The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 286

Builder Identification

England before 1850; Boston, Massachusetts by 1850, Charleston, South Carolina 1859-1876.

Additional Notes

  • Note from Organ Database Builders editor Stephen Hall, November 27, 2017. -

    John Baker was born in London, England, in the early 1800s. He apprenticed with Robert Gray while still in England before imigrating to the United States in the 1840s. He first worked with Henry Erben of New York City, New York; but was in Boston, Massachusetts, by 1850. He settled in Charleston, South Carolina, although the dates are uncertain, being given as 1859-1876 (Fox) and as 1867-1878? (Ochse). The later date seems more likely because there would have been little organ building activity in Charleston during the Civil War, however he may have traveled there before the war and been trapped there during the hostilities. He was the father of James S. Baker, who was active as an organ builder in the Charleston area from 1895 to approximately 1900.


    • David H. Fox, A Guide to North American Organbuilders (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991),
    • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 292.

  • Note from the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991; rev. ed., 1997, with updated information). -

    Born in London, England; father of James S. Baker; apprentice with Robert Gray in England; with Henry Erben of New York City, New York; in Boston, Massachusetts by 1850; in Charleston, South Carolina, 1859-1876 (1867-1878?). Sources

    • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 143
    • Organ Handbook; published yearly by the Organ Historical Society of Richmond, VA, in connection with its annual convention. 1985, 35.
    • Barbara Owen, The Organ in New England (Raleigh: Sunbury Press, 1979), 397.

Database Entries

There are 6 entries in the database that describe organs by John Baker.

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Nameplate. Photograph by Nickie Murphy

Casework-missing nameplate. Photograph by Brad Cunningham