Blowing the bellows

In Sirens Bloom thinks of John Glynn "Seated all day at the organ," talking to himself or to "the other fellow blowing the bellows." The organ in St. Xavier's church where Glynn is employed must be of a type that has become rare in the last century but that would still have been common in 1904. Such instruments needed at least two people to operate them: a skilled keyboardist and someone with strong arms working nonstop to keep the bellows inflated. If the musician's practice went on "all day," this second job must have been tiresome beyond belief.

John Hunt 2022

Hand-pumped organ being played in the church in Castromocho, Spain. Source:

Working the four bellows of the organ built by Graziadio Antegnati in 1565 in the basilica of Santa Barbara, Mantua. Source:

Operation of a Hook & Hastings organ built in 1893 for the Georgetown Baptist Church in Georgetown, Kentucky. Source:

Hand-pumped organ being played in the church in San Andrés Zautla, Oaxaca. Source: