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Mansfield Organ Pipe Works Records

Identifier: 1986-0005

Scope and Content

This small collection is of interest as it provides insights into not only local history and social relationships, but business development in Eastern Connecticut as well. It is of special interest to the music historian since it reveals the detail and scope of the organ manufacturing industry in the area. There is specific information about organs and organ parts; their kind, size, manufacture, function, use, and material composition. For the social scientist or the business historian, the business transactions reveal interpersonal relationships and business enterprise, including employment concerns, complaints about products and services, methods of introducing new processes and products, and availability of goods and services. For the art historian there are many fine examples of letterheads typical of the period. Some materials are water damaged and stained, but legible.


  • undated, 1881-1934


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


The Mansfield Organ Pipe Works remained the sole manufacturer of metal-toed organ pipe feet in the world until around 1979, when the process was taken over by the Organ Supply Company of Erie, Pennsylvania.

The company traces its origins to Erastus McCollum and his sons Julian and Henry. Along with Selcon McCollum, Erastus' brother, they built a church organ in their barn in Rockville, Connecticut. Parts, including both wood and metal pipes, were turned out in Erastus' workroom. By 1821, they were advertising as organ builders and rebuilders in the Hartford directory. Their largest accomplishment was the Brewster Hall organ in New Haven in 1850.

Later, the firm known as McCollum Brothers, began to specialize in making wooden pipes and other wooden organ parts such as stoppers, trackers, rack pins, and pipe feet. Probably no complete organs were made by the company after 1850, for Boston and New York had taken over that end of the industry. By 1871, they had moved to Mansfield Depot, Connecticut, and become the Mansfield Organ Pipe Works.

Fenelon C. McCollum, a cousin, managed the company from 1889 until 1925. It was he who invented the metal-toed wooden pipe foot and patented it in 1890. At that time, the firm, employing twenty workers, developed mass production techniques and patented many improvements. After the 1920s, the company specialized still further by making only pipe feet and small organ parts.


4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Mansfield Organ Pipe Works remained the sole manufacturer of metal-toed organ pipe feet in the world until around 1979. The company traces its origins to Erastus McCollum and his sons Julian and Henry.


The collection 1881-1934 is divided into two series:

Series I: Business Records (undated, 1881-1907) contains Printed Materials (advertising and product description in the form of catalogues, brochures, flyers, and price lists), Legal and Financial Documents (contracts, accounts, and records of transactions), Correspondence (correspondence carried on with other organ builders, as well as orders for materials, tools, and equipment),

Orders (containing actual lists of parts yielding specific information about kinds, sizes, and quantities of materials available and in use at the time), Credit Ratings, Bills, Receipts, and Rockville National Bank (cash receipts 1887- 1900), and bank deposit record books (1893-1901).

Series II: Personal Papers (undated, 1886-1934) provide an interesting counterpoint to the business records. Section one, Accounts, contains McCollum household and personal shopping lists and bills. Section two, Letters, includes various notices, invitations, and letters. Section three, Children's, consists of one folder of drawings and stories written by and for children.

Custodial History

The collection was given to the Mansfield Historical Society in 1985 by the McCollum family.

Acquisition Information

The records were given to the University of Connecticut in 1986.

Mansfield Organ Pipe Works Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
1987 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US