The OHS Pipe Organ Database

York County Historical Society
250 East Market Street
York, Pennsylvania 17405

OHS Database ID 2353.

See the address on Google Maps.


This organ received OHS Citation number 298, 2003-06-24.

Status and Condition

The organ has been renovated and is no longer in its original state.
The organ is in good condition and is used occasionally.
We received the most recent update on this organ's state and condition December 12, 2012.

Technical Details

Slider chests. Mechanical key action.

One manual.Manual compass is 54 notes. Pedal compass is 25 notes.

The organ is in a case at the front of the room. There are hinged doors that enclose keyboards. There is an attached keydesk en fenêtre.

Drawknobs in vertical rows on flat jambs. No enclosed divisions. No combination action. Flat straight pedalboard.


  • Status Note: There 1997 (OHS PC Database. October 30, 2004)
  • Built for Christ Lutheran, York, PA, then to chapel of that church. Rebuilt by Midmer Organ Co. in 1905, 1-12. To Historical Society 1945. Erected 1958 by Fred Furst. In 1994 keyboard, tubular pneumatic pedal and winding system were by Midmer. Restored (phase 1) 1990 by J. R. Brunner. In 1994 was in foyer of Historical Society. (OHS PC Database. October 30, 2004)
  • Updated through on-line information from Paul Marchesano. (Database Manager. April 25, 2009)
  • Updated through online information from Evan. (Database Manager. December 12, 2012)

Online Documents

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Related Database Entries

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Other Websites

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Organ Case. Photograph by Raymond F. Brunner 2002-05-01
Organ Case. Photograph by Dianne Bowders (2010)
Organ Facade and Keydesk. Vintage post card, courtesy of James Stark (1960s)

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When they are available, stoplists for organs are included in the Database. To make corrections in stoplists that you see here, please send details via e-mail to rather than submitting a new stoplist through our online form.

  • Typed stoplist from the OHS PC Database.
    York Historical Society, York, PA
    1804 David Tannenberg
    (stoplist Ray Brunner, PIPORG-L, 1997)
    MANUAL C-f''' 54 notes
    8' Principal
    8' Gedackt (stopped wood)
    8' Viol de Gamba
    4' Octav
    4' Floet (open wood)
    3' Quint
    2' Super Octav
    Mixtur II-III Rks.
       C  19-22
       f  15-17-19
       c' 8-12-17
    8' Trumpet (original missing, possibly originally wood)
    PEDAL C-c' 25 notes
    16' Sub Bass (stopped wood)
    8' Octav Bass (open wood)
       Coppel (Manual to Pedal coupler)
     The presence of a tierce in the mixture is interesting, particularly since 
    Tannenberg was one of the earliest organbuilders to use equal temperament.  
    The pressure is very low, around 1 5/8", I think.  I never cease to be amazed 
    at the quality of Tannenberg's work and his artistry.  The chests are built 
    of beautifully dovetailed oak and walnut, and look not so much like a piece
    of mechanism as a beautifully artistic abstract picture done in marquetry.  
    The metal pipework is approximately 60% tin / 40% lead.  
    A thought occurred to me about this a while ago.  When Tannenberg began 
    building organs around 1765 Pennsylvania was still a British colony and the 
    government would have been discouraging the manufacture of instruments like 
    organs in the colonies.  Raw materials like pipe metal would have been hard 
    to come by.  After the Revolutionary War shortage of foreign exchange would 
    have been another problem with regard to importing raw materials.  On the other 
    hand solder would have been readily available for plumbing and soldering lead 
    roofs, etc.  A 60/40 tin/lead solder is normally used for this purpose.  
    Do you suppose Tannenberg bought solder in bulk and melted it down to make his 
    pipes?  Tannenberg belongs very much to the Saxon tradition of organbuilding 
    in favoring lightly voiced organs on low pressures with fairly high-tin content 
    pipework, which is hardly surprising because of the part of Germany he came from.  
    The Scottish organbuilder David Hamilton, who had trained in Dresden, was another 
    example. Built in 1804 for Christ Lutheran Church in York, Pa. The organ was 
    substantially altered in 1905 by Midmer at which time it was moved to the chapel .  
    Changes included cutting off the sides of the case and folding the lower panels 
    and side imposts out to make a wider front.  Dummy zincs were installed on the 
    side imposts and the upper side panels and rear of the case were discarded.  
    The manual windchest, originally supported by the casework, was placed on an 
    internal framework and a parallel rise reservoir and feeders were installed in it.  
    The stop action was replaced and the Pedal pipes were installed on tubular 
    pneumatic chests.   The center tower was cut down about 12" and the 3 center 
    pipes were mitered back.   The wind pressure was raised as were the cutups on 
    some of the pipework. The organ was dismantled and put in storage around WWII.  
    In about 1959 the Historical Society engaged Fred Furst, a York organ builder to 
    "restore" the organ.  The reassembled it essentially as Midmer had left it.  
    Unfortunatlely all of Furst's organ were painted Ticonderoga Yellow, as he had 
    a friend who worked for a pencil company and provided him with the paint.  He 
    painted EVERYTHING [Ray Brunner PIPORG-L 1997]
    Our restoration of the Tannenberg organ included stripping off all of the yellow 
    paint which was very tedious.  Furst had painted every square inch of the roller 
    board, rollers , roller arms, Pedal pipe(inside and Out), windchest , inside of 
    the pallet box, and everything except the manual pipework.  He raised the pitch of
    the organ, carefully preserving all of the metal he cut off of the pipes for 
    posterity in case anyone wants to solder on all these little slivers. We restored 
    the casework, replacing the missing pieces and reconstructing it so the chest can 
    again sit in the impost and be supported properly.  
    The manual windchest was completely restrored and the stop action reconstructed.  
    The center tower was restored to its original height and the pipes unmitered.
    Unfortunately we had to leave the Pedal pipes on the pneumatic chests which required 
    keeping the pressure higher than original.  We compromised on about 2 1/4"since this 
    was the minmum pressure at which we could get the pneumatic chests to work. The third 
    rank of the Mixtur was gone, so we had to decide what it was.  I deduced it was a 
    tierce in the following way.  Tannenberg always scaled his principals the same regardless 
    of what pitch they were at--in other words C1 of a 2' was exactly like C2 of a 4' or C3 
    of an 8'.   
    Also he marked all the ranks as if they were unisons, so C1 in a Quint is marked G and 
    C1 in a Tierce if marked E .   As the Mixtur rack board and toe board were unaltered, 
    I found that the e pipes of the principal ranks exactly fit the c holes in the rack,
    indicating that it was a Tierce. Yes, the windchest had a separate set of pallet valves 
    for the coupled Pedal notes.  They were opening by a completely separate action from a 
    shifting square rail on the Pedal trackers.  This type of coupler does not pull down the 
    manual keys when the Pedal is coupled as it is completely independent.  It is of course 
    missing, having been removed by Midmer. Our work on the organ is only a first phase of 
    what we planned as a 3 phase project.  In addition to replicating the Pedal windchest a
    nd action, an authentic winding sysem needs to be made.  
    Hopefully there will be funding for future work on it. One more thing- The Trumpet stop 
    was replaced by Midmer with an Oboe from TC.  The Midmer pipes are still in place for now.
    [Ray Brunner  PIPORG-L 1997]
  • Click Here Typed stoplist from the OHS PC Database. Plain text; will open in a new window or tab.