Estey Grand Minuette – The Estey Organ Company headquarters were in Brattleboro, VT. Estey’s success came primarily with their mortuary organs. This is a three rank self-contained organ designed to look like a grand piano for use in the home, chapel or mortuary. American organ builders commonly designed and built similar instruments to appeal to that portion of the market which would not wish to undergo the expense of a custom-designed instrument.
There are 231 hidden pipes within the machine to emulate the complete sound of a full-sized organ. The sounds of a 16’ long pipe are reproduced using a technique called “Haskelling,” which incorporates an 8’ pipe that is telescoped across the interior of the organ that makes a continuous air passage through the small portion of the pipe then travels back through the outer shell. The patent for the Grand Minuette was issued on December 8, 1931. The complexity of the grand piano-styled machine required much more caution in fitting and mitering of the pipes than did the stand-up version (called, simply, a Minuette)
Estey promoted the machine as potentially perfect for: 1) A small church or chapel, primarily to accompany hymn singing; 2) In a small concert hall, primarily as the ‘continuo’ in a chamber group; 3) For a college or conservatory as an instrument for students to practice on; 4) In the home as a practice instrument.
The Estey displayed at the American Treasure Tour comes from the Mill Bridge Village, Lancaster, and may be one of only three or four of this design ever built.
One Estey Grand Minuette was owned by Rudy Vallee, famous in the early days of recordings as one of the country's most popular singers.
Jacob Estey bought a plumbing business in Brattleboro, VT in 1835 for a small fortune at the time ($1,275). He was 21 years old, and proficient at producing lead piping for the purpose of plumbing. He got into the organ trade in 1846, producing reed organs. His company began production of pipe organs in 1901, under the supervision of William E. Haskell (1865-1927)