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What's The Upper Section of Pump Organ Called?

It was very common for many pump organs (not all) to have an upper section. They varied in height from a couple of feet to six feet. They were usually also ornamental and could have beveled edged mirror(s), small cabinet(s), shelving, or wood carvings.

In addition, they sometimes had wooden candlestick holders, or a music cabinet. Ornate detail work like ginger bread and scroll work were also common. Many had wood fencing that ran along the top, with wood balls of varying sizes.

If you have some of these, most of these, or all of these, the name of what you have is certainly a hutch, or sometimes called a canopy.

The idea and name "hutch" came from a piece of furniture that had been around for a long time. As you can see below, a hutch is just a cabinet attached to the top of a table with drawers and doors.

Reed Organ HutchAs I mentioned, hutches varied in height depending on the manufacturer. They came in all kinds of styling and usually reflected the look of the day, which was generally Victorian.

Many manufacturers felt by adding a hutch to an organ it was more attractive and added more value, and therefore would sell for a higher price. It's important to point out that not all pump organs came with a hutch – many did not.

However, the problem we find today is that for many of the pump organs that originally had a hutch, the hutch has been lost with the passing of time.

In addition, there was a period, just after World War I, when hutches fell out of favor. Many people felt they looked too old fashioned and many were removed and forgotten.

In addition, some owners just didn't especially care for a hutch on top of their organ and had it moved to the attic. More often than not, when a family moved, their organ went in one direction and its hutch in another.

Pump organs without a hutch were very common in churches because they didn't want anything obstructing the view of the congregation, so if their organ came with a hutch, they would never use it. It was set aside, sometimes stored away, given to a church member, or simply thrown out (unfortunately).

Quite often I'm asked "How do I know if my pump organ originally had a hutch?" This is an easy one to answer.

If it originally had a hutch you'll be able to see screw holes located on top of the organ's cover board, always on the left and right hand sides. So if you can find screw holes, then you know you only have half of your pump organ.

 

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