The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 6095

Builder Identification

Erie, Pennsylvania, 1918-1933.

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 online database. -

    Tellers-Kent Organ Co. was the successor to the Tellers-Sommerhoff firm; it was a partnership of the brothers Henry Tellers and Ignatius Tellers with Albert E. Kent in Erie, Pennsylvania. The new firm was formed by 1918; and acquired the A. B. Felgemaker firm of Erie, Pennsylvania, in 1918 [Kent was the foreman of the Felgemaker firm up until that time.] Tellers-Kent went bankrupt November 22, 1933.

    Staff: Wilson R. Barry; J. A. Dahlstedt; Mark B. Petersen; Herman L. Schlicker; Herman J. Tellers [the younger Herman, grandson of the first. -Ed.]

    Sources:

    • The Diapason, April 1918:8.
    • The Diapason, December 1921, 22.
    • The Diapason, January 1934, 1.
    • Piano and Organ Purchaser-s Guide, Purchaser-s Guide to the Music Industries, (New York: Music Trades).

  • From Organ Database Builders editor Stephen Hall, September 1, 2015. -

    Three Felgemaker staff members, William A. Sommerhoff, and brothers Henry and Ignatius Tellers left the Felgemaker firm in 1906 and formed a partnership as Tellers-Sommerhoff. When Sommerhoff left in 1918, Albert Kent joined the firm the same year and it became the Tellers-Kent Organ Co. The new partnership acquired the Felgemaker firm in 1918. Kent was still superintendent of the Felgemaker firm earlier that year, he may have owned the company at that point, or the heirs may have decided to sell the remaining assets once Kent left. (see A.B. Felgemaker for more details)

    The Tellers-Kent firm did well in the robust economy following the first World War, and through the 1920s. Their surviving instruments show the company building in the fashion of the day: electro-pneumatic chests with extended trebles (73 notes per rank), multiple unison flue stops and colorful reeds, but with only minimal chorus development, and full complement of couplers.

    Prosperity came to an end with the stock market crash of 1929, and bank failures of the early 1930s. Few churches could afford a new organ, and business slowed for all builders. Tellers-Kent finally declared bankruptcy in November of 1933. We have no record of Albert Kent's activities after the firm closed, but members of the Tellers family continued doing service work through the rest of the 1930s and the war years of the 1940s. Finally, with the lifting of wartime restrictions in 1945, Henry Tellers' son, Herman J. Tellers, was able to re-establish the family business as the Tellers Organ Company.

  • The Tellers family continued doing organ service after the partnership was dissolved. After wartime restrictions were lifted in 1945, Herman J. Tellers established Tellers Organ Company, and building new organs resumed.

    Source:

    • Phone conversation with Paul Fischer, Sept 1, 2015. (Fischer had been superintendent of the Tellers factory until it closed in 1971.)

Database Entries

There are 31 entries in the database that describe organs by Tellers-Kent Organ Co.


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