1854 Drawing of the Crystal Palace - New York City
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Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations

July 14, 1853 – Nov. 14, 1854

Crystal Palace
42nd Street, between Fifth & Sixth Avenues
New York, N.Y. 10009

Organ Specifications:
• Organ by Alb. Gemunder & Brothers (USA)
• "Church organ" by F. Hechigan (Germany)
• "Church organ" by J.F. Schulze & Sons (Germany)

The Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations was a World's Fair held in 1853 in what is now Bryant Park in New York City, in the wake of the highly successful 1851 Great Exhibition in London. It aimed to showcase the new industrial achievements of the world and also to demonstrate the nationalistic pride of a relatively young nation and all that she stood for. Jacob Aaron Westervelt, at that time Mayor of New York, was the President of the exhibition-committee, and the general superintendent was Admiral Du Pont.

Opening on July 14, 1853 with newly sworn President Franklin Pierce in attendance, the fair was seen by over 1.1 million visitors before it closed on Nov. 14, 1854. The fair featured its own glass and iron exhibition building – the New York Crystal Palace – directly inspired by the Crystal Palace in London. The Palace was destroyed by fire on October 5, 1858.


Alb. Gemunder & Brothers
Springfield, Mass., USA (1853)
Mechanical action

An organ built by Alb. Gemunder & Brothers of Springfield, Mass., was in the East Gallery of the Crystal Palace. Albert Gemunder was born in 1817 in Ingelfingen, Wurttemberg, Germany. It seems likely that his brothers, August and Georg, were also born in or near the same town. Albert worked for the Walcker firm of Ludwigsburg, Germany, and was in Springfield, Mass., by 1852. He later worked with Steinway & Sons piano manufactory, of New York City, N.Y., and in the early 1860s moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he died in Novemeber 1884.

Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.

The Gemunder Brothers organ was described in the (New York) Evening Mirror (July 26, 1853):

"Few People who were present at the Inaugural ceremonies of the Crystal Palace will fail to recollect with what fine effect the sacred chants and choruses were given, nor how greatly that effect was enhanced by the pealing tones of the magnificent organs swelled forth with such majestic beauty and grandeur, filling the vaulted transepts and reverberating the solemn echoes from the dome and the remotest angles of the building.

"The peculiar sweetness, softness, fullness and richness of these sounds still linger pleasantly in the ear, and it will be long ere we forget either its deep-toned bass or its clear and silvery treble. Being a connoisseur in such matters, we had the curiosity to examine this organ, and found that its superior excellence was owing to a new and marked improvement in organs that has not yet been brought before the public. We will attempt a description of the instrument.

"This organ, which is constructed on a new principle, surpasses all other common organs by an important improvement in the wind-chest. The invention consists in constructing air chambers running the entire length of the scale and sounding board, each chamber supplying all the pipes of a single stop with wind, consequently, there are as many air chambers as stops; also, each pipe has its own wind connected with the air chamber; sliders are entirely dispensed with; it is not easy to adjust sliders so that they may move readily and yet fit closely enough to prevent the escape of wind, as they are affected by the atmosphere. In this organ, that great defect will never occur, and the stops will move easily in every state of weather, without escape of wind.

"By this improvement, there is also attained almost double power, more promptness, evenness and sweetness of tone, and there is an especial advantage gained by its easy wind and attachment of action. This improvement was invented and patented June 15th, 1852. This organ was manufactured and exhibited by Alb. Gemunder & Brothers, Springfield, Mass., and may be examined at any time at the Crystal Palace."
Organ exhibited by Germany

F. Hechigen
Ulm, Wurtemberg (1853)
Mechanical action

A "Church organ" manufactured by F. Hechigen was exhibted in Division B, Court 10. No information has been found on Herr Hechigen. Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
Organ exhibited by Germany

J. F. Schulze
Paulinzella, Schwartzburg Rudolstadt, Germany (1853)
Mechanical action

J.F. Schulze & Sons of Paulinzella exhibted a "church organ of peculiar construction and capacities" in Division B, Court 10. From Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1900) we read: "The Schulzes' organs are most celebrated for their flue-pipes, which are constructed so as to admit as much wind as possible. In order to do this the feet are opened very wide, and the pipes are in consequence cut up unusually high. By this means, with a comparatively low pressure of wind an extraordinarily rich quantity of tone is produced. The Schulzes carried the same principles into their wooden flute pipes."Specifications of this organ have not yet been located.
     Fox, David H. A Guide to North American Organbuilders (Rev. ed.). Richmond: The Organ Historical Society, 1997.
     "Schulze, J. F. and Sons," Dictionary of Music and Musician (A.D. 1450–1889), ed. by Sir George Grove. London: Macmillan & Co., Limited, 1900.
     Evening Mirror (July 26, 1853). Item about Alb. Gemunder & Brothers organ. Courtesy Larry Trupiano.
     Official Catalogue of the New-York Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1853, New-York: George P. Putnam & Co., 1853.

     Gildemeister, Karl. Drawing of Crystal Palace (1854). Public Domain.