John Abbey (1785-1859) was an English organ builder, who went to Paris in 1825 on the invitation of Sébastien Érard, the celebrated harp and pianoforte maker, to work upon several organs which Érard had designed, among others an organ for the Exhibition of the Productions of National Industry in 1827 which won the Grand médaille d’or.
Abbey became soon a leading organ builder in France and elsewhere. In Paris, he built choir organs for St. Eustache, Saint-Nicholas-des-Champs, St. Elizabeth, St. Médard, St. Etienne du Mont, and St. Thomas d’Aquin. He repaired and enlarged organs in the churches of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont, Saint-Philippe du Roule, Notrfe Dame de l’Assumption, and St. Louis d'Antin. The firm was well-known in the 1920’s as builder of cinema-organs.
After his death in 1859, the firm was continued by his two sons, Eugène (Edwin) Abbey (1840-1895) and John Albert Abbey (1843-1930). Eugène's son John-Marie Abbey (1886-1931) was the last builder in the family; the firm closed in 1935.
John Abbey introduced several innovative techniques from England, among which the swell case (!), a balanced key-action, pedal controls for changing the stops, free reeds, the Dulciana stop and an improved winding system (bellows invented by Cummins).
Abbey also built the first choir organ in Paris (at St. Etienne-du-Mont).
In Paris, there are still a few organs built by the Abbey firm, the most important being the organ in St Vincent-de-Paul in Clichy-la-Garenne (a suburb of Paris), which is still in its original state.
Other organs in Paris of Abbey:
• Saint-Anne-de-la-maison-blanche (1927) III/37
• Saint Roch: little organ of the Chapelle de la vierge (1830) I/5
• Saint Germain-l'Auxerrois: choir organ (1838) II/12
• Saint-Denis-de-la-chapelle (1838, 1901) II/15
• Chapelle du lycée Henri IV (1845) I/7
• l'église de L'immaculée conception (1881) II/30
• Notre-dame-de-Lorette choir organ (1887) II/14
• l'église reformée de Paris-Luxembourg (1892) II/23
• Chapelle du collège et lycée Gerson (1892) II/16
• Chapelle du Corpus-Christi (1898) II/24
• Notre-dame-de-bonne-nouvelle (end of 19th century) II/19
• l'ancienne église Saint-françois-de-sales (around 1900) III/31
• Saint-Philippe du Roule(1922) (renovation)