The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 1868

Builder Identification

Detroit, Michigan; Hartford, Connecticut, 7 years; Elmira, New York, 1909-1910; Van Nuys, California, 1916-1918; Chicago, Illinois, 1929; d. 1941

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). —

    Born November 10, 1871 in Michigan; attended school in Saginaw, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio; with Granville Wood & Son Organ Co. of Northville, Michigan; followed that firm to Detroit, C, when it was acquired by Farrand & Votey (reed and pipe organs), 1889; with Clough & Warren of Detroit, Michigan; a founder of the Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Connecticut, vice president, 7 years; with mining company in México, 1905-1908, with Hope-Jones Organ Co. of Elmira, New York, 1909-1910, president; with Kinetic Engineering of New York City, New York, then Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, president; with California Organ Co. of Van Nuys, California, 1916-1918, vice president, general manager; with W. W. Kimball of Chicago, Illinois; with Wurlitzer firm of North Tonawanda, New York, 1928- 1929; returned to Kimball, 1929, New York City, New York, representative; with Welte Organ Co. of New York, two years, vice president and general manager; associated with Aeolian-Votey firm of Garwood, New Jersey, 1927; associated with Ansley Radio Corporation of New York City, New York, (WQXR); died October 4, 1941 in Forest Hills [Queens, New York City], New York.

    Sources:

    • Raymond Biswanger.
    • The Bicentennial Tracker (Richmond, Va., The Organ Historical Society, 1976), 121.
    • The Diapason, January, 1910, page number not given;
      The Diapason December, 1916, 17;
      The Diapason June, 1925, 3;
      The Diapason October, 1927, 1;
      The Diapason December, 1928, 4;
      The DiapasonJune, 1929, 24;
      The Diapason August 1929, 31;
      The Diapason July, 1934, 6;
      The Diapason April, 1938, 27;
      The Diapason November, 1941, 3.
    • The American Organist March, 1926, 65.
    •  

  • Note from Builders editor Stephen Hall, December 29, 2017. —

    Robert Pier Elliot was born November 10, 1871 in Michigan; he attended school in Saginaw, Michigan and Columbus, Ohio. He began his career with the Granville Wood & Son Organ Co. of Northville, Michigan; and followed that firm when they relocated to Detroit, Michigan. The relocation was required because the Wood firm was acquired by the Farrand & Votey firm (makers of reed and pipe organs), in 1889. After the move, Elliott became part of the Clough & Warren division of Farrand & Votey of Detroit, Michigan.

    When the Austins left the Farrand & Votey firm, Elliot left with them and became one of the founders of the Austin Organ Co. of Hartford, Connecticut. He was vice president there for seven years (1898–1905). He left the company after a dispute over the board asking for Robert Hope-Jones resignation while he was out of town. Elliot left the organ building industry and worked with a mining company in Mexico, 1905-1908. Upon his return to the United States, he was invited to become head of the Hope-Jones Organ Co. of Elmira, New York. He was president of Hope-Jones from 1909 until its acquisition by Wurlitzer in 1910. After Hope-Jones closed, he established a new supplier firm, the Kinetic Engineering Co. of New York City, New York, and later Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was president of the Kinetic firm which manufactured blowers for organs.

    After leaving Kinetic, Elliot moved to the west coast and became an officer with the California Organ Co. of Van Nuys, California, in 1916 where he was vice president and general manager. The following year, the California Organ Co. was purchased by PhotoPlayer of San Francisco, and renamed Robert-Morton Co. The new company would build mostly theater organs in competition with Wurlitzer. Elliot stayed with the reorganized company, but grew increasingly uncomfortable with the lax financial practices of the firm. He left Robert-Morton in 1918, and started with the organ division of W. W. Kimball of Chicago, Illinois. He was briefly associated with the Aeolian-Votey firm of Garwood, New Jersey, 1927. He was with the Rudolph Wurlitzer Manufacturing Co. of North Tonawanda, New York, 1928-1929; but returned to Kimball in 1929, as their representative in New York City, New York. Kimball released him to the Welte Organ Co. of New York where he served two years as vice president and general manager. He stayed with Welte through its bankruptcy and re-organization, but left when the firm was purchased by Donald Trip in 1929. At age 58, he left the organ business altogether. He was associated with Ansley Radio Corporation of New York City, New York, (WQXR), New York's classical radio station. Elliot died October 4, 1941 in Forest Hills {Queens, New York City}, New York, one month before his 70th birthday.

    Sources:

Database Entries

There are no entries in the database that describe organs by Robert Pier Elliot.


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