Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Reuben Nicholls View Extant Instruments View Instruments


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1876.
Classification: Builder

Update This Entry
May 07, 2018:

Note from Organ Database Builders editor Steven Lawson, December 1, 2017. -

Reuben Nicholls was a church and parlor organ builder who began his apprenticeship in the art in 1832. He established his organ firm in 1869, and built a small organ for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

An advertisement in the Journal of the West Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1879, states that he built the "Grand Centinnial [sic] Church Organ" (refering to an exhibit at the United States centennial celebration held in Philadephia in 1876). The same advertisment lists his residence as 1715 Poplar Street, and his warerooms at 72-82 Laurel Street, both in Philadelphia.

American Exchange and Review gives the following review: "As a builder showing all the requisites of his craft, we cite the name of Reuben Nicholls, of Philadelphia, a practical church and parlor organ builder, who began his apprenticeship in the art in 1832. Mr. Nicholls has the rare ability of being able to make every part of the instrument with his own hands." The article goes own to mention his introduction of octave and sub-octave coupling, and the substituation of metal for wood squares in the key action to prevent sticking key action caused by humidity swelling the wood.


  • Official Journal and Minutes of West Virginia Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church ... Session, volumes 33-40 (Morgantown WV.: New Dominion Printing House, 1879), full page advertisement, unnumbered page. online at Google Books, https://books.google.com/books?id=FOIpAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PP7&lpg=RA1-PP7&dq=reuben+nicholls+organ+builder&source=bl&ots=BOLPAAqY65&sig=Xx8UZdo4dE4hnSVBuLOwprFwDsU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgvuz4uOvXAhVvluAKHe0aD7kQ6AEIOTAF#v=onepage&q=reuben%20nicholls%20organ%20builder&f=false.
  • The American Exchange and Review, Volume 22 (Whiting & Company, 1873), 61. Online at Google Books, https://books.google.com/books?id=Zj4DAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=reuben+nicholls+organ+builder&source=bl&ots=nw881O0jaF&sig=kIxtM2eQLwViBD_HkCzmuZGjmMg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgvuz4uOvXAhVvluAKHe0aD7kQ6AEIOzAG#v=onepage&q=reuben%20nicholls%20organ%20builder&f=false.


We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 29, 2019.

Database Specs:

  • 1 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 0 Consoles

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