The V301H "California" Continental

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The V301H single keyboard Vox Continental was produced by Thomas Organ in California in 1966. My thanks to Brian Machacek for allowing me to photograph his finely restored V301H Continental Organ for the Vox Showroom.

Thomas Organ gave JMI (Jennings Musical Instruments, Ltd) one million dollars in 1965 for the sole distribution rights for Vox amplifiers, guitars and organs in North America. Tom Jennings, the director of JMI, assumed that Thomas Organ would be purchasing Vox products produced in his UK based manufacturing plants and selling these into the American marketplace. However, this was not to be the case. A provision in the licensing agreement struck between JMI Ltd and Thomas Organ allowed Thomas to produce Vox products in the United States, bypassing both JMI and all costs of importation from the UK. Within months of the deal between JMI and Thomas Organ, Thomas was producing their own amplifiers and the 301H Continental Organ at their plant in Sepulveda CA.

Thomas Organ had far greater experience manufacturing organs than JMI. The American made, Thomas Organ incarnation of the single Continental Organ had significant engineering revisions from the UK V301J organ. Thomas attempted to improve upon the original British design without altering the tone.
From the outside, the V301J (British made Continental) and the V301H look quite similar. Both have plywood cases, both have wooden keys laminated with a plastic top and both are covered in a dark gray vinyl and feature an orange vinyl covered top. Both organs also have four "stop" drawbars and two "tone" drawbars. Both the UK and American Continental have the tubular chrome plated "Z" leg stand with twin crossbars.

Electronically, the organs have little in common. A comparison of the electronic circuit of the V301J and V301H follows on subsequent web pages. Click on the "Next" button to read more.


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Photos and editorial content courtesy Gary Hahlbeck, North Coast Music

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