The Wanamaker Organ – The world’s largest operating musical instrument

World’s Largest Organ

The largest musical instrument in the world is the pipe organ in the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. It was designed by Emerson L. Richards and built by the Midmer-Losh Organ Company between 1929 and 1932. 

The organ weighs about 150 tons and contains seven manuals, 449 ranks, 337 registers and 33,114 pipes. It is the largest organ in the world, as measured by the number of pipes.

The Guinness Book of World Records says it is the largest pipe organ ever constructed, the largest musical instrument ever constructed and the loudest musical instrument ever constructed.

There is one gotcha, though. Most of the organ has not functioned since 1944, when it was damaged by a hurricane. A partial restoration in 1998 was largely reversed by construction damage during a renovation of the Boardwalk Hall shortly afterwards. 

Parts of the organ are again being restored to playing order as part of a $16 million restoration effort that is expected to be completed by 2023. Currently, more than 95 percent of the organ is functioning.

First used on-site at the St. Louis World’s Fair, it was purchased by John Wanamaker and and installed in his flagship store in 1904. It contains over 28,000 pipes and is operated by 600 horsepower of engines to fill the blowers.

The Wanamaker Organ – Inside the world’s largest operating musical instrument

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