Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

H. & W. Pilcher Organ Co. View Extant Instruments View Instruments


1852-1858 and 1862 in St. Louis; Chicago, 1863-1864;
Classification: Builder

Update This Entry
May 07, 2018:

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

Partnership of Henry [Jr.] and William Pilcher in St. Louis, Missouri, 1852-1858.


  • Company literature.
  • Local directories of the period.
  • Elizabeth Towne Schmitt.
  • We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

October 30, 2004:

From Database Builders Editor, updated March 31, 2018. -

Partnership of Henry [II] and William Pilcher in St. Louis, Missourri, 1852-1858 and 1862.

The Pilcher family came to America beginning in 1832 with the arrival of the senior Henry Pilcher. His wife and sons soon followed. Henry ran his own shop in Newark, New Jersey, then worked for Henry Erben in New York City for ten years before returning to Newark. His sons learned the craft from their father.

In 1852, Pilcher's sons Henry [II] and William decided to head west and settled in St. Louis, Missouri where they established the first Pilcher firm, H. & W. Pilcher Organ Co., in St. Louis Missouri in 1852. The firm rapidly expanded into a musical conclomerate, not simply building organs, but also selling pianos, other musical instruments, sheet music, and even publishing music. After the death of his wife, the senior Henry moved to St. Louis and joined his sons in a new partnership, H. Pilcher & Sons. After Henry Sr. retired in 1858, the brothers continued on, first under William, the under Henry [II], then again under both by 1862.

Although St. Louis had relative quiet during the Civil War, there was an incident in 1863 when Confederate sympathizers killed some of the Union troops stationed there.The Pilcher brothers decided to pack up shop again and move to safer ground in Chicago where they established Pilcher Brothers.

See the Pilcher Family Overview for help in finding the company or individual which interests you.


  • Bynum Petty, OHS Archivist, and author, Henry Pilcher's Sons: Opus List and Historical Sketch, (Richmond, Va.: OHS Press, 2014)

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

Database Specs:

  • 34 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 0 Consoles

This builder has been viewed 281 times.