Reed organ (Grand Salon model)

about 1878
J. Estey Company (American, active 1863–1959)

Object Place: Brattleboro, Vermont


Height 200.6 cm, width 139.7 cm, depth 65 cm (Height 79 in., width 55 in., depth 25 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Walnut, rosewood

On View

David and Stacey Goel Gallery (Gallery 239)


Americas, Musical Instruments



Compass: FF-f3 (61 notes)

Because of their affordability and portability, reed organs were extremely popular in the United States during the second half of the nineteenth century. They were used in both churches and in homes, and were among the most common instruments to travel with pioneers during the great Westward Expansion. The upper portion of the casework typically incorporated small shelves, mirrors, applied carvings, turnings, and other assorted Victorian “gingerbread.” Such instruments served as the focal point of a home’s parlor and as a potent symbol of a family’s buying power and of its interest in the finer things of life.


Inscribed on nameboard: J. Estey & Co. Brattleboro, Vt. / printed label at back of case: J. ESTEY & COMPANY / MANUFACTURERS OF / THE ESTEY COTTAGE ORGAN / No. 100,009 / PATENTED …; stamped on back of case: J. H. HYDE


Before 1980, Mrs. Rabin, Peterboro, New Hampshire; by 1990, sold by Rabin to Stephen Sanborn, Sunapee, New Hampshire; about 1990, sold by Sanborn to Laurence W. Leonard, Laconia, New Hampshire; 2006, sold by Leonard to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 20, 2006)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds by exchange from the Gift of Wolfe Wolfinsohn and the Gift of Frank H. Conant