What are bellows?

This image, taken during the restoration process in Germany, shows the organ’s bellows at the far left, operated by a member of the restoration team while another team member plays at the console. The bellows are essentially large, folded leather sacks. They open to fill with air, then close to force air through the wind trunk to the organ’s wind chest and pipes.

These authentic 18th-century bellows are original to the organ, and can be operated either by foot pedals or by an electric fan. Now installed in a small room adjacent to the Fountain Court, they can frequently be seen during performances and demonstrations.

Photo courtesy of the Eastman School of Music