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date: 14 December 2019

Standbridge, John Christopher Barnett locked

  • Barbara Owen


(b Birmingham, England, Jan 29, 1802; d Philadelphia, PA, Dec 15, 1871). American organ builder, organist, and composer, of English birth. The son of a pharmacist, he came to the USA as a child with his family. He studied at the Pennsylvania School of Medicine and assisted his father before turning to organ building in 1840, his first instrument being a parlour organ. In 1841 he published a piano method book, followed by numerous arrangements, hymns, and other compositions. By the 1850s Standbridge had established a substantial business, and in 1852 built a three-manual organ for the Presbyterian Church, Arch Street, Philadelphia. By 1860 he had built organs for several churches in Philadelphia as well as for St Bridget’s, New York (1855). In 1868 he rebuilt the organ of St Augustine’s in Philadelphia, using storage batteries for the electrically operated Choir action; this is said to be the first use in the USA of an electric action. In that same year he completed a large organ for the Cathedral of Sts Peter and Paul at a cost of $10,000. He was succeeded by his sons John G. and George O. Standbridge, the firm becoming known as Standbridge Bros....

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