J.H. & C.S. Odell, Pipe Organ Builders

More than 150 years building distinctive and refined instruments for worship

Brothers John Henry and Caleb Sherwood Odell founded the organ building firm of J.H. & C.S. Odell on the bustling corner of West 42nd Street and 9th Avenue in New York City in 1859. Odell was immediately successful and built more than 500 pipe organs at that location before relocating to Westchester, New York in the 1930s.   Odell remained active in the Greater New York Metropolitan area well into the 1970s, but after the death of the principal of the firm, William H. Odell in 1979, decided to dissolve the firm after completing obligations to then-current clients.

In the pursuit of a long sought vision, the Odell company was re-established by Caleb Sherwood Odell's  great-great grandson Edward Odell, in 1999 -- this after garnering more than twenty years of organ building experience -- both on his own and with other well-established national firms. With more than three decades of full-time work in the trade, Edward is now a respected and credentialed professional as a Colleague member of the American Institute of Organbuilders.  The new Odell firm has been active in a modern shop in central Connecticut for more than 15 years.

Since re-establishing the firm, Odell has successfully built many exciting new pipe organs, executed meticulous historic restorations and performed vastly complicated repair projects. With our team of carefully recruited artisans, Odell performs all its own millwork, joinery, fabrication, voicing and finishing. Further, unlike many firms today, Odell casts its own pipe metal and makes its own organ pipes.

Timelessness, musicality and an unflinching commitment to quality are our foremost concerns as pipe organ builders. We possess a profound dedication to our work;  clients quickly learn  that when they partner with Odell, they work directly with people who -- given the opportunity  --  will design and construct their instrument from raw materials with passion and exactitude. Our ever-present goal is to develop nuanced solutions and create pipe organs that will serve their congregations with reliability and grace for generations to come.

St. Luke's San Antonio Installation Update, part 1

We’re into our sixth week here of the 55 stop 74 rank organ at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and School; the organ is now roughly 90% assembled. The delay in installation — originally planned for last Spring — was due to an increase in the scope of work that nearly doubled the size of the project and some unexpected delays from suppliers.

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Midsummer 2016 Update

Its been a quiet, sultry week in East Haddam as we've been making our way through major aspects of our project for St. Luke's Episcopal, in San Antonio. If you've been keeping up on our Facebook page, I'm nearly done with the massive console frame and expect to nearing completion of it  this week. Brad Gawthrop is nearly done with the 2 new reservoirs (one Pedal, one Swell) for the additions to the organ which will be run from a tandem blower. Pallet re-dressing in the original chests is now done, and we're well in to processing pipe work. New metal for the Swell 8’  principal has been cast and is curing before we get into cutting out templates for bodies and feet. We have now gone through and thoroughly cleaned the 16' Open Wood while inspecting for checks and splits, and are making repairs with special restorer's epoxy after a couple of trials.

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Mixture composition: Odell Op. 649

One of the small projects we’ve been working on over the summer has been some long-planned upgrades and adjustments to the organ we built in 2011 for the  Historic First Church in Orange, Connecticut.  Of particular interest to some of the commenters was the changes in voicing and scaling for the Great Mixture stop, and since the answer to one particular question is a bit more involved and complex, its a good item to post about.

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Project update: St. Luke's, San Antonio

Above is a rendering of the new console for St. Luke’s in San Antonio.  This is the model Brad and I developed together for a curved terrace design based on my existing four-manual model.  The sides of the carcase are substantially thicker, and to offset the outsize width curved terraces otherwise require, the cheeks of the case are angled in.  Now that the final layout has been determined, I’m moving on the shop drawings.

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