Utica, New York, ca.1905–1940s
Born in Germany; with Weigle firm in Germany; immigrated to the United States, 1893; with J.W. Steere & Sons of Springfield, Massachusetts, 1893; partner in Barnes & Buhl of Utica, New York, 1918; partner with Frank E. Blashfield in Buhl & Blashfield of Utica, New York, ca. 1920–1926; established Buhl Organ Co. of Utica, New York, 1926; vice president of Rochester Organ Co.,1929, a firm associated with the Buhl Organ Co.
Paul C. Buhl was born in Calw, Germany, on May 9, 1877. He apprenticed with the German organbuilder Friedrich Weigle. Around 1897 he immigrated to the United States and was employed by the Steere Organ Company of Springfield, Massachusetts. During his employment at Steere, he became friends with Albert L. Barnes, who would later be his business partner. In 1904 he was dismissed from his position as vice president and manager at a stockholders’ meeting (Barnes was dismissed at the same meeting), and in 1905 he moved to Utica, New York, where he formed an organbuilding partnership with Barnes in September 1905. Barnes committed suicide on June 20, 1906, by inhaling natural gas in the partnership’s factory.
The business was sold at auction on July 31, 1906, according to a notice dated August 4, 1906, in The Music Trade Review for August 11, 1906: “The organ business of Barnes & Buhl yesterday passed into the hands of the surviving partner of the firm, P. C. Buhl, who expects to continue it under the name of the Barnes & Buhl Organ Co. The business was sold at auction at the company's office, 204 Columbia street, Tuesday morning, Charles G. Irish acting as auctioneer. It was bid in by a third party, who acted for Mr. Buhl, and evidently turned it over to him.” Buhl continued the company’s operations under the name Barnes & Buhl Organ Co. According to Stephen Best, the firm was last listed in the Utica city directory for 1912, but David L. Junchen, The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, vol. 1 (Pasadena: Showcase Publications, 1985), 97, reproduces an ad for the Barnes & Buhl Organ Co. in the January 1915 issue of The Diapason. The firm later became Buhl & Blashfield and, in 1926, the Buhl Organ Company. Buhl retired from organbuilding in 1950 and sold his business to Harry A. Weston. Paul C. Buhl died in Utica, New York, on March 23, 1970 (Stephen Best; David H. Fox, A Guide to North American Organbuilders, rev. ed. [Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1997], 85, says March 30, 1970).
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