Organ Builders - New Build
We do not intend to list every organ builder in the world here, but list a few of the better known ones. Some popular organ builders have now retired, so some names to look out for in the second-hand market follow in the section devoted to them later.
Dean Organ Builders
Dean Organs from Bristol have been manufacturing and repairing hand-turned street and busker organs for more than 45 years. They also act as agents for European organ builders selling their street and busker organs from their retail shop The Music Box Shop in Whitchurch, near Bristol. Dean Organs can build you an organ from 14 notes upwards and can supply any of the playing methods mentioned above.
Hailing from Basingstoke, Paul McCarthy was one of the first builders of reasonably priced 20 note book playing organs and was responsible for introducing many people to this fascinating hobby in the 1980s. Paul has gone on to produce larger hand-turned organs with anything up to 4 registers and a smaller 14 note book playing organ, the Babe.
Rob Barker Organs
Rob Barker trained as a Church Organ builder, becoming a self-employed organ builder in 1989, sub-contracting at Alan Pell Music for many years before concentrating full time on his own projects on Alan’s retirement. Rob builds busker, street and fairground organs, and has one of the largest ranges . His small organ range includes 20, 31, and 42 note models but he will make you a bespoke instrument created for any budget, large or small. Rob builds paper roll, cardboard book or SD MIDI controlled organs and also Dual Format which combines MIDI and paper roll, thus giving you the best of both worlds. Advice may be given to amateur organ builders with practical help and parts supplied, as required.
Kevin Meayers started his business in 1984 in South London but the company are now based in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. Although the company mainly look after larger fairground and dance organs, they have produced a MIDI file playing street organ on a special request.
Raffin Organs was established in 1960 and is situated in Überlingen, a German town on the shores of Lake Constance. Their organ workshop has been making street organs and music rolls for more than 35 years and pride themselves on their high quality workmanship. They concentrate on organs of 20 and 31 notes but have many pipe rank combinations to choose from. One of the larger 31 note models has 6 register stops, including a trumpet rank. You can view the range on line and they also have a catalogue that you can request.
Orgelbau Meister Hofbauer
Hofbauer organs, based in Göttingen in the Lower Saxony region of Germany describe themselves as No 1 in the matter of innovation, choice of melodies and range of models. Hofbauer have been in the organ business since 1923. Their street organs are in the Harmonipan style, which is essentially more akin to a Victorian barrel organ with a rank of metal pipes visible up front. Scale sizes range from 20 to 54 notes, with all models having music produced by Mikrobox 2000, their in-house MIDI system. You can also bolt on percussion and a glokenspiel to various models. A catalogue is available to download.
Orgelbau Stüber Berlin
There is no place for the modern at Stüber organs. Stüber street organs continue the tradition of the old Berlin instruments, tonally, mechanically and in the highest standards of craftsmanship. They are proud of their attention to detail.
The instruments play by paper roll operating on the pneumatic system, i.e. no battery powered blower. Modern electronic gadgetry has no place in these Harmonipan organs, which are built to preserve the historical character of these instruments.