(new images at bottom of page, July 2002)

Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Central Massachusetts Pipe Organ Specification Collection





The Great Hall shown set up for a Brown Bag Concert ("Pops" style table seating)

Mechanics Hall
Worcester, Massachusetts  USA

"THE WORCESTER ORGAN"
(A well deserved title given at its dedication in 1864, placing it on equal footing with its Boston counterpart, now in Methuen)



Photography this page by Will Sherwood

E & G G Hook
Opus 334
1864

52 stops, 64 ranks, 3504 pipes

Wind supply
Power: One large reservoir bellows each for high and low pressures.
Pressures (mm): Pedale and Solo: 89; remainder 76

History
Restored in 1982 by Noack as opus 92, Barker lever added (for all couplers to great);
Additional restoration work in 2002-3, as well as ongoing maintenance and tuning, by Stefan Maier.

Bibliography The Historical Organ in America, Lynn Edwards, ed., The Westfield Center, 1992 Preserving the Acoustics of Mechanics Hall: a Restoration Without Compromising Acoustical Integrity," W J Cavanaugh, Technology & Conservation (Fall, 1980).

Registration Chart Template for Organists
Additional History
Description from Mechanics Hall's Web Site

 
Specification

I Choir (C-a3, 58)
  Aeolina & Bourdon
Open Diapason
Melodia
Keraulophon
Dulciana
Flauto Traverso
Violin
Picolo
Mixture
Clarinet
16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2
III
8

II Great (C-a3, 58)
  Open Diapason
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Viola da Gamba
Claribella
Principal
Flute Harmonique
Twelfth
Fifteenth
Mixture
Mixture
Trumpet
Trumpet
Clarion
16
8
8
8
8
4
4
2 2/3
2
III
V
16
8
4
III Swell (C-a3, 58)
  Bourdon
Open Diapason
Stopped Diapason
Viol d'Amour
Principal
Flute Octaviante
Violin
Twelfth
Fifteenth
Mixture
Trumpet (tenor C)
Cornopean
Oboe
Clarion
Vox Humana

16
8
8
8
4
4
4
2 2/3
2
V
16
8
8
4
8

IV Solo (C-a3, 58)
  Philomela
Salicional
Hohl Pfeife
Picolo
Tuba
Corno Inglese
8
8
4
2
8
8
Pedale (C-f1, 30, straight, flat pedalboard
  Open Diapason
Violone
Bourdon
Quinte
Violoncello
Flute
Posaune
16
16
16
10 2/3
8
8
16
Couplers
  Swell to Great *
Swell to Choir
Choir to Great *
Solo to Great *
Choir to Solo   
Great to Pedale
Choir to Pedale
Swell to Pedale
Solo to Pedale
8
8
8
8
8
8
8,4
8
8

* Barker assist; (no way to disable Barkers)
Combination pedals

    Piano Swell
    Forte Swell
    Great to Pedale (reversible)
    Pedale (brings on Diapason 16' and Pedale II stops' controls)
    Piano Great
    Forte Great
    Piano Choir
    Forte Choir

Accessories

    Swell tremulant
    Bellows signal (not used)
    Pedale Check
    Ventil 1 (Open Diapason 16')
    Ventil 2 (Pedale II chest)

Additional History of Mechanics Hall

With the Great Hall's premiere in 1857, Mechanics Hall has maintained its fame as one of the finest concert and lecture halls in the United States-- "... a perfect success, ... both for music and for speaking" reports the Worcester Daily Spy. Through the years it has served as a venue for Caruso, Paderewski, Rachmaninoff, Rubinstein, Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Jessye Norman, as well as literary greats Thoreau, Emerson, Dickens, and Mark Twain.

 

Falling into disuse after the depression years, the Worcester County Mechanics Association restored it during the 1970s to its original beauty and excellent acoustics. Soon thereafter, the 1864 Hook organ was restored by Fritz Noack under the leadership of an AGO restoration committee headed by the late Stephen Long. Many fundraisers, such as selling organ chamber dust(!), were held to fund the project.

The 1970s restoration was a landmark in American organbuilding, culminating with its rededication in September, 1982- this year we're celebrating the restoration's twentieth anniversary.

The organ, with chamber openings cloistered by large oil paintings of early American leaders, is the largest nineteenth century American concert hall organ that can still be heard in its original location. Additional building renovations were completed in 1990, and major maintenance is scheduled for the fall of 2002.

Seating almost 1400 with a 1000-square-foot stage, Mechanics Hall retains its original purpose as a multi-use auditorium for concerts, business functions, receptions, and dinners-- a perfect location for a wedding, or a brown-bag organ recital.

The 100-ft-long hall provides visual and acoustical intimacy with no sound-absorbing materials used in the surfaces (except seat cushions). The reverberation time at a concert with full audience, but no orchestra on stage, is 1.6 seconds. Its principal deficiency is the flat main floor which necessitates neck stretching to view performances.

Architect: original hall, Elbridge Boyden; 1970s building renovation, Anderson Notter Finegold, Inc.; 1990s renovation, Lamoureaux Pagano & Associates, Inc.;   Acoustical consultants (both renovations) Cavanaugh Tocci Associates, Inc.;   Sound Consultants: David H Kaye.



Picture Gallery


LEFT JAMB


RIGHT JAMB


Center of facade, looking upward


Square rails and stop lever mechanisms directly behind console


Fieldstone weights for main bellows


Tracker transports directly behind console


Pedal division pipes


Ready to pump manually if needed


Picture attached to a structural support, inside chamber
Rumor has it that this is a Hook grandson, but we think he had something to do with chickens


Photos from Sept. 2003 Brown Bag for Kids held at Mechanics Hall
Maria Ferrante, soprano; Betsy Northrupe, narrator; Will Sherwood, organ

 

E & G G Hook Opus listings surrounding Mechanics Hall's installation:

1829, Opus 1. Danvers, MA, Unitarian, 1 manual.
. . .
1863, Opus 327. Cleveland, OH, Ursuline Convent. 1 manual. 12 registers.
1863, Opus 328. Bucksport, ME, Elm Street Congregational. 2 manuals. 14 ranks.
1863, Opus 329. Woonsocket, RI, St. James' Episcopal. 2 manuals. 21 registers.
1863, Opus 330. Lafayette, IN, Second Presbyterian. 2 manuals. 26 registers.
1863, Opus 331. Hebron, ME, Tobie, R. C. residence. 2 manuals. 17 stops.
1863, Opus 332. Wellfleet, MA, Methodist. 2 manuals. 25 registers.
1864, Opus 333. Rochester, NY, Central Presbyterian. 3 manuals. 46 registers.
1864, Opus 334. Worcester, MA, Mechanics Hall. 4 manuals. 64 ranks.
1864, Opus 335. Boston, MA, Meionian Hall, Tremont Temple. 2 manuals. 25 registers.
1864, Opus 336. Pittsfield, NH, St. Stephen's Episcopal. 1 manual. 8 registers.
1864, Opus 337. Rockford, IL, Second Congregational. 2 manuals. 27 registers.
1864, Opus 338. Sherborn, MA, Pilgrim United Church of Christ. 2 manuals. 18 ranks.
1864, Opus 339. Philadelphia, PA, Tabernacle Baptist. 2 manuals. 31 registers.
1864, Opus 340. Toronto, ON, Elm Street Wesleyan, 2 manuals.
1864, Opus 341. Newport, RI, Belcourt Castle (Tinney Estate). 2 manuals. 22 stops 26 ranks.
1864, Opus 341. Providence, RI, Brown Street Baptist. 2 manuals. 27 registers.
1864, Opus 342. Burlington, VT, First Baptist. 2 manuals. 19 ranks.
1864, Opus 343. Decatur, IL, First Baptist. 1 manual. 12 registers.
1864, Opus 346. Troy, NY, Second Street Presbyterian. 3 manuals. 39 registers.
1864, Opus 347. Sacramento, CA, Congregational. 2 manuals. 20 registers.
1864, Opus 348. Taunton, MA, Unitarian. 2 manuals. 32 registers.
1864, Opus 349. Boston, MA, South Congregational. 3 manuals. 58 registers.
1864, Opus 350. Waltham, MA, Roman Catholic. 2 manuals. 22 registers.
. . .
1872, Opus 625. Glenville, NY, Reformed, 1 manual, 10 stops.
(after this E & G G Hook merged with Hastings)

photography this page by will sherwood
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