Schlicker Organ Co. View Extant Instruments View Instruments


Buffalo, New York, from 1935.
Classification: Builder

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January 27, 2016:

From Organ Database Builders editor Stephen Hall, November 21, 2019. —

The Matter brothers apparently closed the organbuilding business around 2017, the website for Schlicker is no longer online. The Matters continue in business as an organ supplier under their own name. We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on November 21, 2019.

August 20, 2015:

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

Schlicker Organ Co. was established by Herman L. Schlicker in Buffalo, New York, in 1932. Schlicker was a German immigrant, trained in the classic Northern European tradition. Leaving the Tellers-Kent Organ Co. of Erie, Pennsylvania, he established his own firm where he could build in the style he had learned in Germany and Denmark.1 He built organs based on the "Werk-Prinzip"2 with relationships between divisions following the model of the instruments that Bach would have known. Like Walter Holtkamp, he continued using electropneumatic action3 which was the standard American practice of the time. But Schlicker went further, building cases for each division; while Holtkamp made open displays of pipes without casework. Curiously, while Schlicker was in the leading edge of the organ reform movement in the 1930s, he seemed content with the style he had established, he never built mechanical key action organs as the Holtkamp firm would begin doing in the 1960s.

With Schlicker's death in 1974, his son-in-law , Ralph Dinwiddie, led the firm. Not being an organ builder, Dinwiddie sold the company in the early 1980's. The new owner sold the company to one of the staff members, Conrad Van Viegan in 1992. The company again changed hands when it was acquired by Matters, Inc., a supplier to pipe organ builders, in 2002.4 Justin Matters is the current (as of 2016) head of the firm. Matter has stated his goal to transform the style of Schlicker organs in his tonal philosphy:

"Schlicker organs will be characterized by a complete Principal chorus on the Great as well as a secondary one based on 8' pitch on the Positiv. 16' chorus reeds on these divisions will receive greater emphasis and the reeds in general will be of a more refined quality." He further states "In the organs of both Bach and Franck, the Positiv is the second most important division and should not, therefore, be based on a 2' Prinzipal with a Krummhorn as its only reed. One does not add an English Swell division to an incomplete two-manual specification to create a "romantic" organ." 5


  1. Barbara Owen, "Herman L. Schlicker" Grove Music Online (Published on-line 2001), accessed Jan 26, 2016.
  2. Schlicker Organ website, accessed Jan 26, 2016.
  3. Craig R. Whitney, All the Stops: The Glorious Pipe Organ and Its American Masters (PublicAffairs, 2004) p. 118
  4. Schlicker website.
  5. Schlicker website.
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). -

Established by Herman L. Schlicker in Buffalo, New York, 1932; owned by Conrad Van Viegan in 1989; active 1995.

Staff: Donald F. Bohall; Eugene Burmaster; Bernard Cavelier; Robert C. Colby; John DeCamp; David J. Dickson, Robert M. Fischer; Thomas Foster; Bruce Fowkes; Frederick P. Frank; Daniel Jaeckel; Robert J. Kaiser; Kenneth List; Wilfred R. Miller; John F. Obermeyer; Stanton Peters; David V. Poll; Robert Prichard; Richard Ratcliffe; Ralph Richards; Kurt E. Roderer; Manuel J. Rosales, Jr.; Louis Rothenberger; Alice Schlicker; Philip Schlüterer; Christopher Smith; Gerald W. Van Deventer; Conrad Van Viegen; Henry Weiland.

Peters, Weiland & Co. represented the firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1972 until at least 1991.


  • The staff listing is from Fox's 1991 edition and does not include anyone hired after that date.
  • Names with links are those who went on to form their own companies.



  • Letter to David H. Fox.

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

Database Specs:

  • 504 Organs
  • 80 Divisions
  • 54 Consoles