Our Philosophy of Restoration

In the past, organs were restored like antique autos--in addition to replacement of perishables (leather, etc.) and needed repairs, there was an emphasis on making everything look "new," with a subtext of "better than new," if possible. The result rewards the American penchant for eye-candy but creates a counterfeit history.

For example: Pipes washed with industrial chemicals appear more dazzling than new, but any patina is lost. And as 16th, 17th, and 18th-century organs demonstrate, woodwork of an organ's interior does not need any finish (e.g. shellac, varnish) for preservation. Yet refinishing adds to the dazzle.

A more historically sensitive restoration changes as little as possible. The organ is left clean, but historical characteristics such as patina are respected as part of a well-loved instrument's value. Finishes are repaired but not enhanced beyond their original state. Where parts have failed and must be replaced for the good of the whole, the original components are stored within the organ, to preserve as much of the instrument's story as possible.

We feel that this more historically-grounded approach distinguishes Norman Lane and Co. and cultivates a more faithful preservation of our heritage in this grand instrument.

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