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.

Thanks to the wise stewardship of the Kelemen fund, in May of 2012 we were commissioned by Norfolk Church of Christ to replace the console for their three manual 1959 Austin.

Norfolk's organ was in the meticulous  personal care of the late organ builder William Betts for most of its life. Bill was skilled craftsman with a generous spirit who was a friend of ours for many years.  He was a great help to us when we were first starting out and our work on this project is dedicated to him.

The new console is made from solid mahogany to match the existing organ case, with molding details copied exactly and integrated directly into our existing terrace jamb design.  The console interior (jamb terraces and coupler board) is made from domestic black walnut. The keyboards --made by P and S of the United Kingdom -- are rear fulcrum and have solid basswood levers with reed switch actuated thumb pistons. The pedalboard has solid maple keys with ebony caps for the accidentals.  All the other console hardware is made by Harris Precision of Whittier California.  The control system is by Matters and includes a full feature set.

We are grateful for the kindness, patience and generosity of Minister of Music Elizabeth Allyn, Reverend Erick Olsen, the Kelemen family and the congregation at Norfolk for the opportunity to build something of lasting beauty for this historic Connecticut church.

Odell Opus 651, 2013 • New three manual terrace jamb console for existing Austin organ.

Norfolk Church of Christ Congregational, Norfolk, Connecticut