Oberlinger (organ building)

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Oberlinger GmbH
legal form currently: GmbH
founding 1860s
Seat Windesheim, Germany
management Wolfgang Oberlinger
Website Oberlinger GmbH

Oberlinger is a German organ building company based in Windesheim near Bad Kreuznach ( Rhineland-Palatinate ). According to its own statements, it is a family business that has the longest tradition of organ building in the world in uninterrupted generations. The company traded under various corporate forms, the best known after the company was founded as Gebr. Oberlinger, Werkstätten für Organbau . Oberlinger has been operating as a GmbH since 2008.


Jakob Oberlinger (* March 6, 1842; † May 7, 1916) founded the first organ building company in Windesheim in 1860. Since his grandfather had worked as a carpenter for the Stumm organ building family in Rhaunen as early as 1773 , the Oberlinger family sees itself as part of the tradition the Rhenish organ builder .

Jakob Oberlinger built his first organ for the Protestant church in Hargesheim near Bad Kreuznach in 1869 after his apprenticeship and wandering , which took him to the Netherlands . From 1872 Jakob operated together with his brother Karl sen. (* March 23, 1840; † 1919) the workshop as brothers . As a master carpenter, Karl Oberlinger brought important knowledge of woodworking to the company and thus continued the tradition of the family carpenters. In 1880 the brothers were able to significantly enlarge the workshop by taking over regional organ builders.

Following the technical innovation in organ building at the turn of the century before the last, the company built organ works with mechanical ( Weeze near Kevelaer ), later with pneumatic cone chests (1895, Bingerbrück ) from 1884 . From 1902 works with tube pneumatics were manufactured ( Landsweiler ), in 1912 the first organ was retrofitted with an electro-pneumatic action mechanism (Bingerbrück). Through the influence of organ motion , the company began in 1937 sliderchest to build, but still with electro-pneumatic key action. In the 1950s, the company finally returned to building slide chests with mechanical action mechanisms .

After the death of the two founders, Jakobs' son, Karl Oberlinger jun. (1879–1962) managed the company and led it through the times of the Great Depression . After the end of the Second World War , Karl jun. the company to two of his sons, Hermann (* December 18, 1908; † 2002) and Ernst (* January 1, 1915; † 2004). Under their leadership the company expanded and employed up to 80 people. Their two sons Helmut (born February 9, 1942) and Wolfgang (born January 19, 1943), who studied organ building as well as business administration and architecture , have been running the company since 1980 in the fourth generation with 55 employees as Oberlinger-Orgelbau GmbH and Co KG continues in an enlarged company that has been relocated to a new site.

In the 1990s, the company intensified its scientific approach to organ building. To this end, it worked with universities and technical colleges. In 1987, four historical organ instruments were reconstructed as part of a scientific research project . The company also attracted attention through the research and developments he directed in the field of technical and sonic innovations in organ building. For example, an external balancer was developed, a mechanical device in order to be able to realize long mechanical action actions without loss of precision and sensitivity. The invention of a space-saving sub- bass 16 ' register (Cubus 16'), which is to be used in small organs, was patented . The invention of a device for smoothing air currents was also patented, which calms the wind generated by the electric centrifugal fan and thereby swirled . In 2015, this invention attracted attention from the American science historian Myles Jackson , New York University , who was in Germany as a Reimar Lüst - Humboldt Research Prize winner from 2014.

In the second half of the 20th century, the company was one of the largest German organ building workshops and was active worldwide in the construction and restoration of organs. In addition to the Federal Republic of Germany, the work area also included other European countries and several countries in Asia, Africa and America. It also gained regional economic and political importance as an example of a modern craft business in Rhineland-Palatinate.

By 2005 Oberlinger had built over 1200 organ works. In 2005 the company ran into financial difficulties due to major orders abroad and had to file for bankruptcy. A regional investor merged the company with Emil Hammer Orgelbau in 2007 under the name "Orgelbaugesellschaft Reichenstein", which was dissolved in 2011. In 2008, Wolfgang Oberlinger restructured the company, which he temporarily ran alongside his architect and design office, as Oberlinger GmbH .

Since May 2014, after renovation, the larger workshops next to the "Organ Art Museum" have been used again. The construction department, the research and development department and the intonation department are also located there on approx. 1500 m² of modern workshop space. The company is still active overseas. In 2013 an organ was built for the Central Conservatory in Beijing and one in 2014 three-manual concert organ for the concert hall of the Philharmonic in Mudanjiang in north China.

"Organ Art Museum"

The Oberlinger family's collection of instruments forms the basis for the Organ Art Museum in Windesheim.

List of works (selection)

year place building image Manuals register Comments / sources
1869 Buschdorf (Bonn) Aegidius Chapel II / P 11 Replica of a baroque organ for smaller churches
1880 Dead red Ev. church I / P 5
1885 Leideneck Protestant church I / P 10 Original condition, blower 1960. Brochure in three parts, very boring, the sober craftsmanship of the time
1885 Heyweiler Parish of Gödenroth I / P 7th
1898 Gödenroth Ev. church I / P 10
1900 Chapel Protestant church I / P 6th Three-part brochure, cone store, original condition, cleaned in 1966, fan
1901 Seibersbach Ev. John's Church I / P 10 Replaces an organ from 1764, which was probably made by Stumm
1903 Electoral arbitration Protestant church
Election arbitration, Evangelical Church (5) .JPG
I / P 8th 1959 rebuilt, including the prospectus
1907 Gemünden Ev. church II / P 10
1956 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse - Gimmeldingen II / P 20th The organ is in the historic case of organ builder Hartung (Bad Dürkheim) from the year 1749. In 1995 the action was largely renewed by Orgelbau Steinmeyer. Windchest, wind turbine, pipework and intonation are original. It is one of the first organs to be rebuilt in the Palatinate with mechanical sliders after the Second World War.
1960 Tholey Benedictine Abbey of St. Mauritius Tholey St.Mauritius main organ.jpg III / P 42 Replaced in 2018/20 by a new technical building from Hugo Mayer .
1963 Landau in the Palatinate Collegiate church III / P 46 The organ stood in Ignaz Seuffert's historic case, was dismantled in Landau in 2005 and re-erected in Gorzno (Poland).
1966 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse - Mußbach Protestant Church II / P 18th
1968 Kaiserslautern Collegiate church IV / P 65 The organ consists of a three-manual main organ and a single-manual choir organ, which can also be operated via an additional independent console.
1968 Waldhölzbach St. Medardus Waldhölzbach, St. Medardus (7) .JPG II / P 13
1968/2003 Vilnius St. Casimir Organ in the Church of St. Casimir.JPG III / P 45 Originally the Stumm organ from 1759 in the Durlach town church , rebuilt in 1894 by Heinrich Voit and 1968 by Oberlinger, in use until 1994. Newly built there with 3 silent and 5 Voit registers. Remaining registers and case parts relocated in 2003 by Laimis Pikutis.
1970 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse Collegiate Church , Protestant part of the double church III / P 51 The organ was dismantled in November 2010 due to a major church renovation and sold to Genemuiden (Netherlands), where it was rebuilt in the Bethelkerk. → organs
1970/1982 Wiesbaden Market Church Wiesbaden, Marktkerk, hoofdorgel.jpg IV / P 85 originally III / P / 53; 1982 Reconstruction and later extension to the organ system
1971 Hirschfeld (Hunsrück) Protestant church I / P 5
1975 Berlin St. Paul Berlin-Moabit - St. Paulus - Organ.jpg III / P 46
1975 Büdesheim (Bingen am Rhein) St. Aureus and Justina III / P 39
1975 Koblenz Assumption Day Assumption of Mary 05 Koblenz 2014.jpg II / P 22nd
1976 Neustadt an der Weinstrasse - laughter Protestant Church II / P 20th The organ stands in a historical case of the predecessor organ by Orgelbau Walcker from 1866.
1976 Koenigswinter Christ Church II / P 15th The organ is housed in the historic case of the predecessor organ from EF Walcker & Cie. and the Honnef architect Ottomar Stein from 1902.
1978 Ockstadt St. James Church Catholic parish church St. Jakob (Ockstadt) organ 02.JPG II / P 28 New building behind a historicizing prospect in the Baroque style; crowning angel figures taken from the old church
1979 Alzingen Saint-Joseph l'Artisan II / P 22nd with Rückpositiv
1980 Ochtrup Lamberti Church II / P 28
1981 Bonn-Beuel Catholic St. Joseph Church
III / P 61
1982 Frankfurt am Main Old Nikolaikirche Organ Old Nikolaikirche.JPG II / P 23
1982 Jerusalem Dormition Basilica Main organ III / P 40 + Choir organ from 1979
1986 Alexandria (Virginia) St. Mary's Rome. Cath. Church II / P 17th
1986 Nassau (Bahamas) Christ Church Cathedral OberlingerOrganNassau.jpg III / P 64
1989 Hanau Catholic parish church Mariae Namen III / P 56 Designed as a French symphonic instrument. This idea was modeled on the large instruments with an orchestral sound character of the outgoing French organ romance by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll .
1989 Ibbenbueren St. Mauritius Ibbenbüren Mauritius Church interior view 013.JPG II / P 34
1990 Dillenburg Evangelical town church
Evangelical town church 11.jpg
III / P 45 Historic organ prospectus from 1719 by Florentinus Wang, expanded several times between 1990 and 2005.
1993 Braunschweig St. Thomas Organ St. Thomas.JPG II / P 20th Organist plays facing the community
1993 Berlin-Wannsee Baptist Church
Baptist Church (Wannsee) inside altar area.JPG
II / P 18th Organist plays facing the community. → organ
1995 Offenbach am Main St. Paul III / P 40 in the disposition of KMD Thomas Drescher and Johannes Hammerich
1996 Worms Worms Cathedral (choir organ) Worms Cathedral choir organ.jpg II / P 18th in the style of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll
1999 Beijing China National Radio (CNR) broadcasting hall Organ CNR Beijing.jpg IV / P 51
2000 Worms-Hochheim Catholic parish church Maria Himmelskron II / P 25th
2004 Monnerich (Luxembourg) Catholic parish church St. Willibrord II / P 27 The organ was featured on a Luxembourg postage stamp in 2014


The following patents are registered for Gebr. Oberlinger Orgelbau GmbH & Co. KG:

  • DE19546312A1: Sound box for organs , from June 19, 1997
  • DE19546312C2: Cuboid sound body for organs , closed on all sides , from March 25, 1999
  • DE10000159C1: Device for smoothing air flows , from 23 August 2001



  • H. Brucker: The organ building workshop of the Oberlinger brothers in Windesheim. In: Hunsrücker Heimatblätter, No. 30, 1973, pp. 677–683.
  • L. Finscher: The music in the past and present : general encyclopedia of the music. Bärenreiter, Kassel 1994.
  • J. Rodeland: On the history of the Oberlinger organ building workshop in Windesheim. In: Lebendiges Rheinland-Pfalz, magazine for economy, science and culture. Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ed.). Volume 30, issue 2/3.
  • Thomas Jörg Frank : Organ building between organ movement and French organ romance. Shown on selected instruments from the Oberlinger organ building workshop (Diss. Mainz) . Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-8300-4922-7 .
  • E. Bush, Richard Kassel (Ed.): The Organ: An Encyclopedia. Routledge-Verlag, 2006, ISBN 978-0-415-94174-7 .

Web links

Commons : Oberlinger  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hermann Fischer, Theodor Wohnhaas: Lexicon of southern German organ builders . Florian Noetzel Verlag, Wilhelmshaven 1994, ISBN 3-7959-0598-2 , p. 282 .
  2. oberlinger.eu: The organ building tradition of the Oberlinger family , accessed on October 5, 2019.
  3. Allgemeine Zeitung of February 27, 2015
  4. Myles Jackson Heads to Princeton. Retrieved October 5, 2019 .
  5. Roland Eberlein : New organs have become rare , accessed on October 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Orgelbaugesellschaft Reichenstein mbH. Mainz District Court File number: HRB 41847. Joint register portal of the federal states, accessed on October 5, 2019 .
  7. Portrait at klassik.com , accessed on October 5, 2019.
  8. New organs at Oberlinger.eu. Retrieved October 5, 2019 .
  9. 150 years of the Leideneck Church. 2002, p. 68 (church revision from 1916)
  10. 250 years of Ev. Kappel Church. 1997, p. 119 f.
  11. Franz Bösken , Hermann Fischer , Matthias Thömmes: sources and research on organ history of the Middle Rhine (=  contributions to Mittelrheinische Music History 40 Milestones . Band 2 ). tape 4 : Koblenz and Trier administrative districts, Altenkirchen and Neuwied districts . Schott, Mainz 2005, ISBN 978-3-7957-1342-3 , pp. 966 f .
  12. The Oberlinger Organ Waldhölzbach on Organindex.de
  13. ^ Organ at Musik Stadtkirche Durlach
  14. ^ Franz Bösken, Hermann Fischer: Sources and research on the organ history of the Middle Rhine (=  contributions to the Middle Rhine music history . Volume 29.2 ). tape 3 : Former province Oberhessen , Part 2: M-Z . Schott, Mainz 1988, ISBN 3-7957-1331-5 , p. 756 f .
  15. at orgues.lu
  16. Church council of the Evangelical Church Community Dillenburg: Evangelical City Church Dillenburg. [Leaflet], undated, undated
  17. Church council of the parish of St. Thomas im Heidberg (ed.): Evangelical Lutheran parish of St. Thomas im Heidberg. [Leaflet], undated, undated
  18. http://www.postphilately.lu/portal/lang/de/stamps/pid/2691 ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  19. Patent DE19546312A1 accessed June 6, 2011
  20. Patent DE19546312C2, accessed June 6, 2011
  21. Patent DE10000159C1 accessed June 6, 2011
  22. Innovation Prize 1988 to 1999 ( Memento of the original from April 29, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.innovationspreis-rlp.de