The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 1004

Builder Identification

Oberlin, Ohio, 1887.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991). -

    Patent awarded to Thaddeus Cahill, Oberlin, Ohio.

    Patent #359,842; March 22, 1887; organ.


    • Information taken from the text of a United States patent.

  • From Organ Database Builders editor Charles Eberline, April 1, 2018. -

    Thaddeus Cahill (born in Mount Zion, Iowa, June 18, 1867; died in New York, New York, April 12, 1934) was an American inventor.1 He is best known for his invention of the Telharmonium, an electromechanical keyboard instrument that Reynold Weidenaar characterized as "a precursor of the Hammond organ.”2 His first patent, granted in 1886, was for a wind-valve mechanism attached to an organ key to govern the loudness of the tone.3 In his third patent, granted in 1887, Cahill introduced a dynamic scale and invented an organ with a separate loudness manual on which to play this scale.4 None of his many other patents concern the organ.5


    1. Reynold Weidenaar, Magic Music from the Telharmonium (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1995), 5, 267; Reynold Weidenaar, "Telharmonium [Dynamophone],” in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd ed., ed. Charles Hiroshi Garrett (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 8:153.
    2. Weidenaar, "Telharmonium [Dynamophone],” 8:153. Weidenaar, Magic Music from the Telharmonium, gives a very detailed account of the history of the instrument. See especially pages 283-84 on the Telharmonium as a precursor of the Hammond organ.
    3. Thaddeus Cahill, "Organ,” U.S. Patent 345,028, filed August 14, 1885, and issued July 6, 1886, accessed March 9, 2018,; Weidenaar, Magic Music from the Telharmonium, 7. This patent is not listed in David H. Fox, "Cahill, Thaddeus,” in A Guide to North American Organbuilders, rev. ed. (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1997), 87.
    4. Thaddeus Cahill, "Organ,” U.S. Patent 359,842, filed June 5, 1886, and issued March 22, 1887, accessed March 9, 2018,; Weidenaar, Magic Music from the Telharmonium, 9-10.
    5. Cahill-s patents are listed in Weidenaar, Magic Music from the Telharmonium, 340-47. Their topics include piano action and typewriting machines, as well as patents relating to the Telharmonium.

Database Entries

There are no entries in the database that describe organs by Thaddeus Cahill.

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