Merklin, Joseph

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Merklin, Joseph

Merklin, Joseph, German organ builder; b. Oberhausen, Baden, Jan. 17, 1819; d. Nancy, France, June 10, 1905. He worked in his father’s workshop in Freiburg, and in 1843 went to Brussels. In 1853 took his brother-in-law, F. Schütze, into partnership, changing the name of his firm to Merklin, Schütze & Cie. In 1855 he bought out the Ducroquet firm in Paris. In 1858 he reorganized his partnership as the Société Anonyme pour la Fabrication des Orgues, Établissement Merklin-Schütze. The firm supplied organs to several cathedrals in Europe. Merklin publ. an interesting technical paper, Notice sur l’électricité appliquée aux grandes orgues (Paris, 1887), containing some surprising insights on the possible manufacture of electric organs. His nephew Albert Merklin (1892–1925) went to Madrid at the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and established a Spanish branch of the firm. Merklin’s Paris factory was acquired by Guttschenritter in 1899, and his branch in Lyons was bought in 1906 by the Swiss organ builder Theodor Kuhn; it was incorporated in 1926 as Société Anonyme des Anciens Établissements Michel, Merklin & Kuhn. After several further changes of ownership, the firm was taken over in 1967 by Fredrich Jakob in Zürich.


M. Jurine, J. M., facteur d’orgues européen: Essai sur l’orgue français au XIX siècle (Paris, 3 vols., 1991).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire