Vocalion: Company or Organ?

The most frequent Isle of Man private jet to come to Geneva these past few weeks is owned by a UK company called Vocalion Limited. Any connection with a Vocalion organ?

Since the start of August, the most frequent of the very many private jets registered in the Isle of Man has been a small Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign, a small (8-12 passengers) aircraft with registration M-SVGN, duly photographed by one of our intrepid Geneva spotters. I did a bit of research on this, in part because I was told that the official aircraft register of the Isle of Man has just been updated and has information on it. The current entry for the aircraft owner/operator is

Vocalion Limited, Bison Court, PO Box 3460, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Acording to different sources, this aircraft was previously registered as G-SVGN, belonging to Prestige Aviation Ltd, based in England. In April 2008 it was re-registered in the Isle of Man as M-SVGN.

There is a company called Vocalion Limited in the UK, interestingly stated to be a non-trading company in Watford. Of course, all of this complexity is probably quite normal in business: register your company in an off-shore banking haven and your aircraft in another one.

What interested me was actually the name, which I found to be a type of reed organ. Like (too) many things, this type of organ, an attempt to combine the sounds of free reeds and strings, was invented in England, However, its creator, James Baillie Hamilton, found no market for it, and so took it across to New England, USA, where many were built until early in the last century. In May 1886 the New York Times published an article about it, noting that Mr Hamilton had studied the science of accoustics.

A gentleman called Paul Carey formed what he called The Vocalion Group and set up a fascinating web site. According to this site, there are at least 100 Vocalion organs still in existence, scattered all over the world. The site shows a delightful photograph of one of these organs, with its double range of keys.

To know what it sounds like, there is a You Tube video of one playing Sir Edward Elgar's "Sursum Corda".

Probably not easy to transport one on a small private jet!



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