William E. Haskell
1865 - 1927

William E. Haskell
William E. Haskell

US Patent
US Patent

List of Patents


 "W. E. Haskell, the superintendent of the new pipe-organ department of the Estey Organ Co., as announced in Music Trades, arrived in this city this week from Philadelphia.  He was accompanied by his family, and one of the men who was formerly in his employ.  Several others of his old employees will follow later."

The Music Trades, May 4, 1901

April 14, 1911


Pipe Organ Improvements Invented by William E. Haskell

Low Pitch Produced by Short Open Pipes--Clarionet,Saxophone and Oboe Tones Without Use of Reeds.

  Through a series of experiments in tone production with organ pipes, William E. Haskell, superintendent of the pipe organ department in the Estey ORgan company's plant, has produced results which heretofore have baffled the genius of men.  The inventions which produce these results he has protected by letters patent, which have been assigned to the Estey Organ company, and the patented improvements now enter into the manufacture of pipe organs at the Estey plant.  Mr. Haskell is the inventor of many improvements in pipe organs, but two in particular have been brought out in the past few months which constitute one of the greatest contributions to the art of tone production that the pipe organ industry has ever known.  They likewise constitute a powerful selling force, giving the Estey company something to talk about, in addition to many other notable features of their product, which no other concern possesses.
   The object of one of these latest inventions is to enable tones of a low pitch to be produced by shorter pipes than heretofore have been necessary.  From the earliest period in the history of organ pipes it has been well known that increasing the length of a pipe lowered the pitch and that a tone of the octave below a given note involved a pipe having double the speaking length.  This accoustic law has necessitated the use of very long pipes in order to produce notes of low pitch.  In most organs open pipes giving a 16 foot tone are employed, involving a speaking length of approximately 16 feet.  There are many situations, however, in which it is desired to used pipe organs in which there is not available room for pipes of such length, and the fact applies with still more force where it is desired to use 32 foot pipes.  Heretofore, therefore, in order to employ open pipes of greater length than the height of the apartment in which the organ is placed it has been necessary to miter the pipes, in other words make elbows in them and change their direction.  This is an expensive construction, taking up much room and appreciably affecting the quality of tone.
One of Mr. Haskell's inventions enables the production of notes of the desired low pitch with pipes about half the length of those heretofore used.  It obviates entirely the necessity for using long pipes and does away with the mitering process, at the same time preserving the desired tonal quality and giving added carying power  and sonority, the tone being notably more resonant and pervading than that of the conventional full-length pipes.  It is applicable to both wood and metal pipes.  As a result the company is able to manufacture organs of superior tone quality at a minimum of expense and to place insttruments of a desired capacity in quarters where it had been impossible to set them up heretofore on account of restricted space.
   In the case of a wood pipe, where a particular tone is desired a pipe made according to Mr. Haskell's patent is made the same length and width as if it were to be the full length as formerly.  It is divided longitudinally be means of a partition which extends across the pipe from the two side walls. This partition provides  two
chambers, front and rear.  The front or main chamber is open at the top, while the rear or compliemtary chamber is closed. The rear and side walls extend up to the top of the pipe, but the front wall is somewhat shorter. The partition may be carried down as low as the front of the plane of the mouth, so that the pitch of the

pipe can be as low, almost, as that of an open pipe of nearly twice the height.  The complimentary chamber need not be used the maximum length, but can of varying lengths, in which case pipes of the same length will give different pitches, depending on the length of the complimentary chambers.  Thus, the lower octave of a set of pipes can be composed of pipes of the same height which will give different pitches depending on the lengths of the compliemtary chambers.
   Besides the advantages already mentioned, the short pipe responds quicker than a long pipe of corresponding tone, because it contains less air to be put in vibration.  At the same time the new wood pipe has important structural and mechanical advantages.  With an ordinary open top pipe giving a 16 foot tone, for example, the walls must be of substantial thickness in order to avoid the absorption of the vibrations by the wood, thereby affecting the tone.  This renders the pipe of great weight and makes it difficult to handle and expensive to construct.  In the new pipes the partition strengths the pipe so that thinner wood can be employed.  The pipe is tuned by carying the length of the partition at the bottomm which is done by an ingenious contrivance.  Open metal pipes are also constructed on the same principle, but they are cylindrical and  are made of the usual metallic  composition used in making metal pipes.  Roughly described, the complimentary chamber consists of a closed top pipe and the main chamber consists of an open top pipe of larger diameter, one being placed inside the other.
  As is well known, stopped pipes, which are pipes with closed ends, of a given length produce tones of an octave below pipes of the same length, but they cannot well be substituted for the long open pipes with a view to saving space for the reason that stopped pipes give a different quality of tone from open pipes, with inferior carrying power.
  The other invention to which reference has been made is a metal pipe with qualifying tube, that is, a tube which qualifies the tone.  This pipe produces certain wind instrument tones which heretofore required the use of reeds and at the same time enables the production of tones of low pitch with short pipes, as in the case of the invention previously described.  It consists principally of a cylindrical open top pipe and an open bottom qualifying tube, or cap, surrounding the pipe at its upper end, the qualifying tube having a closed flat top and the area of the cross section of space between the tube and the pipe being substantially equal to the area of the cross section of the pipe.  This tube has a qualifying effect on the character of the tone, and by proper voicing produces tones identical with those of the clarionet.  Until now pipe organ makers never have been able to produce these tones without the employment of vibrating reeds.
   The so-called reed tones in pipe organs embrace clarionet, oboe, vox humana and trumpets, all heretofore produced by vibrating reeds, and they constitute a very necessary compliment of tones.  The reeds are easily affected by the weather, however, the metal tongues expanding with heat and producing a lower pitch, and contracting with the cold and producing a higher pitch, while the flue pipes are affected in exactly the opposite direction.  Thus they get out of tune and require more attnetion than do the other pipes.
   Mr. Haskell has succeeded in obtaining perfect clarionet, oboe and saxophone tones with the use of reeds, the most delightful ever prodced by a pipe organ, and he believes the time is not far distant when reeds will be eliminated in the production of the vox humana and trumpet tones.  The same principle of construction which this improvement in round metal pipes may be employed in wood pipes.  Mr. Haskell has been with the Estey company since coming from Philadelphia 10 years ago.
March 13, 1927


Expert Organ Maker Unconscious for Two Days

Many Inventions Patented by Him--Long Superintendent of Estey Organ Co. Pipe Organ Department.

  William Edward Haskell, 61, who in 1901 became superintendent of the Estey Organ Co.'s pipe organ department which the Estey company established at that time and who was instrumental in making it the largest pipe organ department in the world, died of cerebral hemmorhage about 5:30 o'clock at his home at 12 Chapin street.  Mr Haskell sustained his first shock in October, 1925, since which time he had not been able to engage in active work at the Estey plant, but he was retained by the company as a consultant.
  In January, 1925, he went to Florida, where his health improved during the rest of the winter.  He also spent the winter of 1925-26 in Florida, but remained at his home here last winter.  On Wednesday morning, May 4, he sustained a slight shock and on Friday, May 6, he sustained a severe shock about 6:00 o'clock and after which he was unconscoius, remaining so through another stroke Sunday at 10 a.m. and until his death.
   Mr. Haskell was born in Chicago Nov. 29, 1865, a son of Chalres S. and Ruth (Merrill) Haskell.  When he was 18 months old the family moved to Somerville, Mass., where they remained until he was six years of age.  Thence they went to Philadelphia, where the elder Mr. Haskell became manager of the Roosevelt Organ Co.'s pipe organ plant.  The son attended the public schools in Philadelphia and took a postgraduate high school course, and when he was about 17 years old he was employed as a carver for Pullman cars in the Wilmington, Del. car shops.

   When he was 18 years old he bagan learning the pipe organ trade under his father in Philadelphia.  On April 1, 1886 he married Miss Carrie Stevens Peddrock of the city and they went to Baltimore where Mr. Haskell finished learning his trade in the voicing department of the Baltimore plant of the Roosevelt Organ Co.
   After being in Baltimore for two and one-half years, Mr. and Mrs. Haskell and a daughter who had been born to them returned to Philadelphia.  Mr Haskell became associated with father, who had gone into business for himself in the making of pipe organs.  For a short time Mr. Haskell had his own factory in Philadelphia, and then came the Brattleboro opening.  He came here April 1, 1901, and for a few years the family lived in the house on Grove street now occupied by Godfrey Crosby.  Twenty-two years ago he bought the Rose White place on Chapin Street, also known as the Pullen place, which has since been the family home.
   Mr. Haskell not only was an authority on sound and an expert workman, but he was a mechanical  genius and a prolific inventor, and many of his patented inventions were of great value.  The harp stop and luminous console were among his inventions.  Another patented inventions was that whereby the same tone could be produced in a pipe one-half the length of the pipe formerly required, which resulted in a great saving in the space required by the completed organ.  He also patented devices for the automatic playing attachments and his genius extended to channels not affiliated with   organs.    At  one   time     he

owned the C.H. Eddy & Co. bottling works which was operated by one of his sons.  His organ patents are the property of the Estey Organ Co.
   In 1923 Mr. and Mrs. Haskell went to Europe for business and pleasure, and while there Mr. Haskell lectured in France at the University of Lille, also in London, on sound waves.  The editor of the Diapason, a leading  pipe organ journal, referred Mr. Haskell as being  25 years ahead of his time.  Previous to his European trip Mr. Haskell wrote a paper on The Organ, which he delivered before the American Guild of Organists at the Wanamaker store in Philadelphia.
   Mr. Haskell was a member of the Brattleboro lodge of Masons, Connecticut Valley Council, Fort Dummer chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Beaueant commandery of Knights Templar, Webster lodge of Perfection, and Vermont Consistory, 32nd degree.  He was a member of St. Michael's Episcopal church and of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  Although he never visited Germany he spoke Greman fluently.
  He leaves his wife and two daughters and two sons, Carrie, wife of William G. Duquette of Chicopee Falls, Mass., Elsie, wife of Frank E. Barber of Brattleboro, William E. Haskell, jr. of Springfield, Mass. and Merrill C. Haskell of Fort Pierce, Fla.  There are seven grandchildren,  Mrs. Resford Quimby of Berea College, Berey, Ky. and Elsie G. Duquette, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. William G. Duquette; Frank E., Lydia E. and Merrill H. Barber, children of Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Barber; and Susan and Mary Haskell, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Haskell, jr.
   A brother and four sisters also survive.  They are Charles E. Haskell of Brattleboro, employed by the Estey Organ Co.., Mrs. Harry Bromley of Orange, Mass., Mrs. Harry Wilkinson and Mrs. Robert Moore of Philadelphia and Mrs. Joseph Fitzpatrick of Camden, N.J.
   Mr. Haskell was a home loving man who found his greatest pleasure in his family circle.  He was a man of integrity, loyal to what he believed to be right and faithful to every trust.  He appreciated the best in music, the mechanics of the musical art making a special appeal to him.
  A largely attended funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock at St. Michael's Episcopal Church, of which he was a communicant.  Rev. Walter C. Bernard, rector, officiated.
 Members of the Knights Templar escorted the body from the home to the church, and used their ritual at the commital service.  Prelate Edwin P. Wood officiated. 
  The Estey Organ Co.'s plant, with which Mr. Haskell had been so long connected, closed at noon for the rest of the day, and a large number of employees attended the service.  There was a wreath of beautiful flowers.  The bearers were his two sons, Wlilliam E. Haskell, jr., and Merrill C. Haskell, also Frank E. Barber, William C. Duquette, Charles E. Haskell and Louis C. Stiff.  The burial took place in Morningside Cemetery.
   Those who attended the funeral from out of town included Mr. and Mrs. William G. Duquette and family of Chicopee Falls, Mass., Mr. and Mrs. William E. Haskell, jr., of Springfield, Mass., Mr. and Mrs. M.C. Haskell, Ft. Pierce, Fla., Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Haskell, Miss Gladys Haskell, Miss Clara Haskell of Springfield, Mass, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Peddrick of Northville, N.Y., Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wilkinson and Mrs. Robert Moore of Philadelphia, Mrs. Harry Bromley of Orange, N.J., and Mrs. Joseph Fitzpatrick or Camden, N.J.