The Regal was an ancient keyboard reed instrument, dating from the 14th or 15th century. The name was later used for early reed stops whose tones were presumably imitative or suggestive of the instrument. The name Regal is used as a generic term for a whole family of reed stops, typified by short, often oddly shaped resonators, and having a wide variety of tones, usually lacking in fundamental. Particularly in northern Germany roughly between 1575 and 1700, organ-builders experimented with a wide variety of resonator forms, giving rise to fanciful names that suggested either the forms of the resonators or the tones they produced. Early in the 16th century the Regal family fell out of fashion (except in Spain), and was considered obsolete until the Baroque revival of the early 20th century. Wedgwood claims that the Regal was not introduced until after the Chalumeau. Dom Bedos provides the illustration reproduced here (click on it for a larger image). He writes: The Régale is a reed stop whose tone is not modified by any resonator. Its compass is that of the entire manual. This was the earliest reed stop, and its success was such that it was named �regal�, or �royal stop�. Since the invention of the other reeds, the Régale has not been used in church organs. Figure 144 shows a Régale stop, which consists of the reed only, lacking a resonator to modify the tone. I have seen builders add a small cone (fig. 145), fitted so as to slide on tube R (fig. 144), which increases the volume considerably.
Of the names Regal, Regale and Regaal, with no modifiers, Osiris contains 22 examples at 16', 72 at 8', 32 at 4', and 4 at 2'. The oldest examples are given below.