The organ at Saint Andrew’s Church is one of the great pearls of the East Coast, indeed, of the Americas. It is a virtually untouched, historic, and in all senses of the word, tonally exquisite, Hook & Hastings pipe organ built in the 1880's and installed in the "new" church in 1892. The organ at Saint Andrew’s is most likely the most important organ between New York and Philadelphia to this very day. In fact, aside from the Ernest Skinner installations in Philadelphia, there are no other organs in either city that approach the tonal perfection of the organ at Saint Andrew's, Lambertville. But even these Skinner installations have been compromised, whereas this Hook & Hastings installation has not. The organ at St. Andrew's may be the most beautiful organ within at least a 100 mile radius of it. In fact, in many ways, one would have to travel to Europe to find a more satisfying organ installation.
In the basement of St. Andrew's you will still find the original "water engine" that first ran the organ. Currently we lack the funds to restore its exquisitely silent running function. Water engines are free of the noise associated with electric motors and provide a haunting quiet that is associated with organs that played in times when the world itself was more quiet - a world before electricity and the internal combustion engine. This water engine was powered by the old hydraulic water line that powered the once-famous "tatting" mills of Lambertville. These are the mills that built the beautiful City that we see today. It is the only known intact water engine still associated with its original Hook & Hastings organ in the world. There have been no significant tonal alterations or additions to the pipework since it was installed in 1892. While, when it was first built, there were many installations of its like in both Philadelphia and New York, these others have been wiped out by "improvements" in the following decades. The simple fact is, these "improvements" were not that at all, they were most often rewrites of the worst possible type; they overwrote the genius of Mr. Hook and Mr. Hastings with mediocrity.
The 1892 Hook & Hastings pipe organ at St. Andrew's houses one of the earliest known examples of super-octave couplers in the United States. They brought the concept of this technology with them from Europe where it existed decades before, especially in England, but not in the area of Germany from which Hook and Hastings came. So Hook and Hastings wonderfully reinvented that English technology here in America - in Boston. These couplers, achieved by the extreme use of basswood tracker technology, give the organ at St. Andrew's some of its characteristic sound and flexibility.
The restorations that have made the to the organ at Saint Andrew’s insure that it will be speaking 100 years from now. A pure voice from the 1800's speaking well into the twenty-second century. Please think about that.