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.

Edward Odell, CAIO is the great-great grandson of Caleb Sherwood Odell, one of the founders of this firm. Edward began working with pipe organs from a very young age, accompanying his father and uncle on service calls around the New York metropolitan area.

In the pursuit of a lifelong goal, Edward returned to organbuilding after attending Auburn University. He was hired by Austin Organs, Inc., of Hartford, Connecticut in 1996. After working in most of the company's major departments, he was promoted to Foreman in 1999.  He played a key role in several notable projects and participated in the construction of many landmark Austin instruments.

 Edward left Austin in 2002 to devote himself exclusively to the work of his family’s historic firm.  His intent was not only resurrection of a family legacy, but the desire to establish facilities for all the disciplines involved in organ building.  After many years of hard work, that dream has been largely realized; in addition to millwork, the Odell shop is now casting pipe metal in house for the first time in over 100 years.

  Today, in addition to management, Edward's  responsibilities at Odell include training, mechanical and visual design work, cabinet making, voicing and tonal finishing with a recent emphasis on metal casting and pipe making. 

A dedicated professional who has been active in the American Institute of Organbuilders for over 15 years, Edward holds AIO membership in  at the Colleague level.  Valuing the importance of organ building pedagogy, as a volunteer Edward has contributed significantly to the organization's activities. These efforts include acting as 2004 National Convention Chair, hosting two educational seminars at the Odell shop and 12 years of service to the AIO Education Committee. Edward also worked on the AIO Outreach Committee from 2005 to 2012.

As a volunteer for the American Guild of Organists, Edward served as Exhibits Chair for two regional conventions (New York in 2007 and Boston in 2009) and Chaired Exhibits for the 2014 AGO National Convention in Boston. He reprised this role for the  2015 Regional in New Haven.  

In addition to work in convention planning and exhibition, Edward has written articles for both The Diapason and the Journal of American Organbuilding and lectured extensively for AIO, AGO and NPM.

Edward is married to Susan Bridgewater Odell, an Architect and Senior Associate at Paul B. Bailey in New Haven. They live together in East Haddam, Connecticut and have been active both as volunteers in town government and the local Episcopal community.