- Laurence Libin
(b Stephentown, New York, April 1, 1799; d Utica, New York, Oct 8, 1862). American organ builder. Trained as a cabinetmaker, he was apparently self-taught in organ building and began producing small reed organs in Waterville, New York, in 1834; two years later he turned to making pipe organs with the assistance of Henry T. Levi, a former employee of the Hook firm in Boston, Massachusetts. By 1852 his company, relocated to Utica, New York, was the sixth largest pipe organ manufactory in the USA. John G. Marklove joined the firm in 1854, when Levi left to work in Massachusetts. The Andrews firm, continued by Alvinza’s son, George Norton Andrews (1832–1904), built perhaps 300 pipe organs over 67 years, as many as 12 per year at peak production but with output declining from the early 1870s, when their tracker-action instruments and conservative tonal designs became increasingly old-fashioned, as did their methods of manufacture. Alvinza Andrews’s earlier success was due largely to completion of the Erie and Chenango canals, which lowered the cost and simplified transport of heavy goods over a large, rapidly developing area. As the most prolific organ builder in upstate New York, Andrews was the cornerstone of a significant school of builders that developed in Oneida County. His firm received commissions from across New York State, including Manhattan, and from clients as distant as Chicago and Washington, DC. Before ...