Robert Thallon Residence

900 St. Marks Avenue
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11213

Organ Specifications:
1223 Dean Street (1901-?) – "Pouch Mansion"
II/12 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 149 (1875) – moved from earlier address (1901)
900 St. Marks Avenue (1874-1901)
II/12 J.H. & C.S. Odell, Op. 149 (1875)
• II/12 Rudolph Ibach & Sohn, Op. 138 (1871)

Robert Thallon (1816-1882) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and was married there in 1843 to Jemima McCunn (1818-1895). The couple had four children: John, Robert, James and Florence. In 1853, the family came to America where Robert Thallon was one of the founders of the New York Produce Exchange and a pioneer in the exportation of provisions. Mr. Thallon remained enthusiastic about his native country, and studied her literature; he worshiped Robert Burns, of whose writings he owned a number of original manuscripts, and was for many years the president of the Robert Burns Club of New York. He was also "a musician of prominence in the city and identified very largely with its music interests."

After retiring from business in 1864, the Thallon family moved to Europe where they lived for ten years, mainly in Germany, for the purpose of education. It was during this period that Robert Thallon, Jr. (1852-1910) studied at the Leipzig Conservatory and was a pupil of Sig. Vannucinni in Florence, Italy, becoming an accomplished organist, pianist, violinist and conductor. After the family moved back to Brooklyn in 1874, Thallon, Jr. was organist for seven years at the Reformed Episcopal Church of the Messiah, after which he presided over the great organ at Plymouth Congregational Church. For twenty-five years, Robert Thallon, Jr. maintained a studio in the family mansion at 900 St. Mark's Avenue. Starting in 1885, and continuing for sixteen seasons, Thallon, Jr. presented more than 600 weekly morning concerts with the assistance of his students, family and other invited musicians; these private concerts at 900 St. Mark's Avenue were the center of much musical life in Brooklyn. When the mansion was sold, in 1901, Thallon, Jr. established his studio in the Pouch Mansion, on Clinton Avenue, and the concerts continued on monthly evenings for the next year or so.
J.H. & C.S. Odell
New York City – Opus 149 (1875)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 12 stops, 12 ranks

The handwritten "Specification of a Parlor Organ" states that there were two manuals having 58 notes each and a Pedal of 27 notes. The organ was "to be enclosed in a case of walnut with large speaking pipes in front gilded or decorated in gold and color." The Swell Organ was to have a Violin Diapason or Gamba, but this line was crossed through and replaced by "Oboe & Bassoon 58 pipes." Two costs are noted: $2,075 and $2,350.

It is believed that this organ was subcontracted to Robert M. Mohr (1825-1912), at the time an employee of Hall & Labagh of New York City, who would later become head of the pipe shop for the Roosevelt Organ Works. One could also speculate that Odell had Mohr rebuild the similarly sized Rudolph Ibach & Sohn organ from 1871.

The organ was installed in the rear drawing room of the Thallon mansion at 900 St. Mark's Avenue. In 1901, the Thallon mansion was sold and the organ was moved by the Odells to the former Pouch Mansion, a social hall on Clinton Avenue, where Robert Thallon, Jr. continued his concerts for the next year or so. When the organ was moved, the Odells overhauled the organ at a cost of $235.00.

In 1903, the organ was moved to the Methodist Church in Naugatuck, Conn. It was restored c.1986 by Richard Hamar and is extant.
Great Organ – 58 notes
  Open Diapason
  Keraulophon (grooved bass)
  Wald Flute (TC)
  Clarionet Flute
Swell Organ – 58 notes, enclosed
  Stopped Diapason Treble (TC)
  Flute a Chiminee
  Stopped Diapason Bass
  Oboe & Bassoon
  Dulciana (TC)
Pedal Organ – 27 notes
    Swell to Pedal   Swell to Great
    Great to Pedal   Superoctave coupler
    Balance Swell Pedal   Tremulant
Rudolph Ibach & Sohn
Barmen, Germany – Opus 138 (1871)
Mechanical action
2 manuals, 12 stops

This organ was purchased in 1871, during the ten-year period (1864-1874) that the Thallon family was living in Europe. It has not been determined if the organ was used in Europe, or shipped directly to New York. Specifications for this organ have not yet been located.
     "About Brooklyn People," Brooklyn Eagle (Feb. 17, 1884).
     "Choirs. Coming Changes in Churches," Brooklyn Eagle (Mar. 25, 1877).
     "Christmas Music in Plenty," Brooklyn Eagle (Dec. 26, 1889).
     Death Notice of Jemima Thallon. The New York Times (Sep. 11, 1895).
     Death Notice of Robert Thallon, Jr. The New York Times (Mar. 14, 1910).
     Fox, David H. A Guide to North American Organbuilders (Rev. ed.). Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     J.H. & C.S. Odell Ledger Book (1892, 1895, 1901). Items regarding maintenance and moving of Odell organ. Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     "Mr. Robert Thallon, Jr.," advertisement. Brooklyn Eagle (Oct. 6, 1875).
     "Mr. Thallon's Concerts," Brooklyn Eagle (Sep. 29, 1901).
     "Mrs. Thallon's Will," Brooklyn Eagle (Sep. 16, 1895).
     Obituary. Robert Thallon, Sr. Brooklyn Eagle (May 13, 1882).
     Petty, Bynum. J.H. & C.S. Odell Annotated Opus List.
     "Robert Thallon's Concert," Brooklyn Eagle (Apr. 11, 1901).
     Rudoph Ibach Sohn website:
     Trupiano, Larry. Specifications and notes from Odell ledgers of J.H. & C.S. Odell Organ, Op. 149 (1875).