The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 617

Builder Identification

El Cajon, California 1960s-ca. 1996.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, revised ed. 1997) —

    Lyle Blackinton & Associates, Inc. were active in El Cajon, California, (from the 1960s?); the firm was still active in 1996.


    • Jim Lewis.
    • American 0rganist Jan. 1983, p36, and May 1989,75.

  • From the OHS Database Builders Listing editor, November 7, 2016. —

    Lyle Blackinton & Associates, Inc. of El Cajon, California was a small firm on the west coast, better known for service work and rebuilding than construction of new instruments. Despite the small number of new instruments produced, it had a major impact on organbuilding by virtue of a new key action invented by Lyle Blackinton.

    The Blackinton action combined the traditional slider wind chest with the conveniences of an electric key action. The chest was identical to the mechanical key action instrument except for the redesigned pallet which now traveled vertically rather than pivoting from one end and was operated by an electrical rather than mechanical connection to the keyboard.1 This style of wind chest quickly became popular with many builders. The chests were lighter and smaller than the traditional electro-pneumatic chest, and were much simpler (and therefore cheaper and faster) to re-leather as the number of valves was greatly reduced.2


    1. Jason Barnsley, Slider Chests (article on Patrick Murphy website) accessed Nov. 7, 2016.
    2. Randal Dyer.

Database Entries

There are 11 entries in the database that describe organs by Lyle Blackinton & Associates, Inc.

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Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by Angelina Ngo