Pekin, Illinois 1902-1936; Succeeded Hinners & Albertsen
From the OHS PC Database Builders Listing editor, Mar 20, 2016 -
After working three years at Mason and Hamlin of Chicago, Illinois, John Hinners had mastered the craft of building reed organs, and set out on his own. He established the Perfection Organ Company in Pekin, Illinois in 1879 to build reed organs. He initially worked from a back room of local businessman Fred Schaefer's building, apparently as a subsidiary firm for Schaefer who sold pianos and reed organs as one line of business among many. When Schaefer divested himself of musical instrument sales and manufacture, Hinners became a separate entity keeping the piano sales and reed organ manufacture and sales portion of the business. It became Hinners and Fink when J. J. Fink became a partner in 1881. Ubbo Albertsen bought out Fink's interests in the company as well as allother suppliers of capital in 1886, and the firm became Hinners and Albertsen Organ Company.1 The firm began making pipe organs around 1890. This date coincides with the hiring of Gilbert Skaggs, a local independent organ builder. 2
Albertsen retired in 1902, the firm was incorporated as the Hinners organ company. Jacob Roelf became president when John Hinners died in 1906. John's son, Arthur Hinners, took over the firm in 1912 and remained until it stopped production in 1936. He became a sales representative for the Wicks Organ Co. of Highland Illinois.3
Hinners at first purchased their metal pipes from the A. Gottfried Company of Erie, Pennsylvania; in the early 1920s they hired two Gottfried employees and set them up in the Hinners factory as the "Illinois Organ Supply Company", selling flue and reed pipes to the trade, including Kilgen, Wangerin, and of course Hinners.4
Hinners was known for high-quality workmanship,5 their case work and consoles were noted for their elegance. This was true for their stock models as well as their custom jobs. Hinners had been a carpenter and blindmaker6 before becoming an organbuilder, and apparently felt every job had to be finished to the same standard. They were able to hold prices low, essentially selling wholesale as they employeed no sales representatives. Stock models were sold by catalogues printed in both English and German. Factory workers installed the organs.7
The majority of Hinners' organs were two manual tracker action instruments, although the firm used tubular pneumatic for a few instruments starting in 1910. The firm also used a variety of electro-pneumatic actions, including slider chests with electro-pneumatic pull-downs, and combinations of ventil and unit chests. The company's attempts with cone-chests and pitman chests were not succesful, as the staff was not familiar with their contruction.8
The firm manufactured a total of about 10,000 reed organs. 9 The opus numbers for their pipe organs go up to 3,097 but that includes rebuilds and enlargements, their total number of organs built is estimated to be approximately 2,000. The majority of these organs were stock models, mostly two-manual tracker action instruments, although they also built one manuals with divided keyboards. They built some custom organs, including several three-manuals and two four-manual organs. 10The firm stopped building pipe organs in 1936, but continued as a service firm until 1942.11
From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1991). -
Succeeded Hinners & Albertsen (reed and pipe organs); established by John Hinners in Pekin, Illinois, 1902; pipe organ production ended in 1936; reed organ business acquired by Louis C. Moschel.
Staff: August Becker; E. G. Beitel; Wille Birkenbusch; F. B. Blume; George Buhs; Frank Carney; Thomas Carney; Perry Cozatt; Frederick R. Durst; Val P. Durst; Alfred Gautschi; Paul Goll; Anton Gottfried; George A. Hallwachs; (Frank Harris?); Arthur W. Hinners; C. J. Hodapp; George Hofferbert; Julius Jaekel; D. Johnson; Theodore Johnson; Henry Jost; Robert Kassel; Oscar Kiensley; Fred A. Koch; Fred Krebs; Philip Kriegsman; O. G. Malmquest; Henry Mauth; Louis C. Moschel; Ferd Muehlenbrink; Rudolph Nedderman; J. W. Noe; Pipe Organ Service Co.; Alfred Pitts; Arthur Pitts; Frank J. Pitts; Fred F. Pitts; William M. Pitts; Henry Poppenga; Philip Reinhardt, Jr.; William A. Rolf; Heilo J. Rust; E. B. Sanborn; Charles Sassman; Adam Schantz; John Schwinn; Henry Schroeder; Otto Sior; Jacob Sipfle; Gilbert B. Skaggs; C. Steinbauer; William Van Boeckman; Edward Veerman; John Vinyard; Lamotte Wells.
For further information, see Hinners & Albertsen.