The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 2080

Builder Identification

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 1912.

Additional Notes

  • From Organ Database Builders editor Stephen Hall, November 29, 2018. -

    Adolf Fosness was a Norwegian designer (not German, as reported by Eugene M. Nye, "Old Tracker Organs of the [Canadian] West Coast", The Tracker 3:4 (Summer, 1959), 5) and builder of organs in Vancouver and Victoria between 1909 and 1937. Family tradition has that numerous church organs on the west coast were designed and installed by him, although the OHS does not have record of any of them.

    Fosness was from Trondheim, Norway, he made his first trans-Atlantic journey to New York in 1900, possibly related to a patent application for a variable pitch pipe. He returned to Norway, and then sailed for Canada in 1912, landing in Quebec City. Two of his nine children, Klara and Thomas, travelled to Canada with him on that voyage, the two siblings remained in Canada and became citizens. He travelled on to the west coast of Canada and remained there for several years building and doing service work before returning to Norway in the 1930s. He made some efforts to bring the rest of the family to Canada, but was unable to do so. He left Canada in 1937 at age 82, returned to Norway and remained there for the duration of War World II. He arranged travel to return to Canada in 1949 when he was 94 years old, but died of pneumonia before making the trip.

    Source: Emails from Susanne Vaughn (granddaughter of Klara Fosness Read), received October 26 and 29, 2018.

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders,, rev. ed., by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1997). -

    Relocated an organ in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, 1912.

    The article in The Tracker gives further information, Fosness was a German organ builder who had settled in Victoria. The organ that he moved was a three-manual instrument of 24 ranks built in 1890 by Conacher & Company of England. It was built for St. James' Church in Victoria, and sold to St. Paul's Church when the former congregation built a new sanctuary. It had two 16' open Diapasons, so Fosness had a major task to relocate it. -Ed.


    • Elizabeth Towne Schmitt.
    • Eugene M. Nye, "Old Tracker Organs of the [Canadian] West Coast", The Tracker 3:4 (Summer, 1959 ), 5.

Database Entries

There are no entries in the database that describe organs by Adolph Fosness.

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