Louis Bertram Cousans

from OHTA News, volume 44, no 3 (September 2019))

In his books Organ Blowing : Its History and Development (1971) and Family Enterprise : the Story of Some North Country Organ Builders (1986), Laurence Elvin mentions that organbuilder L.B. Cousans migrated to Australia. Louis Bertram Cousans was born on 13 October 1874 and his father was later manager of the Lincoln, UK organbuilding firm Cousans, Sons & Co. He took out a number of patents including no 5725, on electro-pneumatic actions in 1898 and on 28 May 1907 a US patent, no 855,046, “starter for blowers”. At the start of the 20th century he was the co-inventor and manufacturer of the highly successful Kinetic organ blower. Later, Cousans formed the Rotasphere Co. in Lambeth which was taken over by G.R. Dain who made Duplex blowers for Hill, Norman & Beard. He took out other patents for electric action in pipe organs, blowing equipment and areas such as measuring devices, hydraulic transmissions and illumination devices.

Along with his wife Anne Selina, he left London 21 May 1920 per the ship Commonwealth and arrived in Sydney 26 July 1920. He gave his occupation as engineer. He was a primary producer for a short while and settled in Fremantle and Perth. He was appointed Western Australian representative for Roberts Limited, of Adelaide and made a number of trips “east” on coastal ships up to 1932, when he was reported as manager of the Precision Engineering Company. One wonders if he assisted W.L. Roberts in the building of electric action organs as he played a major role in the construction of the organ at Christ Church, Claremont, completed in 1929. In 1938, he was in Victoria managing the Wonderful Fruit Products Pty Ltd, a far cry from organbuilding. He and his wife lived at various addresses in Melbourne in Prahran (from 1934), Collingwood and close to the city. Cousans died on 25 March 1956 at Collingwood and his ashes are interred in the Boroondara Cemetery, Kew, Victoria with those of his wife Annie, who died on 30 July 1970.

John Maidment