During disassembly, I immediately saw that the Pipe-Tone reeds and cells were at the front, which is a design that I feel gives a more balanced sound, because it means that the 4ft set is in the back. The reeds themselves had a bit of thought in the design; the middle 3 octaves of this set were "trumpet-scale" that is to say very wide-tongued. It is a way to give more power to the sound. Unlike a trumpet stop, they had been given a very pronounced voicing curve. The reed cells themselves had been milled much deeper than normal, so the reeds were sitting far down the tunnels. This is another known effect with organ reeds. Shallower cells render a reedier sound, and deeper ones a rounder sound. It's about the amount of wood that is present, Wood seems to absorb harsh overtones. One other unusual characteristic to these pipe-tone cells was the vertical size at the treble end. Normally reed cells are tallest at the bass, and diminish toward the top note, but here, the height began to increase again around note 45, and grew to be nearly as tall as the lowest note. I was worried that these reeds would be slow-speaking, whih is what happens when they have no covering.
This Epworth was constructed with a plywood sound board. I was a bit concerned that it could make for a dead sound, as plywood is not normally thought of as a "tone wood" like conventional spruce reed organ sound boards. Of course, nothing to be done about it; at least it was not conducive to splitting., although it had slightly delaminated around the edges.
The remainder of the design was conventional. It also had a 4ft set of 61 notes, and a 37 note Cremona/celeste rank in the treble. Aeolian Harp 2ft, a 17-note sub bass and up/down octave couplers rounded out the specification.
I have to say that the reed pipe sound is very successful. It is round and very mellow and surprisingly pipe-like in the wide-reed part of the compass, The tall reed cells at the top did not slow the speech too badly, and perhaps helped mellow their tone. The best surprise was the contrasts between the Pipe Tone and the other two ranks. The 4ft Flute is really a bright as can be principal, and it is almost like adding a mixture to the thick foundation sound. The Cremona set is string-like and has a great contrast as well. The combined Celeste effect is very nice.
I can really understand that this was a valuable asset for a church congregation, and provided a capable and pleasant accompaniment to their service music.