Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Simmons & Willcox (1859)

Location:

St. Joseph R.C. Church
Ten Broeck Street
Albany, NY US
Organ ID: 50281

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Status and Condition:

  • This instrument's location type is: Roman Catholic Churches
  • The organ has been rebuilt or substantially revised.
  • The organ's condition is unknown.
We received the most recent update for this instrument's status from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.

Technical Details:

  • Chests: Slider
  • 57 ranks. 4 divisions. 3 manuals. 48 stops.
All:
  • Chest Type(s): Slider chests
  • Position: In a gallery-level case at the rear of the room.
We received the most recent update for this division from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Main:
  • Manuals: 3
  • Divisions: 4
  • Stops: 48
  • Manual Compass: 58
  • Pedal Compass: 30
  • Key Action: Mechanical connection with pneumatic assists (i.e., Barker levers, etc.).
  • Stop Action: Mechanical connection between stop control and chest.
We received the most recent update for this console from Database Manager on May 13, 2018.
Database Manager on October 05, 2017:

The key action is reversed, the organist looking away from the organ. ... The "Pneumatic Pressure" takes the labor from his fingers, and throws it back upon the bellows blower, so that the touch is never harder than that of a Grand Piano.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Manager on September 03, 2016:

Updated through online information from Scot Huntington.
The organ was not a success, and was rebuilt shortly after installation by Henry Erben. There is some suspicion gleaned from contemporary accounts of the Erben rebuild, that the reason for the technical failure of the Simmons is that may have used cone-valve chests, (Kegellade), which quickly succumbed to the Albany climate.

The organ was rebuilt by J.H. & C.S. Odell in 1912. The church was closed in 1994, and has deteriorated badly in the intervening years. After several subsequent changing of hands and aborted plans for reuse, the building was deeded back to the city of Albany in 2013.

As of this 2016 update, the building still sits crumbling and unused, with no clear plan for a mandatory multi-million dollar rehabilitation, or future. A survey of the Odell is needed to determine how much of the Simmons and Erben pipework may still survive, although the original Simmons 32' open wood Diapason is still extant, and can be glimpsed through the broken windows in the tower.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Manager on August 20, 2012:

Updated through online information from T. Daniel Hancock.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Manager on August 17, 2012:

Identified through online information from T. Daniel Hancock. -- The "American Musical Directory," Thomas Hutchinson, New York, 1861 reports "Size of organ--3 banks keys, 40 stops, 2-1/2 octaves pedals. Built by Simmons & Willcox, of Boston, in 1859."

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.
from <i>Dwight's Music Journal</i>, September 17, 1859: Open In New Tab Typed stoplist
We received the most recent update for this stoplist from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

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