Pipe Organ Database

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William Pilcher View Extant Instruments View Instruments


St. Louis MO, 1852-1863; 1874-1878; Chicago, IL 1863-1874; New Orleans, LA 1896-1912
Classification: Builder

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May 07, 2018:

William Pilcher was born 15 Mar. 1830 in Dover, England; he was the son of Henry Pilcher {Sr.}, and brother of Henry Pilcher [II]. He had six sons, Dr. William Henry Pilcher 1855 - 1910; James Pilcher 1856 - 1931; Charles Hobart Pilcher 1864 - 1912; George Washington Doane Pilcher 1866 - 1947; Albert S. Pilcher 1869 - 1942; Joseph Felix Mendelssohn Pilcher 1876 - 1955.

William was partner with brother Henry [II] in H. & W. Pilcher of St. Louis, MO, 1852-1856; and briefly partner with father and brother in H. Pilcher & Sons of St. Louis, MO, 1857. After his father retired, William ran the firm in St. Louis, MO, 1858-1859; then again with his brother 1862-1863. Due to the uncertainties of the Civil War, the two brothers relocated and became Pilcher Brothers of Chicago, IL, 1863-1869. The firm was in partnership with Henry Chant as Pilcher Brothers & Chant of Chicago, IL 1864-1866; after Chant's departure, they resumed as Pilcher Brothers of Chicago until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Henry left after the fire, and William moved to Robin's Nest, IL; he ran the firm in Chicago, IL, 1871-1873 with one of his sons. Henry moved to Louisville Kentucky and started his own firm in 1874.

< William returned to St. Louis, MO, 1874-1878; and may have been briefly in Mobile, AL, and Galvaston TX after that. He was in New Orleans, LA by 1884 where he re-established Pilcher Brothers of New Orleans, 1884-1892. His oldest son, William Henry, had established a conservatory in New Orleans, the elder William ran that for a time (1893-1896, manager) along with his daughter-in-law, while William H. traveled as a recitalist. William made his final try at organ building, establishing Wm. & Chas. H. Pilcher (1906-1910) with his son Charles Hobart.
William died 8 Sep. 1912 in New Orleans, LA.

Patent #141,888; Aug. 19, 1873; bellows

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

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