John Nagy '00M.A. | May 11, 2016
When Paul Fritts opened his own pipe-making shop in 1984, the organ building world took notice. At that time no other builder, from the large factories to the small artisanal shops, made its own pipes, but Fritts wasn’t satisfied with his suppliers.
Today, while a few American workshops have followed Fritts’ example, he and his craftsmen are still innovating — in this case by borrowing a technique used by leading European pipemakers. The Murdy Family Organ, on track to arrive at Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart in August 2016, will be the first in which Paul Fritts & Company Organ Builders will use metal cast on sand — a smooth layer of silica sand and peanut oil a few inches thick — rather than on linen or synthetic cloth.