The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 24

Builder Identification

San Francisco, California, 1918.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1991). Edited for the revised OHS Online Database website, 2017. -

    With the American Photo-Player firm of San Francisco, California, 1918; associated with Wicks Pipe Organ Co. of Highland, Illinois.


    • The Diapason October 1918, 7.

  • From the OHS Database Builders Listing editor, May 20, 2016. -

    American Photo Player Co. was an early manufacture of theater organs. Based in Berkeley, California , the firm began manufacturing FotoPlayer brand theater organs circa 1912. The firm acquired the California Organ company of Van Nuys, California in 1917, which became the Robert-Morton Co, a wholly owned subsidiary. The new joint company had two manufacturing locations: Photo-Player continued to build FotoPlayer unit organs in Berkeley while the Van Nuys plant built the larger instruments under the Robert-Morton name.

    The joint companies had plenty of orders, but were under capitalized, and thus were frequently forced to shut down when they were unable to make payroll. During this period Photo-Player president Harold Werner sub-contracted some orders to the Wicks firm of Highland, Illinois. Wicks built the instruments and shipped them to California where the Robert-Morton nameplate was attached.1

    A. L. Abrams was a vice president of American Photo-Player during this period.2 He presumably acted as the liaison with the Wicks firm when these transactions were made.


    1. "History of the Robert Morton Unit Organ" a supplementary booklet distributed with the September 1966 issue of The Console magazine, edited and published by Tom B'hend.
    2. John C. Freund, "Robert-Morton Co.� The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries, 1922 Edition. (The Music Trades Company. New York City, 1922), 222.


  • For more information on the two companies, see American Photo-Player and
    Wicks Pipe Organ Co.

Database Entries

There are no entries in the database that describe organs by A. L. Abrams.

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