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The Magnus Harmonica Corporation was founded in Linden, New Jersey around 1944. Magnus sold and distributed children's harmonicas and Mechanical Reed Organs. In the 1950's, Magnus introduced Electric Reed Organs and continued producing harmonicas. In the 1960's, Magnus introduced their famous Electric Chord Organs to compete with Hammond. These are still considered Reed Organs, but the name was changed to Chord Organs because they included playable chord pads unlike their older siblings. Sometime in the early 1970's, the company's name was actually changed to Magnus Organ Corporation. Magnus also made a few 'real' electric organs that were not reed organs. Magnus' sales slumped with the post-oil embargo recession and finally went out of business around 1977. These little organs appeared in many households at the time, and were considered beginners instruments, not toys. They now lie derelict in thrift stores, at yard sales, and lonely on eBay. All records and information on the Magnus Corporation were lost in time, long before the creation of the internet or this website. After countless hours of research, trips to the US Patent Office, and personal investigation the information on these pages has been constructed.
How do these things work? Click for an on-line tutorial and inside look.
We will go inside of a Magnus Organ and explore its principles and operation.
What do these things sound like? Click to listen, I'll play a quick progression.
They sound like an accordion or wheezy bandoneón, as they are also free reed aerophones.
Which model do I have? Click for a list of models and information.
This model list has been acquired from my collection, eBay listings, and your emails!
How can I fix my Magnus Chord Organ? Click for an on-line step-by-step tutorial.
I made this tutorial to help folks who got a thrift store find working properly again.
Where can I see one in action? Click to see a short video I made.
Some bands still use these for backup or run them through a distortion device.
How much are these things worth? Whatever someone is willing to pay.
Seriously, these are all over the place if you actually look. In perfect condition they are worth $25-50. The one and two octaves aren't particularly valuable, (unless they aren't electric), but they play in tune much better than their bigger three octaved siblings. Freestanding models and those with Minor and/or Bass chords are worth 10-20% more due to rarity. A full Magnus Electric organ (not a reed organ), would be quite valuable as they did not produce many of them.
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