in alfabetical order
When a builder has multiple pages the link shows 'page' at the end of the link.
Riley Burdett was the manager of the J. Estey & Co Chicago branch, working as: Estey & Burdett. In 1866 Jacob Estey undertook a reorganization. Both Riley Burdett as well as his Chicago co-worker Silas M. Wait, left the Estey company and started the Burdett Organ Co. Ltd. at Segwick Street, Chicago, Illinois.
Starting the Burdett company, they became the first reed organ builders in Chicago. They built instruments for Lyon & Healy, but also started in 1867 the "Brattleboro Melodeon Co."
(For those interested, there is quite an interesting story behind this fight between Estey and Burdett.)
Burdett 's factory burnt down in the Chicago fire of 1871, the company started again at 12th and Walnut Streets in Erie, Pennsylvania in a partnership with C.C. Converse 1872 - 1888. They again moved, to Freeport, Illinois in 1894.
Around the year 1899-1900 they managed to build 400 reed organs per month
(Historical data from Gellermans International Reed Organ Atlas)
Let us be honest, most of the owners of reed organs have regular (wet) dreams about that one, very rare instrument, of wich you are almost sure only a few have been built. Tadááá, my ladies and honorable gentlemen. Here is the one you could not imagine in your dreams.
Technical details and stoplist
Anyone out there who can explain the "Smpt" in some stopnames, but even more the coupler: Great to Spmt. It suggest a seperate chest with only 2 ranks, (Roman Pipe, Waldhorn) only playable through a coupler.
Or.... just had a bright idea: Is it maybe an intramanual octave coupler?? Like I-II 4' ??
Email your ideas to the mailinglists or to me. All suggestions will be on this page.
The situation as is
Somewhere in history the bellows and feeders have been removed to house a motor. The case of the instrument you have seen now, it's in an impeccable state. The present owner told me the action looks as new and seems not to be restored at any point.
Few of the stopfaces are gone. So also on this your expertise is needed. Anyone who is aware of a catalog showing this artefact? Let us, the whole community know.
Pedals are C - d1 flat and straight.
Provenance of this instrument
The present owner Durward Center, did quite a lot of research into the history of this instrument. Which means we can now present the full provenance of it:
1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition
Notice this instrument never left Pennsylvania for over 100 years.
Sculptures on the faux pipetop
From a trading card we know the original looks of the instrument.
The present owner wrote me: "As you can see, there were three figures on the top of each pipe tower. These figures and the dome were missing when I got the organ. Two of the three original figures have found their way back to the organ. That is another story! After finding the trade card, I had the dome reproduced."
So, at the moment we are short on one figure and one eagle. And since we do not have a SROHS (Secret Reed Organ History Service, Pennsylvania Avenue 1600b, we are relying on you.... Any catalog - whatever the year - that can be found: please make an impeccable copy, forward it a.s.a.p. to Robert F. Gellerman, the ROS's historian. (I will acquire my copy from Robert by torture and blackmail towards him.) We desperately need stoplists by Burdett. The only catalog I know of shows that Burdett did not mention which stops were borrowed. Hence, again, your expertise is needed!
A request for a miracle
Surele there must be a boasting text showing what level Burdett has acquired in his efforts. A local Pennsylvanian paper? The Erie Gazette? You know, it's not for me, it's for a new song: "Joyfull, joyfull, we now know it, Burdett is the champion". Dunno, but it seems to be a copy of another famous song.... Wonder how it would sound: 150 grumpy old(er) men, singing with double bass voices and the little group of feeble soprano voices (about six of them) imitating Maria Callas in the melody part....
By the way, did you during reading notice I start to use new words :-)
Inside pictures by the seller