Clara and Henry Ford loved music, and had an organ custom made for their living room. Our staff has taken a big step toward returning an organ to Fair Lane.
Recently, we worked with Schantz Organ Company in Ohio to recreate the Fords’ original Estey Organ based on photographs and correspondence.
The original organ was an Estey (made in Brattleboro, Vermont), which is no longer in business. Henry Ford actually traveled to Brattleboro to see the Estey factory when his organ was being built.
The organ will be playable and fully functional. The console or “keydesk” has been recreated and installed, but the rest of the organ will be recreated and installed this year -- including blowers and other mechanical. The pipes also will be installed in the Organ Pipe Chamber off of the Main Hall and in the Celeste Chamber over the main stairs.
We obtained pipes from the same era and company as the originals from a church in Detroit. Those pipes will be refurbished and installed later this year. (Henry and Clara donated the original organ to a different church in Detroit—not the same one where we found the replacements.)
An organ is really a piece of architecture as much as an instrument, and its presence is woven into the fabric of the house. This has been a major project for our staff, and we can’t wait to hear organ music fill the Fords’ home again!