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Large open pipes giving the scale Ut2-Ut3 (Koenig)

Koenig Acoustical · Physics

This is a set of nine large rectangular open organ pipes. Each pipe gives a note of the scale Ut2 to Ut3, with two pipes (727.1 and 727.2) giving Ut2. The pipes each have a round foot at the base.

Each pipe is open at the top, but also has a second oval-shaped opening on the side of the pipe by the top. A sliding cover enables this second opening to be narrowed until closed completely. has strips of velcro attached to one side.

Note: Photographed pipe is, the smallest and highest pitch of the set, giving Ut3.

Accession Number:

Alternative Name:

Primary Materials: Wood: Oak


Each pipe is stamped with: “RUDOLPH KOENIG À PARIS”.

Each pipe is marked on the base with “196a” in ink on the base by the mouthpiece. This refers to the set’s entry in Koenig’s 1873 catalogue.

Each pipe is marked on one side, above the lip, with its position on the solfège scale. For example, “UT3”

Dimensions (cm):

727.1 = 123.2cm x 10.2 x 8.5; 727.2 = 123.2cm x 10.2 x 8.5; 727.3 = 108.6cm x 10.1 x 8.5; 727.4 = 93cm x 10.2 x 8.3; 727.5 = 87.8cm x 9.8 x 8.2; 727.6 = 79cm x 9.1 x 7.9; 727.7 = 71.5cm x 8.6x 7.1; 727.8 = 64.5cm x 7.9 x 6.6; 727.9 = 59.4 x 7.9 x 6.4


These pipes were used to conduct acoustical demonstrations of powerful low notes.

According to David Pantalony’s text “Altered Sensations” (New York: Springer, 2009), opening the sliding doors at the tops of each pipe causes the pitch of the pipe to rise by a semi-tone (pg 255).


All the pipes show wear and tear. The body of the smallest pipe (727.9) is cracked in two places and its mouthpiece is worn and chipped.

All the pipes have velcro attached to one side, dating from their attachment to an interactive display.

One of the Ut2 pipes once contained a mouse nest between the lip and the foot.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Rudolph Koenig, Paris

Date of Manufacture: ca. 1878


These pipes are part of a collection of pieces of acoustic teaching apparatus purchased from Rudolph Koenig by University of Toronto professor of physics James Loudon. These pipes were part of Loudon’s initial 1878 purchase, and form part of a comprehensive selection of organ pipes “representing a… demonstration of every possible organ pipe effect.” (Pantalony, Altered Sensations. New York: Springer, 2009. Pg 119-122). These were likely used by students for investigations of acoustical properties at the university’s physics department teaching laboratory.

These pipes were collected from the Department of Physics, after a number had been used for some years as part of an interactive display.

Additional Information and References:

Six of the pipes (727.2, 727.4-8) are currently kept at the physics department.

See also David Pantalony’s book “Altered Sensations” (New York: Springer, 2009), where the pipes are described in the Catalogue Raisonné under #112 (pg 255).

Historical Notes:

According to David Pantalony in “Altered Sensations” (New York: Springer, 2009) these were likely among the largest pipes made by Koenig (pg 255). Pantalony describes these pipes as “large and extremely rare oak pipes that…would have demanded manufacturing and tuning skills different than those needed for making the smaller, pine pipes.” (pg 123)

Pantalony later notes that one of the Ut2 pipes, while on display, did not work for several years. Eventually a mouse’s nest was discovered “in the chamber below the lip.” (pg 255)