I started building organs twenty-two years ago and spent a considerable amount of time learning to draw. All of my presentation drawings were in ink and more than a few obscenities would fly when the inevitable ink drip would ruin a drawing. Sometimes I blamed the cat. Then were those times when after finishing a drawing I would see a much better solution to a design problem. Once again, it was back to the proverbial drawing board. I knew someday there would be a better solution.
Along came the Mac in 1984. My business partner sat down and could use it without reading a manual (which he never did!) and we walked out of the store with our first Mac — a whopping 128k of memory and an internal 400k floppy. I missed my bedtime that night.
After getting over the initial high of using a computer I realized that MacPaint was cute but little more. Fortunately, Apple came out with MacDraw later that year. It too was limited, but it did provide a glimpse of things to come.
To shorten a long story, I used MacDraft, VersaCAD and ClarisCAD for a number of years, each time thinking that computer aided drafting had arrived. Unfortunately, Apple decided to drop ClarisCAD and the other options were simply counter-intuitive. I hung on to ClarisCAD for several years but always tried every new program I could get my hands on. A number of them I still own. They sit on a shelf above my computer.
I studied organ and harpsichord performance at Oberlin College with special emphasis in the music of the 16th through 18th centuries. The other side of my personality is total nerd, however. After I got over the initial learning curve of PowerCADD (actually more getting over my prejudice for ClarisCAD) I found that my productivity increased dramatically. For my work, the drawings are everything from the design phase to construction documents. With the advent of WildTools and all of its amazing upgrades I finally feel connected to the drawing process in a way never before possible. Is the combination of PowerCADD and WildTools everything I want? Well, nothing is ever enough, for instance I keep longing for the macro language that PowerCADD used to have. But, this is the most incredible software I use. You can’t take it away from me!
Fish That Got Away
All organ builders have prepared many proposals that we were not chosen to build, many of them our “dream organs.” These require a significant investment of time and energy and are rarely seen after the rejection letter. Here are a few of the drawings and specifications that were our dreams.