John Speller's Web Pages Pfeffer Organ

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Pfeffer Organ, St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, St. Louis, Missouri

One of the half dozen or so finest organs built in nineteenth-century America lies silent and neglected in the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis. Built by St. Louis organ builder J. G. Pfeffer in 1874 and first used for his daughter's wedding, the free-standing instrument stands on the west gallery of the elegant though neglected church. The fine Greek Revival case may or may not have been retained from the previous 1855 Pilcher organ. There is a detached reversed console with the drawknobs arranged on terraced jambs. The organ retains its original single-rise reservoir with three feeders. The lowest five pipes of the Great 16' Open Diapason are "monkey-quints," Open 8' wood pipes with stopped 51/3' wood pipes sharing a common toe, a curious but effective arrangement looking somewhat like a cactus. Is it too much to hope that this magnificent instrument will one day sound forth again?

An impression of one of Pfeffer's smaller instruments can be obtained from a recording of the 1870 Pfeffer organ at New Melle, Missouri.

Stop List

Great Organ C-f 3, 54 notes

16’ Open Diapason (1-5 monkey-quints; 6-22 in façade)
8’ Open Diapason (1-10 in façade)
8’ Gamba
8’ Dulciana (TC)
8’ Gedackt (stopped wood)
8’ Melodia (open wood)
4’ Octave
4’ Floete (open wood, inverted mouths)
2’ Octav
22/3’ Mixtur IV (C 12-15-19-22; c1 5-8-12-15)
8’ Trompete

Swell OrganC-f 3, 54 notes, enclosed

16’ Bourdon Discant (TC)
16’ Bourdon Baß (12 notes, unenclosed)
8' Geigen=Principal
8’ Salicional
8’ Violone (TC)
8’ Floeten=Baß (12 notes, unenclosed)
8' Floete (TC; harmonic; wood; no nodal holes)
4’ Geigen Principal
4’ Rohrfloete (stopped wood bass; metal chimney flute treble)
2’ Flageolet (Spitzflöte)
2’ Mixtur III (C 15-19-22; c1 8-12-15)
8' Hautboe (TC)
8’ Bassoon (12 notes)
8' Clarinet (TC)

Pedal Organ C-c1, 25 notes

16’ Principal Baß (open wood)
16’ Sub Baß (stopped wood)
8’ Violoncello
4’ Floeten=Baß
16’ Posaune (wood)


Manual = Coppel
Pedal = Coppel II Man.
Pedal = Coppel I Man.

Composition Pedals

Great Organ Forte
Great Organ Piano
J. G. Pfeffer organ, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louis, 1874
The battered but elegant exterior of the Church of St. Vincent de Paul in St. Louis, designed by George Barnett and built in 1844-45, as seen from Interstate 55
One of the original drawknob labels on the detached reversed console
Johann Georg Pfeffer (1823-1910)
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