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Vintage Moog Modular Synthesizer
with engraved SSN and NYC

8 May 2023

Vintage Moog Modular Synthesizer with NYC SSN

There's a vintage Moog modular synthesizer that had a social security number engraved on each component along with 'NYC'. Over the years I've seen pieces of it in various places. Out of curiosity, I'm on a hunt to figure out the history of this system.

Vintage Moog Modular Synthesizer with NYC SSN

Back around 2000 I remember seeing a picture on the web of a Moog modular synthesizer in a walnut cabinet and every module had a social security number engraved on it along with 'NYC'. I thought what a tragedy, but that's what people did back in the '70s before identity thieft came around and we quit using our SSN for account numbers. I remember being asked for my SSN when buying something at a department store in 1979, I told them no.

Here's an example on the keyboard controller:

SSN Synthesizer

Click on pictures for a larger view

Here are the items I can identify in the system from the picture. I can't see the bottom half-height module row, and I can't identify about 10% of the modules - some are possibly custom.

2) 950 keyboards
1) Tilted cabinet, 22 spaces plus half-height row
3) 22-space cabinets
1) 901 VCO
2) 901A Oscillator Driver
6) 921B Oscillator
3) 902 VCA
1) 903 Random Signal Generator
2) 904A Low Pass Filter
1) 904B High Pass Filter
1) 904C Filter Coupler
2) 905 Reverberation Unit
4) 911 Envelope Generators
1) 911A Dual Trigger Delay
1) 912 Envelope Follower
1) 914 Fixed Filter Bank
1) 921 VCA 
1) 960 Sequential Controller
2) 961 Interface Module
1) 962 Sequential Switch
2) 984 Four Channel Mixer
1) Frequency shifter top row??
1) Multiples
1) Ribbon Controller

The Grant & Murtaugh entry for Moog Modular Systems sales says there are:

1) 901 VCO
3) 901A Oscillator Driver
9) 901B Oscillator
1) 904A Low Pass Filter
1) 904B High Pass Filter
3) 902 VCA
3) 911 Envelope Generators

My 911 Envelope Generator

Over the years I've picked up a few pieces of this system including a 911 envelope generator module, a 905 reverb, and the 950 keyboard controller - all with the SSN engraved on them.

This 911 EG module is possibly one of the first batch ever made because it has no trimpots. This module has a sticker on it that says serial #1737, but there is another unreadable sticker UNDER that one. It was suggested by Roger Luther of Moog Archives that this might have been a returned unit that made it back into a new build later and a new sticker was added.

Some more pictures: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11.

My 905 Reverberation Unit

The 905 Reverb module I have is in pretty good shape for its age. Reverb modules have a tank that is suspended by springs to mechanically isolate them from the cabinet and during shipment they were tied down to prevent damage. The customer was suppose to remove the ties but on this one that didn't happen and they remain. Reminds me of tone generators on Hammond Organs and head locks on early hard drives.

The tank has a number '6819' stamped on it which I suspect is a date code. Possibly 1968, week 19. Gibbs Special Products Corporation. I suppose this tank could have been bought for inventory years earlier but this is likely good evidence that the system was built in 1968 or 1969.

The sticker on this module says Trumansburg, but the serial number is unreadable.

Some more pictures: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11.

950 Keyboard Controller

This keyboard has the dual 36-pin connectors on back for connection to a scale programmer which allowed each key to be tuned. The cabinet has repairs using putty and stain on the back and bottom. At one time there was a sticker on the back but it is gone and I can see the residue from the adhesive. The sticker on the bottom was Serial Number 1015, and the one on top of it was 1234. The screws on the bottom don't match making me think it's been worked on.

Roger Luther says:
"950 s/n 1234 would've been one of the first ones shipped from the Williamsville plant. The last one out of Trumansburg was 1230 (Sept 1971).

950 s/n 1015 was one of 2 shipped to Grant Murtaugh Productions, 225 East 46th Street, NY, 10017, on July 1, 1968, as part of a system 3."

See the Grant & Murtaugh entry for Moog Modular Systems sales.

SSN Synthesizer 950 keyboard

Some more pictures: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12.

Picture Gallery

Here are some pictures of this system from around the web and from friends. If you have some of the components to this system please send me a picture and a picture of the serial number and any history you might know.


These data points come from various places on groups and via emails:

From RL, 2001

I can tell you the last 911 that shipped out of T-burg was s/n 1721. That was October 19, 1971. If 1737 is the real s/n of your 911, it would've been one of the first out of Williamsville. Problem is, the trimpot thing doesn't make sense. Sure wish you could read the s/n underneath.

The schematic I have posted at the website (Instruments/Modules/911/Schematic) was drawn in August 1968 and it has trimpots. I'll see if I can find the previous drawing (1103).

I'm thinking maybe a vintage 911 came back for replacement, was cleaned up and shipped out with a new s/n right after the move to Williamsville (late '71 or early '72). Maybe???

I'm just guessing, but here's a possible scenario... I'll bet it was from the early days - maybe 67-68. Right after moving to Williamsville they needed a 911 for a system, found this 4-year-old module somewhere, stuck a new s/n on it and used it. Maybe it had come back from the field, or maybe it was an old engineering sample. Maybe?

From EN, 2023

Hey Roger - I have a 905 Reverb and Filter+Attenuator module from this system. I don't remember who I bought them from, but it would have been at least 20 years ago. Maybe Wes Taggart?

From DV, 2005

I got some of those modules to. Check it here >>> (This link doesn't work anymore) //

From SV, 2005

This is the system that all the panels with the numbers 056-26-#### came from. The picture was never very good when it first came out. The system was for sale from Rogue Music, NY. it was then sold to ANALOGICS. But he parted out the whole system on eBay. I am sure that Tadius bought about half the stuff. I got a few modules and rest is all over the country....

From BS, 2005

I actually bought some of these modules from 3 difference people over the years! Several years ago, I bought a few of them from a Steve Hurd, who supplied this photo: (This link doesn't work anymore) //

From JD, 2001

The 911 was one of the first 20 production models made. Looks to have been refurbished by Moog later in its life. Different design than what is in the modular service manual - No trim pots. It looks like Bob's original design. It was one of the first IIIc's made.

From JD, 2001

the 950 keyboard came with my Moog IIIc when I purchased it in 1996. It was bought from a local musician who said he acqured it in a studio auction. I have the same keyboard attached to it now, didnt need 2.

3/5/2001 When I purchased the modular there were a few extra modules included but there is no place to put them (all 3 cabinets are filled out with modules). I think I had two extra 911's, Ill have to go look in my storage later tonight to see if im right.

From KR, 2023

I had some of it. I sold it in a IIP case about 10 years ago. Could never figure out the provenance. The engraving looked exactly like your module. It was the sequencer, I believe.

From MM, 2023

056-26-9753 was issued in New York between 1936 and 1950.

From EB, 2023

I had a low pass and some vca's. Sold em 20 years ago. They where 67 . Worked fine . The low pass was sublime. If memory serves it was a New York based owner. Most of my stuff came from Ohio state and I think they acquired it from him in the 80,s


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