Manufacturing the Muse: Estey Organs and Consumer Culture in Victorian America

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Wesleyan University Press, Jul 29, 2002 - History - 356 pages
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Purchases of American reed organs between 1850 and 1910 exceeded that of pianos by almost two to one. Manufacturing the Muse is the story of the reed organ, a centerpiece in American parlors, churches, and gathering places for nearly a century. It is also the story of venerable New England entrepreneur Jacob Estey, whose industrial standardization of instrument manufacture strongly affected Victorian popular culture, social stratification, gender issues, and musical taste. Dennis Waring's examination of The Estey Organ Company (1846 to 1960) and its production and marketing strategies reveals much concerning the importance of the reed organ as a significant artifact in the history of American consumerism.

The companion CD includes a variety of period pieces, some selected from the Estey Organ Method, all played on Estey organs. Extensive appendices include surveys of Estey organ case design, free-reed making operations, diagrams, maps, timelines, and music. A generous number of photographs round out the book, which may be read as a good story as well as an important part of America's history.

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The Reed Organ and the Victorian Image 19
The Perfect Melodeon
Appendix A Timelines
Estey Reed Organ Casework and Tonal Design
Appendix F Music Scores
The Compact Disc 334

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About the author (2002)

Waring is an ethnomusicologist, educator, performer, and instrument maker. He teaches education and world music courses, and performs in schools, universities, and other community-based institutions.

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