Austin, John Turnell
- Barbara Owen
(b Podington, Bedfordshire, UK, May 16, 1869; d Hartford, CT, Sept 17, 1948).
American organ builder of English birth. His father, Jonathan, was a gentleman farmer who is also credited with having built three small organs, one of which is still in use in a church in Denton, England. J.T. Austin immigrated to the United States in 1889, and was employed by the organ firm of Farrand & Votey in Detroit, where he soon became foreman. There he first conceived a radically different system of organ construction called the “universal wind-chest” system, which consisted of an individual pipe-valve chest, the lower portion of which was a walk-in air chamber with a regulator. Pipe valves were attached to thin wooden trace for each note, operated by a small pneumatic motor. Stop action was first by means of sliders; later a pivoting fulcrum affecting the valves was utilized. Farrand & Votey appear to have shown no interest in Austin’s design, and in ...