Zack vonMenchhofen
The Little Organ that 'can'! ... can sing, that is
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History: Haskell Organ & St. Mark’s
Roosevelt Organ Company, New York was one of the premier pipe organ manufacturer in the U.S. during the latter part of the 19th century. It had production facilities in New York City and Philadelphia. The Philadelphia factory had gained notoriety for the excellent quality of its work. Charles S. Haskell was the supervisor of the Philadelphia facility. During the “Great Panic” of 1893 the Roosevelt Company decided to close the Philadelphia factory. Haskell proceeded to form his own organ building company and went on to build many high quality pipe organs in the Philadelphia region. The Haskell organ company continued under Charles E. Haskell. After Charles E.’s death, the organ company was sold, eventually ceasing operations. Its last contract listed as complete in 1946. The pipe organ at St. Mark’s Church was built by the Haskell Company around 1910 (The registry of organ contracts began in 1914 so records are elusive). In the early 1980’s the console was rebuilt with new manual and pedal keys and an electrical combination system replacing the mechanical action. In 2016, the windchests were completely rebuilt, the pipes cleaned and repaired, new reservoirs and wind lines installed, a new electric shade motor installed, a modern microprocessor based relay system installed, and the organ casework thoroughly cleaned and front pipes repainted. All this work was completed by the Jacob Gerger & Sons Organ Company. The present console chassis is the original Haskell chassis. Charles S. Haskell was also an inventor, holding several patents in organ technology (notably the ‘Haskell Basses’ pipe technology) and also four non-organ patents – two for plumbing valves, a time clock for employee tracking, and, a governor for a steam engine.

Stop List Appointment ( 7 ranks / 10 stops approxiamtely 420 pipes )
Great Division
Open Diapason 8’
Dulciana 8’
Melodia 8’
Octave 4’
Couplers: Great to Great 8’/16’
Couplers: Swell to Great 4’/8’/16’
Swell Division
Salcional 8’
Stopped Diapson 8’
Flute 4’
Flute 2’
Couplers: Swell to Swell 4’/16’
Pedal Division
Bourdon 16’
Open Diapason 8’
Couplers: Swell to Pedal 8’
Couplers: Great to Pedal 4’/8’
How Organs Work (abridged)
Before the industrial revolution, the organ was the most complicated piece of machinery created by humans. An organ is NOT a piano. A piano is a percussion instrument. A piano makes sound by little felt hammers hitting strings. An organ makes sound by opening values under pipes. That means the organ is a wind instrument, like a flute or a trumpet. Everything starts at the blower. The blower forces air into a reservoir where its kept under pressure. The reservoir feeds the wind chambers. These are the chambers that hold up the pipes. When the organist presses a key on the console, a small valve opens under a pipe and air rushes out and blows the pipe – like when a flutist blows air through a flute. But unlike a flute that has keys to change pitch, there are one or more pipes for every key on the organ console (each pipe makes a different sound). Each keyboard on the console controls a different section of the organ (called a division). Each division has its on wind chamber(s) and own set of pipes. Each key on the keyboard has a control mechanism that makes its way to the division of being played. There can be thousands of moving parts to control all this. Presently, these controls are orchestrated by a computer at St. Marks. The computer takes what the organist plays and translates it into a digital signal to the set of pipes. But there are still lots of organs in the world that have mechanical control systems, even to this day.

Footnotes and Sources
  • Sources: Peter Gerger of Jacob Gerger and Sons;
  • The Tracker Magazine (Organ Historical Society) volume 29/no 3 1985
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Two comments found
I think this organ is a very nice sounding organ
This is a truly lovely small instrument - wonderful to play upon and to sing with.
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