First Presbyterian (Old Whalers')
Suffolk Co. Long Island
Sag Harbor, NY 11963 US
Organ ID: 51934
Identified through online information from Rev. Mark Phillips. -- The organ housed at the First Presbyterian Church, "The Old Whalers- Churchâ€? in Sag Harbor, New York is the oldest organ in a church on Long Island. The original instrument was built in New York City in 1845 by the celebrated firm of Henry Erben. The original tracker organ had one keyboard with 58 keys and 7 stops. All of the pipes were contained within a swell box operated by a foot pedal on the right side of the organ. There were no pedal pipes, the pedals being coupled to the manual pipes.
The free standing case contains wooden "dummyâ€? pipes which still have their original gilding. The cornice was decorated with carved blubber spades and alternating whale-s teeth while the impost contained waves crests across its top. A pump handle was, and still is, on the right side via which the organ was originally pumped.
In 1872, the original pine case was enlarged to the rear to make room for a second manual division and the addition of bass pipes for the pedal division. This work was done by Earle and Bradley, a new company in Riverhead. They retained all of the Erben pipework and most of the mechanism of the Erben organ, including the hitch-down swell pedal (reconnected to the original swell box, now relocated to the new manual chest), the original pedal board, and, of course, the fine old case. With the passage of time, the organ deteriorated. It was, however, basically sound, and certainly worthy of a careful renovation.
In 1978, after much deliberation, the project was entrusted to the New York City firm of Mann and Trupiano. The work included the restoration of the Erben tracker action. The Earle and Bradley tracker action was retained as well. The organ was completely cleaned and refurbished, with repair or replacement of broken or missing parts. Mann and Trupiano elected to restore most of the 1845 pipework to the Great organ (the original manual division), replacing the Earle and Bradley pipes in the newer Swell division. The hand pumping mechanism and feeder bellows were also restored.
The organ at the Old Whalers- Church is one of the very few to remain of the 1,200 Henry Erbern built and it is one of only two organs to remain by Earle and Bradley.