Homes Magazine - Page 54 - Rare Find - By John-John Williams IV - Baltimore at Home

Homes Magazine
- Page 54
Rare Find - By John-John Williams IV - Baltimore at Home

A key piece

This 100-year-old church organ adds interest to a home office

 

For Cockeysville resident Thomas Smith, a 100-year-old parlor organ in his home office provides solace and fond childhood memories.

 

“Seeing it reminds me of my mother and family,” Smith said. His late mother was a church organist and choir director for more than 50 years, and his sister plays, too.

 

“If one of them was home, one of them was usually playing the piano,” he recalled. “Depending on the mood, it was calming or uplifting.”

 

But it was his late aunt, Ianth Baker, who first owned the piece.

 

Although he doesn’t know how his aunt acquired the instrument, Smith remembers her playing it when he visited her home as a young boy. He knows that she had the instrument for more than 50 years before she died 12 years ago. She left it to his mother, who bequeathed it to him.

 

Over the years, Smith, a managing partner at a private equity firm, has attempted to piece together as many details of the organ’s origins as possible. He’s determined that the instrument was made by Weaver Organ and Piano, a York, Pa., company, in the early 1900s. The building that housed the business burned down last March in a deadly blaze that killed two firefighters.

 

And although he hasn’t had it appraised, he’s seen similar models in less-than-good condition priced around $8,000.

 

Smith has been most struck by the workmanship of the organ.

 

“It’s simple, yet has some ornate features and the original ivory keys,” he said. “It has some interesting carvings. It’s evident that there is a lot of craftsmanship with the woodworking.”

 

Though the family heirloom doesn’t often get played, Smith and his wife, Sassanova boutique owner Angela Tandy, spend plenty of time admiring the piece while they work.

 

“Between both of us, someone is usually there,” he said.

 

This century-old Weaver organ has been in Thomas Smith’s family for more than 50 years. photo by barbara haddock taylor