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Nutting, Rufus, II | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Nutting, Rufus, II

Historical Note:

Rufus Nutting began the making of reed organs among the first in the country. At that time each maker gave his instrument some special name and his was called the Aeolicon. It was largely copied from an English instrument but with improvements. An uncle in Brattleboro gave him room and use of power in his large cabinet factory and from this beginning several apprentices or employees of the shop were led also to make organs or small instruments called melodeons. These men separated and several of the great reed organ factories resulted.

The famous Estey factory is one of these which developed on the spot. The Burdette, the Carpenter, and several other noted organs had the same origin. He removed to Michigan in 1845 (along with his orphaned nephew John Keep Nutting) and soon after to Hudson, Ohio but returned to Randolph and for some years carried on a factory there. He received a patent (#5438) for his organ improvements. His brother, William, was also an organ maker, of some note.

Later he turned his attention to other inventions and was known as an Inventor. He died from indirect affects of injuries received in a runaway.

He married Sarah, daughter of Joseph Danforth and Lucinda Keep Nutting of Groton, Massachusetts. Sarah was his first-cousin Together they had seven children, all but Sarah Maria reaching adulthood.

Rufus' uncle was well-known educator and professor of Ancient Languages at Western Reserve College. He was the brother of noted medical missionary David Hubbard Nutting. His sister Mary Olivia Nutting was the long-time librarian at Holyoke, her alma mater.

Sources: Nutting, John Keep. Nutting genealogy: A record of some of the descendants of John Nutting, of Groton, Mass. C. W. Bardeen, 1908.

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