John Clemm [Johann Gottlob Klemm] View Extant Instruments View Instruments


German born, 1690; Dresden, before 1733; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1733; New York City, 1737; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1747-1748; Nazareth, 1748-1762.
Classification: Builder

Update This Entry
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 Johann Gottlob Klemm on May 13, 1690 in Dresden, Germany; he was the father of William Clemm. Klem studied theology in Freiberg and Leipzig; he was an organ and harpsichord builder, c. 1710. He was with a religious commune, 1726-c. 1730. He immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 18, 1733; Clemm moved to New York City in 1737. He proposed a Schema for a large organ for Trinity Church in 1738. It was approved and he started construction of the organ in 1739.[6][7][8] He finished it in 1741 and was paid the final payment then.[9][10] It was the first church organ built in America. Clemm returned to Pennsylvania in 1747. There he repaired and built organs in the Bethlehem area for the Moravians and assisted Gustavus Hesselius. In the spring of 1748 Clemm moved with the Tannenberg family to Nazareth, Pennsylvania. He started at that time teaching David Tannenberg organ building techniques. Together they built five organs for the Moravians. Clemm was America's first professional organ builder. He was in New York City, New York, c. 1745; then in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, November 25, 1757.

John Clem died May 5, 1762.


  • John Ogasapian, *Organ Building in New York City 1700-1900* (Braintree, MA: The Organ Literature Foundation 1977), 3.
  • *The Tracker*, 31:2 (Spring 1987), 19.

We received the most recent update for this note from Paul R. Marchesano on January 22, 2021.

Database Specs:

  • 2 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 0 Consoles

This builder has been viewed 1,071 times.