John Speller's Web Pages Christ Church, Philadelphia

John Speller's Web Pages - US Pipe Organs

Christ Church, Philadelphia Untitled Untitled

The first organ in historic Christ Church was purchased from Ludovick Christian Sprogel for 200. Mr. Sprogel was a member of the Mystical Brethren of the Wissahickon, and seems to have been charged with getting rid of the community's possessions, including its organ and books, at the time of its disbanding. For a secondhand organ the cost implies quite a substantial instrument of at least two manuals.

This instrument lasted until 1763, when the Christ Church contracted for a new organ at a cost of 500 with Philip Fehring of Philadelphia, who had recently constructed an instrument for St. Peter's Church. The organ was completed in September 1766, and was later noted as having 3 manuals and 2 octaves of pedals from 16 ft. C upwards. There were 27 stops -- Great 12, Swell 7, Choir 5 and Pedal 3, with a total of 1607 pipes. The Swell and Pedal may have been later additions.

The Fehring organ lasted until March 1837, when it was replaced by a magnificent new organ by Henry Erben of New York, contained within the fine case that still graces the church. The specification was as follows:

Great Organ: GG-f3, 58 notes
16 ft. Double Stop'd Diapason
8 ft. Large Open Diapason, metal throughout
8 ft. 2nd. Open Diapason
8 ft. Stop'd Diapason
4 ft. Principal
4 ft. Nighthorn
22/3 ft. Twelfth
2' Fifteenth
2 ft. Fifteenth
13/5ft. Seventeenth or Tierce
Sesquialtra Bass IV ranks (GG-b)
Mounted Cornet V ranks (middle C)
8 ft. Trumpet
4 ft. Clarion

Swell Organ: c-f3, 42 notes, enclosed
8 ft. Open Diapason
8 ft. Stop'd Diapason
8 ft. Viola da Gamba
4 ft. Principal
Cornet III ranks
8 ft. Trumpet
8 ft. Oboe

Choir Organ: GG-f3, 58 notes
8 ft. Open Diapason (G)
8 ft. Stop'd Diapason
8 ft. Dulciana
4 ft. Principal
4 ft. Flute
2 ft. Fifteenth
8 ft. Cremona (TC)

Pedal Organ: GG-d, 19 notes
16 ft. Double Open Diapason
8 ft. Open Diapason
4 ft. Principal

Coupler to connect Pedals to Great Organ
Coupler to connect Great Organ to Choir Organ
Coupler to connect Great Organ to Swell Organ
A Pedal to draw out at once in the Great Organ, the Nighthorn, 12th., 15th., 17th., Sesquialtra and Cornet
A Pedal to push in at once, all the above stops

"Height of the Orrgan 31 feet, width 19 feet, depth 13 feet in center, which projects 2 feet beyond the body of the instrument. The weight of the whole instrument is nearly 11 tons. It would cost to construct such another, about 6,000 dollars."

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