The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 2

Builder Identification

Erie, Pennsylvania, 1875–1918.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1991). Edited for the revised OHS Online Database website, 2017. —

    A. B. Felgemaker Co. succeeded Derrick & Felgemaker; it was established by Augustus B. Felgemaker in Erie, Pennsylvania, 1875; the firm was acquired by the Tellers-Kent Organ Co. of Erie, Pennsylvania, 1918.

    Staff: F. A. Duncombe; Anton Gottfried; William C. Greenwood; Albert E. Kent; Derrick, Felgemaker, & Co.; Mathias P. Möller; William A. Sommerhoff; Heinrich (Henry) Tellers; Ignatius Tellers; Lamotte Wells; Harold Wilson; Henry W. Worley.

    Sources:
    • The Diapason, June 1918, 2.
    • Organ Handbook, (Organ Historical Society, 1985) 14.
    •  

  • From the OHS Database Builders Listing editor. Updated Jan. 16, 2016. —

    Silas Derrick and Augustus Felgemaker formed a partnership while both were in Buffalo, New York. Sometime around 1872/1873 the firm relocated to Erie, Pennsylvania.1 Derrick left the partnership in 1875; Felgemaker continued under his own name. Julius Felgemaker (brother of Augustus) operated a pipe shop in Erie from 1869 until 1894 which supplied pipes to the Felgemaker firm 2 and presumably to the predecessor partnership. That seems the most likely reason for the firm's relocation to Erie, or at least a major factor. Augustus Felgemaker died in 1905, but the firm continued under the same name until 1918.3 Felgemaker's widow, Julia Dickman Felgemaker lived until 1915.4 She may have owned the company or at least have held a controlling interest, and insisted on retaining the name even though the shop was likely operated by superintendent Albert Kent.

    The Tellers brothers, Henry and Ignatius, had left the firm in 1906 and formed a partnership with another Felgemaker staff member, William A. Sommerhoff, as Tellers-Sommerhoff. When Sommerhoff left in 1918, Albert Kent joined the firm and it became the Tellers-Kent Organ Co.5 Tellers-Kent acquired the Felgemaker firm in 1918,6 three years after Julia's death. Kent was still superintendent of the Felgemaker firm earlier that year, he may have owned the company at that point, or the heirs may have decided to sell the remaining assets once Kent left. The 1910 census shows Julia O. and Carlotta Felgemaker living in the same household as Julia D. — they are presumably the daughters of Augustus and Julia D.7 There are no Felgemakers listed in Erie in the 1930 census.8

    Sources:

    1. Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States, (Indiana University Press, 1975) p. 281.
    2. OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1991).
    3. Fox, A Guide to North American Organbuilders.
    4. "Julia D. Dickman Felgemaker," Find a Grave website, accessed Jan. 16, 2016, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=115677015.
    5. Elizabeth Towne Schmitt, "Tellers", in The Organ: An Encyclopedia edited by Douglas Bush & Richard Kassel (Utah: Psychology Press, 2006), p. 561.
    6. Schmitt, "Tellers".
    7. U.S. Census of 1910.
    8. U.S. Census of 1930.

  • For further information, see:

    Tellers-Kent Organ Co. and Derrick, Felgemaker, & Co.

  • Suggested further reading:

    Joseph Wykoff, "Derrick and Felgemaker Pipe Organ Company" article in his blog History and Memorabilia | Erie Pennsylvania
    www.historyandmemorabilia.org/2016/01/derrick-and-felgemaker-pipe-organ.html — Accessed March 10, 2016.

    Editor's Note: The article is well written and appears to be accurate, but Wykoff does not cite his sources. The article was reviewed by the Builders Listing editor and all information that the editor was able to confirm from other sources was correct.

Database Entries

There are 254 entries in the database that describe organs by A. B. Felgemaker Co.


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Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by William T. Van Pelt

Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by William T. Van Pelt

Nameplate. Photograph by Chad Boorsma

Right Drawknobs and Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by Ron Roaks