The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 1260

Builder Identification

Indianapolis, Indiana, 1875-1878; Boston, Massachusetts, 1878-c.1881.

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). Edited for the revised OHS Online Database website, 2017. -

    William Horatio Clarke was an organist and instructor in music, he also was a senior partner in two organ building firms, although it is not clear if he was involved in the actual building, or was the primary investor and executive for the firms. He was born March 8, 1840 in Newton, Massachusetts. He was the father of Edwin G., Ernest H., Herbert L., Lynn W., and William E. Clarke.

    Clark was an organist by age 16. He was superintendent of music instruction in Dayton, Ohio, c. 1871. He was in Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1873, occupation unknown. He established Clarke, Kinsley & Co. with Stephen P. Kinsley in Indianapolis, Indiana, 1874; the firm was renamed William H. Clarke & Co. after Kinsley left and returned to Boston. The firm continued from 1875 to about 1881.

    Clarke was in Boston, Massachusetts, by 1878, as an organist; he was a professor of music in Toronto, Canada, for four years (1886-1890?); and he was in Woburn, Massachusetts, by 1890. Clarke suffered a debilitating stroke in 1892; he died December 10, 1913 in Reading, Massachusetts.

    Staff: Stephen P. Kinsley, George R. Ellis

    Patent #122,879; January 23, 1872; pitch pipe.
    Patent #128,591; July 2, 1872; pitch pipe.
    Patent #199,795; January 29, 1878; stop action.


    • The Diapason January 1914, 1.
    • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 298.
    • Barbara Owen, The Organ in New England (Raleigh: Sunbury Press, 1979), 399.
    • Reading (Massachusetts)Chronicle, December 12 1913.
    • Stopt Diapason #44 (Hoffman Estates, IL: Newsletter of the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Organ Historical Society).

Database Entries

There are 9 entries in the database that describe organs by William H. Clarke (& Co.).

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