections.
    1. Leathering. All leathering of new parts and existing parts is completed here. This includes leathering of chest actions, regulators (bellows), gaskets, and wood pipe stoppers. To assure the best long-term results, all leather is applied using tried and true methods with hot hide glue. Only the finest leather available is ever used in a Bunn=Minnick pipe organ.
    2. Magnetizing. All chest and action magnets are installed and wired in the Southeast corner of this area. Once magnets have been installed, cables which were prepared in the Console Department, are installed.
    3. Preliminary Testing. The center of the East side is devoted to assembly and testing. Leathered actions, chest frames, and magnet boards come together here for testing. Since Bunn=Minnick chest cables are furnished with plugs, cables can be attached to a keyboard for rigid testing. Since the pipework is in an adjacent section of this floor, it is also brought to this area for racking onto the chest. (This is the individual fitting of the pipes onto the chest so that the toe seats properly on the chest, and will stand correctly.)
  2. Graphic Arts. This Southeast wing of the building has equipment for printing. (Bunn=Minnick hand-prints its own business cards, letterhead, and envelopes in-house.) This area also has engraving templates and an engraving machine which allow for the in-house engraving of stop tablets, marking plates, etc. for Bunn=Minnick consoles. Space for layout facilities and production in this remote area also allow for it to be an ideal place for such tedious artistic details as the application of gold leaf, Dutch metal, hand-painting, etc.
  3. Pipemaking. This area is reserved for future expansion of the pipemaking department. Currently, Pipemaking and Pipe Preparation are a combined department. (See 26. Pipe Preparation.)
  4. Metal Casting. This area is for the casting of metal for making organ pipes.
  5. Voicing Room II. This is a smaller version of the Main Voicing Room. (See No. 27, Voicing Room I.)
  6. Pipe Washing. We have constructed special washing tanks for washing organ pipes. All metal pipes are submerged in soapy, hot, circulating wash water before being rinsed in the second tank. (Wood pipes are surface washed and blown out with compressed air.) The metal pipes are then air dried.
  7. Pipe Preparation. Pipe preparation is one of those all-encompassing titles. In this area pipes are Wtted with tuning collars; dents are removed; they are mitered, polished, and rescaled. Mouths are initially cut-up; reed tongues and shallots are polished. For now, this is also where we make new metal pipes.
  8. Voicing Room I. This is where the pipes are given their speech. A specially designed wind chest (called a Voicing Machine), which is adaptable to accept nearly any size and type of organ pipe, allows the pipes to be placed directly before the Voicer. Pressure is set according to the organ’s specific requirements. A set of pipes called a tuning stop is permanently at the rear of this “voicing machine” to provide a pitch reference.

    The Tonal Director (Mr. Minnick) sets sample pipes of the various ranks (sets), which forms the tonal framework of the particular Bunn=Minnick Pipe Organ in progress at the time. The Voicer then crafts the sound of each pipe of the entire pipe organ to match those samples as required.

    Once at the church, final regulation and voicing pull the organ together into a cohesive ensemble specifically tailored to the individual room’s acoustics.

20a. Leathering

20b. Magnet Installation

21. Applying Gold Leaf

22. Pipe Making

27. Voicing

  1. Woodshop Office. This is where discussions can be held without the noise of the tools operating; prints can be reviewed; and plans made.
  2. Woodshop. Extensive woodworking tools allow in-house handcrafting of any wood part of the Bunn=Minnick Pipe Organ. This includes wind chests, consoles, regulators, floor frames, bearers, legs, expression shades, casework, and so forth. One special side note about our woodshop is that we own, and use on a regular basis, the original Æolian/Skinner factory Glue Press!
  3. Pipe Inventory. Bunn=Minnick maintains a stock of over 200 ranks of new and old pipes. When appropriate, Bunn=Minnick can select from this inventory for specialty sounds, or to allow the customer to have a larger instrument.
  4. Machine Shop. This small machine shop allows for the in-house fabrication of custom tools, console parts, and preparation of such items as reed shallots.
  5. Lumber Storage. All lumber (rough, planed, and lumber reclaimed from old instruments) is stored here. Various types include poplar, oak, mahogany, cherry, maple, and others.
  6. Console & Casework construction. This additional woodshop provides an independent area for the meticulous fabrication and assembly of especially delicate items such as our consoles and casework.
  7. Spray Booth. Finishes are applied for organ pipes, chests and other interior parts, as well as for Wne Wnishes for casework and consoles.
  8. Finishing. This is where sanding is done between coats applied in the Spray Booth. It is also where hand-rubbed finishes are applied.

29. Drilling Chest Parts

29. Glue Press

32. Lumber Storage

34. Spray Booth

35. Hand Rubbed Finishing

33. Custom Music Rack

33. Console Building

29. Chest Assembly