cabinet pipe organ Archives - Heidi Bender

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March 12, 2014

What is a cabinet pipe organ?

1785 Johannes Strumphler Cabinet Pipe Organ

1785 Johannes Strumphler Cabinet Pipe Organ

Recently, Ted and I attended the Paul Jacobs pipe organ concert at the Toledo Museum of Art. The concert was in the evening so we decided to spend the afternoon walking through the museum.

We were very surprised to find a cabinet pipe organ on display. A cabinet pipe organ is a small organ that is built inside of a cabinet. This particular cabinet organ was made around 1785 and is credited to organ builder Johannes Strumphler. The cabinet doors can be closed to hide the pipes when not in use. There is a foot pedal to pump air into the bellows. There is not a bench for this organ. The organist stands while playing presumably with one foot pumping the foot pedal. I am assuming the drawers are fake, but we didn’t try to open them!

Details on Cabinet Organ

Detailed work on the Cabinet Organ

The cabinet was beautiful with detailed scroll work and claw feet. In the description next to the display, it says that Johannes Strumphler worked with a fine cabinetmaker. The materials used for the cabinet include mahogany, oak, glided maple, glided bronze, ivory, ebony, and mother-of-pearl.

The cabinet itself is art, yet no recognition for the cabinetmaker. Very similar to the many paintings in the museum that had elaborate hand carved wooded frames. We didn’t read every plague but we didn’t notice any that mentioned the the frame maker. The names of the cabinetmakers and frame makers forever lost to history.

Can you imagine of this cabinet organ in your living room? What a surprise it would be for someone who opened it thinking it is a regular cabinet!