The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 259

Builder Identification

Newark, New Jersey, 1870s-1890s.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database Builders Listing editor. -

    Backus Water Motor Company of Newark, New Jersey was a manufacturer of water motors starting in the 1870s.1 The water motor was a miniaturized, self-contained variation of the traditional mill. A pipe supplying water was attached on one side of a turbine case with an out flow pipe on the other. When the water supply was turned on, the turbine blades would spin, turning the central shaft which would turn a belt. Depending on the size of the motor, it could be used to power coffee grinders, drills, small lathes, or fans. The larger models were often used to power a blower for pipe organs before electricity became a reliable and easily available power source.2


    1. "Backus Water Motors". Quarter-century's progress of New Jersey's leading manufacturing centres (International Publishing Co., 1887, New York, NY) p.77
    2. Kris De Decker "Power from the Tap: Water Motors", accessed Dec 11, 2015.

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, rev. ed. by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1997). -

    Makers of water motors, 1870s.


    • Stopt Diapason, #43, The Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Organ Historical Society (Hoffman Estates, Illinois).

Database Entries

There are no entries in the database that describe organs by Backus Water Motor Co.

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