Pipe Organ Database

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Hilborne L. Roosevelt View Extant Instruments View Instruments

Distinction:

New York, New York, 1872-1886.
Classification: Builder

Update This Entry
November 26, 2016:

For further information, see main entry: Roosevelt Organ Works [Hilborne Roosevelt Organs]

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

November 01, 2015:

From the OHS Database Builders Listing editor, November 26, 2016. -

Hilborne Lewis Roosevelt was born December 21, 1850 in New York City; he was the brother of Cornelius and Frank Roosevelt,1 and first cousin of Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt2; he was privately educated. Hilborne apprenticed with Hall & Labagh of New York City, New York, at age 18; a career decision that was not looked upon with favor by the patrician Roosevelt family. Four years later, he built an organ under his own name, and took first prize at a New York industrial fair in 1869; after that his parents voiced no further objections.3 He made an organ tour of Europe, 1872. Returning to the United States, he established Roosevelt Organ Works (Hilborne Roosevelt Organs on some nameplates) of New York City, 1872. The firm grew quickly and he was able to add branch facilities in Philadelpha, Pennsylvania and Baltimore, Maryland.4

5

Hilborne had various business interests included a beach hotel in Seabright, New Jersey, a New York City telephone company, and the manufacture of batteries, burglar alarms, Thomas Edison's phonograph, and water motors; he was also president of the New York Symphony Society. He was a close friend of Thomas Edison with whom he shared a passion for invention. Although he had sold his interest in the New York Bell Telephone Company before it became highly profitable, he received a royalty for his invention of the telephone switch. He also invented the magnetically operated telephone call bell.6

Hilborne Roosevelt died December 30, 1886 in New York City, age 37; he was succeeded as head of the firm by his brother, Frank Roosevelt.7

Sources:

  1. David Fox, A Guide to North American Organbuilders (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1997), 252.
  2. Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 263.
  3. Osche, History, 263.
  4. Fox, Guide, 252.
  5. Osche, History
  6. James Wallace, M.M., "The Frank Roosevelt Organ, Opus #433" (Church of the Angels, Passadena, CA website - 5/2004), Accessed Nov 10, 2015.
  7. "Hilborne L. Roosevelt Dead" The New York Times published Dec 31, 1886, on-line archives accessed Nov 10, 2015.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

October 30, 2004:

From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, revised edition, by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1997). -

Born December 21, 1850 in New York City; he was the brother of Cornelius and Frank Roosevelt. Privately educated; he apprenticed with Hall & Labagh of New York City, New York, at age 18; he made an organ tour of Europe, 1872; established the Roosevelt firm of New York City, 1872. He had various business interests included a beach hotel in Seabright, New Jersey, a New York City, New York, telephone company, and was a manufacture of batteries, burglar alarms, Thomas Edison's phonograph, and water motors. He was also president of the New York Symphony Society.

Hilborne L. Roosevelt died December 30, 1886 in New York City, New York; he was succeeded by his brother Frank Roosevelt.

Patents held:

  • Patent #88,909; 13 Apr. 1869; electric action.
  • Patent #178,382; 6 Jun. 1876; electromagnetic lock.
  • Patent #215,837; 27 May 1879; telephone switch.
  • Patent #218,775; 19 Aug. 1879; telephone switch.
  • Patent #218,775; 19 Aug. 1879; telephone switch.
  • Patent #277,614; 15 May 1883; rubber overshoe.
  • Patent #5,768; 17 Feb. 1884; battery {reissue}.
  • Patent #5,769; 17 Feb. 1884; battery {reissue}.
  • Patent #306,179; 10 Oct. 1883; electric lock.
  • Patent #323,211; 28 Jul. 1885; composition stop action.
  • Patent #374,088; 29 Nov. 1887; electropneumatic action.
  • Patent #375,001; 20 Dec. 1857; electropneumatic action.
  • Patent #393,395; 11 Nov. 1888; battery.
  • Patent #414,998; 12 Nov. 1889; pneumatic bell ringer.
  • with Charles S. Haskell: Patent #323,829; 4 Aug. 1885; pneumatic action.
  • Patent #336,351; 16 Feb. 1886; pneumatic action.
  • Patent #340,461; 20 Apr. 1886; cabinet pipe organ.

Sources:

  • David H. Fox.
  • Letters. [correspondence of Hilborne Roosevelt?]
  • John Ogasapian, Organ Building in New York City 1700-1900 (Braintree, MA: The Organ Literature Foundation, 1977), 160.
  • [Information taken from the text of the United States patents listed above.] 

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on November 21, 2019.

Database Specs:

  • 126 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 0 Consoles

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