Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Herman L. Schlicker View Extant Instruments View Instruments

Distinction:

Germany prior to 1925; Erie, Pennsylvana; North Tonawanda New York; Buffalo New York, 1932-1974.
Classification: Undetermined

Update This Entry
January 27, 2016:

From the OHS Database Builders Editor, January 26, 2016. —

Herman L. Schlicker (1902-1974) was born in Bavaria, Germany; he apprenticed with the Steinmeyer firm of Oettingen, Germany, and later worked for other European builders, including Marcussen of Denmark. Schlicker immigrated to the United States in 1925; and started with the Wurlitzer firm of North Tonawanda, New York. After leaving Wurlitzer, he worked with the Tellers-Kent Organ Co. of Erie, Pennsylvania.1 Schlicker left Tellers-Kent a year before the firm closed in 1933, and established his own firm, Schlicker Organ Co. in Buffalo, New York in 1932, no small feat in the depths of the Great Depression.

The organ reform movement was in its infancy in the United States, but Schlicker was at the forefront of the early "neo-baroque" revival building organs after the "Werk-Prinzip" in German tradition2 although he did not use mechanical key action; the portable continuo organ which E. Power Biggs ordered from him in 1952 had the standard electropneumatic action,3 The Werk-Prinzip established certain relations between the divisions of the organ with each division separated by casework. His organs were characterized by attention to detail in the upperwork, there was a brightness and clarity of tone along with a slightly thin edginess in the plenum. This was in keeping with the narrow scaling and un-nicked languids style of voicing in vogue at the time.4 His reeds were German, with more buzz than the English style most often heard in the United States at the time, but without the fire of the French style reeds favored by G. Donald Harrison at Aeolian-Skinner.

Herman L. Schlicker died December 4, 1974 in Buffalo, New York,, age 72.5 He was still working, and running the company up until his death. Following his passing, the company was directed by his son-in-law, Ralph Dinwiddie. Not being an organ builder, Dinwiddie sold the company in the early 1980's. 6

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

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on November 12, 2019.

January 27, 2016:

For further information on the company, see Schlicker Organ Co.

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

October 30, 2004:

From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991). —

Born in Bavaria, Germany; he apprenticed with the Steinmeyer firm of Oettingen, Germany, with other European builders, including Marcussen of Denmark; immigrated to the United States in 1925; with the Wurlitzer firm of North Tonawanda, New York; with Tellers-Kent Organ Co. of Erie, Pennsylvania; he established Schlicker Organ Co. in Buffalo, New York 1932; he died December 4, 1974 in Buffalo, New York, age 72.

Patent #3,722,347; March 27, 1973; mechanical action pallet.

Sources:

  • The Diapason February 1975.
  • Correspondence of David H. Fox.
  • Music* February 1975, 23.
  • Orpha Ochse, The History of the Organ in the United States (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1975), 369.
  • Elizabeth Towne Schmitt.
  • Richard Weber.
*Renamed The American Organist beginning with January 1979 issue. —Ed.

 

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on November 12, 2019.

Database Specs:

  • 7 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 0 Consoles

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