The 1960s was not a good period for British organ building and the John Compton Organ Company Ltd were not immune from this.
As early as the late 1950s, demand began to fall for new pipe organs and Compton lost two of it's most stalwart figures at around this namely John Compton himself in 1957 followed by technical director Jimmy Taylor in 1958 which was a double blow for the company.
By 1964, demand for pipe organs had fallen to such an extent that it was decided to sell this side of the business to Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool.
In the latter part of the 1960s, Compton Organs Ltd (as the firm was now known as) suffered financial difficulties and finally ceased trading in 1971 after almost 70 years of being in business. However, the story does not completely end there for the remains of the Compton company were brought and became known as Makin organs and they still exist today building digital church instruments although have since been brought by the Dutch firm Johannus where technology is shared.
However, an interesting question must be asked: what if Compton's had not gone bankrupt? What would a Compton of the 21st century be like?
Well, there is no doubt whatsoever that if the firm had of survived then it is inevitable that they would have had to have gone over to digital technology with sound sampled from their pipe instruments? It is also quite possible that they would have built combination instruments consisting of pipe and digital stops echoing back to the days of their cinema organs with melotone units. Maybe even digital cinema organs with sampled sounds taken from their cinema organs could have well been another possibility.
Indeed, there are so many possibilites which can now only be imagined.
The following 2 videos are of me playing Makin organs with 20 years age difference between them:
This next video is nothing to do with Compton or Makin but is a good example of the kind of instrument that Compton may well have produced had they survived. It is a combination instrument built by Sixsmith's of Manchester consisting of both pipe and digital stops: