Estey Organ Company

Opened in 1852 under the direction of C.W. Grau. The Water cure in downtown Brattleboro was visited by many notable people of the time, who came to escape the rapidly industrializing world. This site is one of 40 historic places that will be Researched and made a part of the Brattleboro Words Trail 

About the Research sites

The Brattleboro Words Project is working with the community to identify specific sites and themes significant to the study of words in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Brattleboro Words Project leaders are helping to build Research Teams — classrooms/teachers, amateur historians, veterans, writers, artists and other community members — who will produce audio segments and other work to be incorporated into audio walking, biking and driving tours tours available on the website.

The Story of Estey Organ

1850 - 1860

After the death of Wesselhoeft and the closing of his water-cure, there were attempts made by others to continue water treatments.  A wealthy New Yorker, Bayard Clark, who had regained his health under the treatment by Wesselhoeft, in an effort to help William Klinge, who had been superintendent of Wesselhoeft’s bathing department, bought a property opposite the water cure and allowed Mr. Klinge to run it for the accommodation of patients unable to get rooms at the Wesselhoeft place.

Cultural Influencer

Estey’s dominance in the market was due in large part to the company’s

innovations in both design and marketing. Estey organs accompanied

Christian missionaries throughout the world and spread the

Brattleboro name far and wide.

“Jacob Estey’s use of period imagery was the most influential

element in his advertising,” Waring said, “but his exploitation

of standard marketing phraseology—the largest, most perfect,

new, improved, worldwide—made a deep impression on

developing consumer mentality and advertising itself.”

Women of Estey

Jacob Estey’s progressive ethos which helped shape the image of

Vermont itself. He was recognized not only for business acumen

but for his commitment to the town of Brattleboro and care and

concern for his workers. The Estey Organ Company employed a

large workforce, many of whom were highly specialized craftsmen.

For many years Estey was the largest employer in the state of Vermont.

Estey employed master woodcarvers, designers, engineers, and

inventors, many of whom who came from Europe to work for Estey.

Jacob Estey’s progressive views towards his workforce extended to

female employees. Estey believed that women had the right to do

any work for which they were capable, and that their compensation

should be equal to their male counterparts. A permanent exhibit

in the Estey Organ Museum documents the Women of Estey.

Estey also underwrote the first building in the U.S.

intended specifically for the higher education of

black women in Raleigh, North Carolina

On The Map

The Estey Organ Museum  is located at:
108 Birge Street,  Brattleboro, VT 05301

For nearly a century, the name Estey was synonymous with reed organs. The Estey Organ Company was recognized worldwide as a leader in instrument design, manufacturing, and marketing. 


The Research Team