Estey Organ Advertising Image

This Estey Organ advertising image appeared in a publication from 1887. It was for a “salon organ” by the Estey Organ Company.

At one time, the Estey Organ company was the largest organ manufacturer in the world; employing over 500 people who built over 500,000 pump organs. The Estey Piano Company was also owned by the same family and made pianos. They would also become the largest American manufacturer of pipe organs – selling over 3,000 of them. Their organs were shipped to numerous countries and were installed in some of the United State’s most well-known theaters and churches.

The company founder lived the American dream. After running away from an orphanage, Jacob Estey apprenticed with a plumber. He would come to buy out the plumber. He built a shop that he rented to a company who made melodeons (a type of accordion but in this case, they were making pump organs like the one pictured in the Estey Organ advertising image which led to my little history lesson). He accepted an interest in the business in exchange for rent and would end up taking over the business even though he was not musically inclined.

At that time, organs were not generally an American-made item. He thought that music was gaining in popularity in America. The company was the first to design an organ that children could play – children couldn’t play the keys and push the foot pedals at the same time.

Estey founded the Estey Organ Company in 1855 and it would produce American reed, pipe and electronic organs until it went out of business in 1960. There’s a museum dedicated to Estey organs in Battleboro, Vermont. Their website is Estey Organ Museum. Their is also a ‘virtual museum’ at esteyorgan.com where you can enjoy a number of recordings of Estey pipe organs.

Hope any musicians out there can make use of this great vintage Estey Organ advertising image. How wonderful it must have been to have been visiting a home and have the hostess play one of these beautiful instruments for her guests. Take a moment and visit the virtual museum and listen to the huge variety of sounds these instruments can produce. The recording I listened to at times sounds like an organ but there were a few moments that I thought I was listening to a clarinet or other woodwind instrument too.

estey organ advertising image

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