Henri Bendel Store - New York City
 
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Henri Bendel Store

712 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street
New York, N.Y. 10019


Organ Specifications:
712 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street (since 1991)
• none
10-12 West 57th Street (1912-1991)
II/7 "Style RJ11" Wurlitzer, Op. 2023 (1929)



Henri Bendel Store (1912) - New York City  
10-12 West 57th Street (1912)  
   
Henri Bendel (1868-1936) was a fashion designer who founded an upscale women's fashion company bearing his name in New York City. A native of Vermillionville, La., Bendel married Blanche Lehman in 1894. He established a millinery shop in Morgan City, La., but after it burned down, Bendel and his wife moved to New York City. Blanche Bendel died shortly afterward, but Bendel never remarried.

Bendel remained in New York and opened a successful millinery shop on Ninth Street in Greenwich Village that catered to the wealthy upper class. Besides offering custom-made dresses, the French-speaking Bendel imported fashions from Paris. In 1913, Bendel built a store at 10 West 57th Street, which was closer to the opulent Fifth Avenue mansions and nearby luxury hotels. As other fashion houses opened in the area, 57th Street became one of the premier shopping destinations in the city. Bendel's was the first to introduce the young designer Coco Chanel to the United States, the first to stage a fashion show in New York, and the first to design a complete wardrobe of exclusive fragrances to suit the many facets of a woman's mood and lifestyle. Henri Bendel was known as a generous employer. In 1923 he gave his employees a forty-five percent equity in the business, a gift with a book value at the time of $1.8 million. Henri Bendel moved to its current location at 712 Fifth Avenue near 56th Street in 1990. The store is located in two adjacent landmark buildings: the Rizzoli Building (712 Fifth Avenue) and Coty Building (714 Fifth Avenue), and a new five-story building. 

Henri Bendel owned several residences, including a waterfront mansion at Kings Point, Long Island. Built in 1916, the house was designed by Henry Otis Chapman, with landscaping by Charles Wellford Leavitt. Bendel sold this property in 1923, to automobile pioneer Walter Chrysler, and the mansion exists today as Wiley Hall, an administration building at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. In 1927, Bendel acquired the former Walnut Grove Plantation along the Vermilion River in Louisiana, and built a house there that he called Camellia Lodge. That property was later sold and subdivided; it is known today as Bendel Gardens. In the 1920s, Bendel also built a mansion on a hill overlooking Laurel Lake in Stamford, Conn.

Henri Bendel died suddenly on March 22, 1936, at his home at 399 Park Avenue in Manhattan.
         
  Wurlitzer Unit Orchestra "Style RJ11" (courtesy Jeff Weiler)
Wurlitzer Style RJ11
Wurlitzer Organ Company
North Tonawanda, N.Y. – Opus 2023 (1929)
Electro-pneumatic action
Style RJ11
2 manuals, 7 ranks, 3 tuned percussions, straight console



In the Fur Salon of the Henri Bendel store on West 57th Street there was an organ built in 1929 by the Wurlitzer Organ Company. Known as a "Style RJ11," the organ was described in a Wurlitzer brochure as having a "console fitted with an automatic attachment so that the instrument is playable by means of a paper music roll as well as available for hand playing." This organ has a Wurlitzer factory date of February 4, 1929.

At an unknown time, this organ was moved to the Perkins Funeral Home on West 145th Street.
           
Pedal – 32 notes
16
  Tibia Clausa
8
  Oboe Horn
16
  Bourdon
8
  Cello
8
  Diapason
8
  Flute
8
  Tibia Clausa      

   

   
Accompaniment (Manual I) – 61 notes
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Piccolo
8
  Tibia Clausa
4
  Salicet
8
  Oboe Horn
4
  Octave Celeste
8
  Salicional
4
  Flute
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
  Chrysoglott
8
  Flute
   
8
  Vox Humana
  5 Adjustable Combination Pistons
           
Solo (Manual II) – 61 notes
16
  Open Diapason [TC]
4
  Octave
16
  Tibia Clausa
4
  Piccolo
16
  Oboe Horn [TC]
4
  Salicet
16
  Contra Viole [TC]
4
  Octave Celeste
16
  Vox Humana [TC]
4
  Flute
8
  Open Diapason
4
  Vox Humana
8
  Tibia Clausa
  Cathedral Chimes
8
  Oboe Horn
  Xylophone
8
  Salicional
  Chrysoglott
8
  Voix Celeste [TC]
   
8
  Flute
  5 Adjustable Combination Pistons
8
  Vox Humana
   

   

   
General
    One Expression Pedal  
    One Crescendo Pedal  
    One General Tremulant  
           
Stop Analysis
8
  Open Diapason
61 pipes
 
16
  Tibia Clausa
85 pipes
 
8
  Oboe Horn
61 pipes
 
8
  Salicional
73 pipes
 
4
  Voix Celeste
49 pipes
 
16
  Flute
85 pipes
 
8
  Vox Humana
61 pipes
 
    Cathedral Chimes
18 notes
 
    Xylophone
37 notes
 
    Harp Chrysoglott
49 notes
 
           
Sources:
     "500 Attend Rites for Henri Bendel," The New York Times (Mar. 26, 1936).
     "Henri Bendel, 89, Head of Store And Founder of Belgian Shoes," The New York Times (Sep. 22, 1997).
     "Henri Bendel Left $200,000 to an Aide," The New York Times (Apr. 1, 1936).
     Junchen, David L., comp. and ed. by Jeff Weiler. The WurliTzer Pipe Organ – An Illustrated History. Chicago: The American Theatre Organ Society, 2005.
     Kaufmann, Preston J. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 3. Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1995.
     "Review of the Day in Reality Market," The New York Times (Mar. 5, 1929).
     Specification of Wurlitzer Organ Co. Style RJ11 Residence Organ. Published by Wurlitzer Organ Company. Courtesy James Lewis.
     "The Real Estate Field," The New York Times (Feb. 11, 1916).
     "Towering Lofts in Fifty-Seventh Street Indicate Rapidity of Business Invasion," The New York Times (Aug. 25, 1912).

Illustrations:
     Henri Bendel web site: http://www.henribendel.com/
     Kaufmann, Preston J. Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. 3. Wurlitzer Style RJ11 console.
     Histoire de Parfums web site: http://www.histoiresdeparfums.com. Exterior.
     The New York Times (Aug. 25, 1912). Drawing of building at 10-12 West 57th Street, New York City.