Prescott Reed Organ (Lap)

Prescott Reed Organ (Lap)

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Description (Brief)

This organ was made by Abraham Prescott in Concord, New Hampshire, around 1838-1842. It is a melodeon (lap organ) with a rectangular rosewood and maple case, double bellows, 8 soundholes, ivory buttons (29 naturals. 20 accidentals), with a compass of C - c3. This instrument is also known as an “elbow” organ, “rocking” melodeon, or lap organ. The swell knob plate is inscribed:


Abraham Prescott (1789-1858) was one of the most prolific of the bass viol makers. A self-taught instrument maker, he began his craft in Deerfield, New Hampshire, in 1809 and moved his business to Concord in 1831, where he continued to make violoncellos, bass viols, and double basses (and later reed organs and pianos) until about 1850. Prescott instruments are often fitted with machine-head tuning gears instead of more usual pegs.

Currently not on view
Object Name
Organ (Lap)
date made
place made
United States: New Hampshire, Concord
Physical Description
rosewood (overall material)
maple (overall material)
ivory (overall material)
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Frank H. Robinson
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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