Scottish Chamber Organ

January 6, 2014
27_Jan 2014 Thomas-Renton organ.pdf  

rare instance of a Scottish chamber organ (the only known example in the U.S.), with case and works by John Renton of Edinburgh, has found new life in the home of Thomas R. Thomas in Deering, New Hampshire. 

Initial research suggested that the instrument may have been built for Fingass Castle around 1860–70 and moved to a church in Halkirk in the 1930s. According to the Scottish organ historian Alan Buchan, vandals broke into the church in the 1970s and smashed most of the pipework. An American organ builder purchased the organ in 1996 and had it crated and sent to Maine, with the intention of rebuilding it for a local church. The project seems to have been beyond his capabilities and he sent it to a local auction house in Concord, New Hampshire, where it was bought by Thom Thomas. The organ case, chest and some mechanism parts were in Thomas’s barn for several years before he assembled the case. 

Jeremy Cooper, a local organ builder, was enthralled with the elegance of the case and convinced Thomas he could restore the chest, fabricate action parts, and bring the organ back to life. The chest and other parts were moved to Cooper’s shop and the case sent to a local furniture maker to be restored. Stopknobs matching a few remaining ones were fabricated in England and engraved in the original nomenclature. The keydesk was given to a craftsman in Vermont to replace two missing keys, recover naturals, rebush, and adjust. A new reservoir was fabricated by Jeremy Cooper, and pipes from several 19th-century New England organ builders were racked on the chest. The mahogany and gilt trim case, mechanics, and pipes came together at the end of the summer of 2013, and the organ once again speaks from John Renton’s magnificent casework. 

 

Height 11 3′′

Depth 2 9′′

Width 5 3′′

300 pipes

Self-contained Laukhuff .25 hp blower

MANUAL  (CC to g3; 56 notes)

Left Jamb 

8 Open Diapason Treble

8 Stopd Diapason Treble  

8 Aeoline Treble

8 Stopd Diapason Bass 

 

Right Jamb

4 Principal

4 Flute Treble

2 Fifteenth

Wind

Related Content

June 27, 2021
“Just can’t wait to get on the road again.”1 For over fourteen months during the extraordinary time of Covid, Wendy and I stayed at our house in…
May 25, 2021
Editor’s note: many of the organs mentioned in this article can be found with stoplists and pictures at the website of the Twin Cities Chapter of the…
February 24, 2021
Pipes, wind, and wood During the 1960s and 1970s, a number of organ building firms were founded, dedicated to building mechanical-action pipe organs…