Updated as of Nov 17, 2006 by Cy Roton
ACE TONE: Japanese, pronounced "Ace Tone"
ADVENT (Advent Organ Builders. Associated with MusiCom)
AHLBORN GALANTI: A division of Generalmusic Corp., producers of the Praeludium, Chronicler and Archive Series digital electronic organs. Ahlborn is a German company owned by Galanti,.
AIRLINE: the time-honored Montgomery Ward brand, built in Italy.
ALLEN: Jerry Markowitz' family owned, founded in late '30's. Produced the world's first digital electronic organ in 1970. Currently the largest producer of church organs. Also the only major organ company that is US owned.
AOB: Associated Organ Builders (Now Advent Organ Builders. Support from Second Wind/Britson Organworks)
ARIA: Korean church and home organs
ARP: Keyboards built in Newton, Mass., synthesizers and "stringers."
ARTISAN: Bob Eby's kit company, see also "Dorsett"(Now supplying MIDI kits and sound modules)
ARTISAN-CLASSIC: Canadian designer/builder of custom digital sampled organs as well as digital electronic components for pipe organs.
BALDWIN: The name "Baldwin" was reserved for grand pianos and full console organs --both church and home. From 1966, all of the instruments (including organs) built in the USA by Baldwin carried the BALDWIN nameplate. The names Acrosonic, Howard, Hamilton and Orgasonic endured to about 1975, but on small side-plaques. After 1984, the Baldwin name was applied to organs built outside the USA as well. See also "Howard" and "Orgasonic." Organ division has been sold.
BANTAM: marketed by Chesbro Music, Idaho Falls, ID.
BOHM: German firm, kit organ, sound much like Wersi.
BONTEMPI: Italian co., built some cute little "wonderfinger" home organs, some marketed by MIDCO in the '80's. Bontempi purchased Farfisa about 12 years ago.
BRADFORD: small church organ company located in city of the same name. Bradford builds high quality custom organs using Bradford University's new version of their high speed synthesis system which is very impressive sounding but expensive. The Bradford Company was recently taken over by Makin.
BRADFORD (USA): small chord organs marketed by CMI, Chicago.
BRITSON-AOB: AOB - Saville spin-off?
BUFFET: marketed by J.M.Greene Music, Don Mills, CA
CANTOR: built by Nelector BV, Veenendaal, Holland, mostly church organs.
CASIO: Major Japanese electronic music instrument manufacutre...anyone know of a Casio "organ?"
CAVENDISH: U.K. firm
CDX: Norlin Music, Inc. (abbrev. for "Cordovox"?)
CHAMBERLAIN: built keyboard instrument using magnetic tape sets, one for each note and each type of sound. (1962)
CHASE: U.S. church organ. Lancaster, CA.
CLASSIC: see ARTISAN-CLASSIC
CLAVIOLINE: French-built organ attachment for pianos, something like a Hammond Solovox.
COMPTON: U.K. firm. Used rotating electrostatic (as opposed to electromagnetic, like Hammond) generators. ..
CONCERTO: US firm that produces the world's first digital MIDI accordion.
CONN: div. of C.G. Conn band instrument co., Elkhart, IN., Major producer of theater organs, later bought by Kimball, Jasper, IN.
CONNSONATA: C.G. Conn's first organ product name; "Conn-Sonata..get it?
CONNSONETTE: one-manual, 25-note pedalboard version of Connsonata.
CONTENT: Dutch organs, using digital sampled M.A.S.S. technology.
COPEMAN HART: U.K. church organs
CRB BORSINI: marketed by Canada Music Supply, Montreal.
CRUMAR: Italian firm which pioneered use of Bucket Brigade Devices to produce electronic "strings."
DEVTRONIX: US kit and special organ circuits manufacturer.
DOMUS: Dutch (?) home organs. May have been built by Intercontinental Electronics, Italy.
DORSETT: built The Imperial (theatre-style) in Norman, OK. Robt. Eby sold Artisan to Dorsett Electronics (not certain of the inclusive dates, but it was for approximately 3 years in the late 50s or early 60s.) After Eby got the company back the Imperial model was the most popular kit model in the ensuing years. In addition, there was the York, Empress (2-manuals) and the Cinema, Emperor, Regal, and Oriental (3-manuals) in the theater line. The church line consisted of the Chapel (2-manual), and the 3-manual Sanctuary, Concert, and Classic (a drawknob console). The major difference between any of the models was the number of sets of tone generators in them.
ELECTONE: Yamaha organ model series.
ELECTROHOME (Canada) : large electronics and media conglomerate.Earlier tube models used (very unstable) neon lamp dividers, built analog (transistor divider) organs into the early 1970s. The solid state models had bad amplifiers. All models had a capacitive expression pedal that contained foam layers,which rotted away nicely. Their two position stop tabs (soft/loud) increased the flexibility of registration. Even after Electrohome went out of the organ business they continued to supply parts for older models at no charge. Consumer electronics division was sold to Mitsubishi and, typically, the Electrohome name and manufacturing operations disappeared.
ELECTRO-VOICE: Buchanan, MI, built the Series D electrostatic photocell on Dereux patents, also built small home organs using neon dividers.
ELECTRO-MUSIC: Original manufacturer of Leslie speakers..
ELEX: Excelsior Musical Instruments, New York, NY
ELKA: Italian firm, now owned by Generalmusic, in addition to organs bearing their own name, they built some low-end organs for Kimball and Gulbransen?
EMINENT: Product of BV Eminent, Holland, spinet and console home organs. (JG) (First organ I ever heard that used a Bucket Brigade Device: think Johannus Versteegt (later of Johannus) was their engineer.
ENCHANTER: Zachary model name.
ESTEY: bult legendary pipe organs in Brattleboro, VT, bought by Bert Minshall, Canadian promoter who brought out the Minshall (vacuum tube dividers) and Minshall-Estey (reed generator). Early Minshalls used RC oscillators (to save $$?), replaced by LC osc. later. Name now used by Fletcher Music for their Italian organs made by Orla.
EVERETT: MI based piano company: the Everett Orgatron was their baby, these patents later bought by Wurlitzer. Co. later bought by Hammond, who used Everett name on line of low-cost home organs.
FARFISA: Italian firm, they built combo and spinet models under the Farfisa and Bontempi names. Some early models marketed by CMI, owner of Lowrey. Bought by Galanti.
FATAR: Italian manufacturer of keyboards for organs, electronic pianos and electronic keyboards.
GALANTI: Italian firm, associated with Generalmusic Corp. Produces console clasical organs for the US market.
GALAXY: another Thomas product.
GEM: Italian firm, formerly used "GEM"
(Galanti Electro Musical) name. The company is now called Generalmusic Corp.
Now the largest musical instrument manufacturer in Europe. Bought out the Elka
company in the early 90's.
GIBSON: Gibson, like Fender, felt the need to compete in the Combo Organ market. The Gibson organ was manufactured by the Lowrey Organ Company and has the distinctive Lowrey sound.
GULBRANSEN: started as division of their piano co., organs originally designed by Dick Peterson, later bought by Seeburg then by CBS during the Great Conglomerate Wars. Produced a full line of home organs in the '60's,'70's and '80's. Name purchased by Mission Bay Investments in 1986. They used the Gulbransen name on Elka-produced organs.
HALIFAX: Halifax Musical Instruments, Syracuse, NY
HALLMAN: Canadian co., made electronically-amplified reed church organs in AGO consoles, also made pipe organs.
HAMMOND: Most famous for their electromagnetic rotating tone generators (replaced by electronics in the late 70's) and drawbar system. Manufacturer of the B3 Hammond of which over 270,000 units were sold from 1955 through 1975. Hammond now owned by Hammond Suzuki USA, a Japanese company. Hammond currently produces console and church organs for the US market.
HAVEN: product of Crumar, Italy, spinet home organs.
HAYGREN: Chicago co., built custom church organs and Haygren Harp, bell attachment for existing organs. Sol Haytow was one company founder and Dick Petersen may have been another (?)
HEATHKIT: Kit version of Thomas organs.
HEYLIGERS: Dutch organs.
HOHNER: They're famous for other instruments, from harmonicas to accordions. One of their older instruments was the "Multimonika", a two-manual accordion (if you can imagine such a beast) The upper manual was connected to a monophonic tone generator (a simple tube oscillator of some sort), while the lower manual was a conventional electric accordion. (JG) Being a former accordion player, this boggles my mind! Built the Wurlitzer/Hohner organ from 1982 through 1987.
HOWARD: Baldwin brand used on various second-line instruments, from pianos to church organs. Named after the company founder, Dwight Hamilton Baldwin. In about 1987, Generalmusic sold 300 organs to Baldwin with the Howard name, but partly because of pressure from the U.S. and Canadian Galanti dealers, they stopped supplying them at which time Viscount (Intercontinental) then began supplying similar sounding organs with the D.H. Baldwin nameplate.
IMPERIAL: 3-manual theater built by Dorsett electronics.
INTERCONTINENTAL: An Italian organ firm
that produces the Baldwin/Wurlitzer line of electronic pipe organs.
From the net, 3/03: INTERCONTINENTAL ELECTRONICS 47836 Mondaino (RN) - V. BELVEDERE FOGLIENSE tel: 0541 981700
JEN: Italian producer of small keyboards.
JOHANNUS: High-end electronic console organ builder. Dutch firm founded by Johannus Versteegt.
JUBAL: believe it had some connection with Haygren. (Name is a biblical reference.)
KAWAI: Japanese piano and organ manufacturer. I remember some of their "home" organs. . .(JG) They still build "high-tech" organs using the Kawai name and also own Lowrey Organ Co.
KEINLE: German church organ
KENTUCKY: U.K. firm, 3-channel, "Rotatone" speaker...
KIMBALL: The Kimball name goes way back, being a Chicago-based pipe organ and piano builder (W.W. Kimball) who got in financial straits and firm was bought by the Habig family of Jasper, IN who built the autochord organs. One of the largest producer of electronic organs in the 1960's and 1970's.
KINSMAN: Inexpensive organs from the '50's.(the Kinsman "Carlyle" model was one of the first organs to have automatic rhythm) (JG) Kinsman used neon dividers driven by a tube master oscillator, developed the Select-A-Rhythm which later appeared on Seeburgs and Gulbransens. Another company in financial distress, bought lock, stock and barrel by Seeburg.
KORG: Japanese firm, builds professional keyboards and some "combo" organs.
KURODATONE: Japanese? (JG) I think so; sorta sounds like a corrosive chemical, perhaps related to Acetone?
LESLIE: originator of rotating speakers for electronic organs. Bought by CBS during the Great Conglomerate Wars, later became division of Hammond. Still in production and currently owned and operated by Hammond Suzuki USA, a Japanese company.
LINTON: marketed by J. M. Greene Music, Canada
LIVINGSTON: built in St. Albans, UK, one and two manual church organs.
LOWREY: Wide range of instruments, with emphasis on home organs using frequency dividers before going into digital designs. (JG) The name goes back to Chicago industrialist Frederick Lowrey who funded a lab to develop an organ (one of the first products was the Lowrey Organo, available as either an add-on or built into a piano.) Became div. of Chicago Musical Instrument (Gibson guitars, Olds band instruments, etc.), then Norlin Corp. Were the world's largest producer of electronic organs in the 1960's and 1970's. Became part of Kawai on 1990.
MAGNAVOX: famous radio-tv maker, built transistor frequency divider organs for several years. (JG) My dad worked for their competitor, Capehart-Farnsworth right around the corner in Ft. Wayne, IN and always referred to them as "Maggotbox."
MAGNUS: Acoustic reed organ manufacturer, also built very low-end neon divider "organs."
MAKIN: U.K. firm, Makin was originally electronic division of John Compton Pipe Organ Company which started producing electrostatic organs ithe 1920s. Makin in now owned solely by Johannus, and now have Johannus systems only.
MANSONIC Low-end line of Johannus.
MELLOTRON: tape-loop-based effects machine, based on Chamberlain design. (1964) See also Novatron.
MELO-SONIC: U.S. chord organs, marketed by Whippany Melo-Sonic, Fairfield, NJ. Model names included: Satellite, Whip, Constellation, Metro, Pinto.
MINSHALL: founded by Canadian Bert Minshall, built organs in former pipe organ factory in Vermont. See Estey.
MONARKE: Large, semi-custom classical, a division of Johannus parent company.
MOOG: American synth. builder, name bought by CMI (Norlin Music.)
MULTIVOX: small home organs marketed by Sorkin Music, Hauppauge, NY.
MUSICRAFT : Kit organ sold by National Sonics Corp, Sunnyvale, CA. Also offered an Orch. Bell kit and a Leslie knock-off.
NATIONAL: A Matshusita brand. The Panasonic brand is known as "National" in some countries.
NORWICH: small church organ company located in city of the same name, builds a standard line of organs in typical British style... not sure of their technology.
NOVACHORD: An early Hammond instrument, using tubes instead of tone generators. Had a single piano-style keyboard. (JG) Remember Milt Herth playing the Novachord and the Hammond organ? What a beast: took two men and a boy to raise the tone generator to the service position!
NOVATRON: see Chamberlain and Mellotron. (1979)
OPTIGAN: Used rotating photoelectric generators (analog waveforms printed on plastic discs, scanned by a photocell). Not the first of its type--a man named Welte from Germany claims that honor. Marketed through K Mart and WoolCo, A div. of Mattel at one time. Fascinating, low-end technology!
ORGANETTE: Allen brand of early spinet organ
ORGANIZER: Crumar tradename
ORGANO: Made by Lowrey. This was another early keyboard instrument that clamped on the front of a piano. Also available built into some makes of acoustic pianos.
ORGASONIC: The "Orgasonic" name came into being in 1953 with the introduction of Baldwin's first spinet organ, the Model 40. From 1953 to (about) 1966 all non-console organs (i.e. spinets) were marketed as "Orgasonic" and on a small side-plaque "Built by Baldwin."
ORGATRON: see Everett and Wurlitzer.
ORLA: Italian producer of spinet organs. Have produced low end organs for Hammond, Lowrey, Baldwin and Fletcher Music as well as Orla organs sold in Europe.
PENNCREST: marketed by J. C. Penney, who else! Am not sure who the builder was.
PHILICORDA: A product of Philips, Holland, spinet home organs.
Phoenix Organs: Phoenix is a high-end custom
built digital organ using brand new, exclusive
system that was designed from a blank piece of paper. Developed and built in UK.
RANGERTONE: Vaguely remember this one. Did this instrument involve magnetically driven tuning forks?
RIHA: product of Benelux Musical, Holland, spinet home organs.
ROBB WAVE: Canadian builder, (patent 1928) used photographed waveforms on metal disks picked up by an electromagnetic head and amplified. The company operated until 1937. The depression did it in.
RODGERS: One of the two major US producers of church organs. Named after Rodgers Jenkins, Tektronix engineer and one of firm's founders, funded by owners of Tektronix. Later bought by CBS, Steinway Properties, etc., now a division of Roland of Japan.
ROLAND: One of the world's leading producers of electronic musical instruments with headquarters in Japan. As of 1996, Roland builds and markets line of home organs dubbed "Atellier". Roland also owns Rodgers Organ Company.
SAVILLE: (JG) Founded about 1960 by Mr. Saville, built custom and standard models, mostly classic style, used multiple sets of r.c. transistor oscillators.
SCHAFER & SONS: California firm, marketed home and church organs built for them by organ companies.
SCHOBER: Kit organs, designed by Richard H. Dorf, produced a "church" organ, a "theater" model, and a "home" spinet model with autochord. Used some Baldwin patents under license.
SECOND WIND (associated with Associated Organ Builders of Auburn, WA and Britson Organworks)
SEEBURG: Seeburg was (is?) a jukebox and/or vending machine company that ventured out into organs. See Gulbransen and Kinsman. In early days, Seeburg built band organs.
SEIL: Previous Italian keyboard manufacturer which was purchased in 1990 by Roland. There plant is now a Roland plant.
SHAW: Canadian church organ, uses a multitude of individually amplified speakers to minimize intermodulation distortion effects between notes and stops.
SILVERTONE: a Sears brand, (JG) the original Silvertones were built by Allen (!!) and were basically their Organette spinet, slightly stripped down. Later organs were built by Thomas, which made good sense as TH had been bought by Pacific Mercury electronics who made Silvertone radios, tv's. Somehow, the names "Warwick Electronics" and "Whirlpool" are mixed up in Thomas' company history but am not sure how, or in what order. Anyone know?
SOLINA: Manufacturers Center, Holland.
SOLOVOX: a Hammond product. Monophonic keyboard that clamped on to a piano and provided several tonalities (freq. dividers, switched filter tone forming circuits) (JG) The Solovox design was used later by Hammond in the S-series chord organs and the RT-series Solo Pedal Unit.
SONORA: a California co. was owned by Mad Man Muntz, the Used Car King-cum-television maker. Low-end instruments using neon dividers, their logo showed a golden bell and the motto "Clear as a bell."
STORY & CLARK: Acoustic piano maker, bought by CMI (owner of Lowrey) during the Great Conglomerate Wars; built the Lowrey piano line while the Lowrey plant built the Story & Clark organ. Before CMI purchase, built some amplified acoustic pianos, tradenamed "StoryTone."
SUPERNOVA: Syn-Cordion, Long Island City, NY
SULTAN: by Ketron Labs, an Italian firm that produces organ and accordion accompaniment units and keyboards.
TECHNICS: A world-wide producer of electronic, high-tech, keyboards and organs. A division of Matsushita of Japan.
THOMAS: Wide range of instruments, similar to Lowrey and Kimball. This was the organ that Lawrence Welk pitched on his show, and was also the model that Heathkit sold kit versions of. (JG) The company was originally the idea of Thomas I. George of California.
VAN DER POEL: Custom-made church organs made in the Netherlands by Adriaan van der Poel.
VISCOUNT: Builds church organs, electronic pianos and modules using digital technology, believe firm is owned by one of the Galanti family.
VOX: Original Vox's came from the UK, brand name made popular by the Beatles, later were built by Thomas as their low-end line.
WALKER: U.S. church organ, company makes speakers for other e-orgs. They also have a vast library of sampled pipes which many pipe organ makers use as part of their original equipment. Walker started out supplying 32's for pedal divisions. But the quality of his samples and his knowledge of whose pipes to sample have encouraged many pipe builders to use his reeds, string and flute celestes, chimes and more, including theater organ stops. They currently produce the electronics for Wicks Electronic organs.
WARDS AIRLINE: see "Airline," above.
WEBCOR: Webster-Chicago Corp., also built first magnetic wire recorders after WW II.
WELSON: Great West Imports, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
WERSI: Kit organs from Germany. Cutting-edge stuff for its day. Went from analog to digital around 1990 or so. Currently sell assembled organs and keyboards.
WESLEY: a Johannus brand.
WHITEHALL: U.K. combo organ.
WHIPPANY: USA, built low-end home organs, rhythm units.
WICKS: Highland, IL pipe organ builder, recently entered digital church organ field.
WURLITZER: Wide variety of instruments, from inexpensive home units to three-manual church and theaters. Their first electronic organs used an interesting electrostatic reed system keyed on by a electromagnetic pallette, ala pipe organs, replaced by free-running reeds with signal-keyed outputs. One of the leading manufacturers of home organs in the 70's and 80's. Were purchased by Baldwin and the name was used used on Italian-made church organs. The name and product line was eliminated in 1996.
WYVERN: U.K. church organ firm
YAMAHA: Japanese organ and piano (and trumpet, and clarinet, and motorcycle, and jet ski, and power generator manufacturer. Interesting multi-level adjustable volume stop tabs on some of their organs, also makes a full line of electronic instruments, including keyboards, such as the famous DX-7 and others.
ZACHARY: (JG) I have a sales brochure on the ZA Enchanter, a one-manual built by Zachary Organ, Parsippany, NJ, a division of Artisan Electronics Corp.
ZIMMER: pipe organ builder with some all-electronic models.
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