Lawrence, Kansas, from 1920.
From the OHS Database Builders Listing editor, November 12, 2015. -
Adolf Reuter was born in Pomeroy, Ohio in 1880. He learned carpentry from his father and watch repair from a local jewelery. He began working for Barkhoff Organ Co. in 1900. He worked for other organ firms after that before partnering with Earl Schwartz in the Reuter-Schwartz Organ Company in Trenton, Illinois in 1917. The firm was installing an instrument in the Masonic Temple in Lawrence, Kansas in 1919 when local civic leaders persuaded them to relocate there. Earl Schwartz left the firm shortly after the relocation, and the business was renamed The Reuter Organ Company.
The company did well in the 1920s, John Selig established a network of sales representatives, Henry Jost cultivated new clients on the West Coast and the company began to develop a national reputation. The 1930s were lean years for the company, theater organs were no longer needed, and depression era churches were not ordering many new instruments. During World War II the company made munitions crates and boxes.
Production of organs resumed in 1945, the company began with a three year backlog of contracts. New leaders with formal training in music filled the ranks. Franklin Mitchell joined the firm in 1951, and helped develop the tonal concept reflecting the trend towards the Baroque organ of northern Europe, the "Bach organ." By 1961, Reuter offered mechanical action instruments in conjunction with Emil Hammer of Germany. The recession of the 1970s forced a reduction in work force, but the company remained in good financial condition and continued building organs.
Albert Neutel (Sr) joined the firm in 1980. He joined with Franklin Mitchell to purchase the firm, while retaining the well established name. Albert Neutel Jr also joined the firm in the 1980s. He worked in Tennessee as a sales representative and finisher before returning to the home office in 1997 when Franklin Mitchell retired. The company moved to its new facilities in 2001. As of 2015, Albert Neutel Sr is Chairman of the Board, but no longer involved in day to day operations, Albert Jr is President and CEO. The two are co-proprietors of the firm.
From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1997). -
Succeeded Reuter-Schwarz Organ Co.; established by Adolph C. Reuter in Lawrence, Kansas, 1920, upon withdrawal of Earl C. Schwarz from previous partnership; made ammunition boxes during W. W. II; firm acquired by Franklin Mitchell and Albert Neutel Sr., September 1980; active in 2015.
Staff: Dan Abrahamson; Gilbert F. Adams; William Ashburn; Stephen P. Barnhart; John Bechen; Clifford J. Beguelin; Samuel W. Bihr; Walter A. Brummer; Stephen M. Burk; R. S. Caruthers; Irving Christian; H. Procter Crow, Jr.; Peter M. Daniels; Frank Darby; Lauralee Davis; Richard W. Dirksen; Randall Dyer; Robert L. Eby; William P. Fenimore III; Albert Floro; Donald G. Frueh; John A. Fryckman; Frank Green; Erich O. Haase; Allen Hase; Donald G. Hoyer; Mary A. Jacobson; Frank Jost; John Leach; Steven Lloyd; Max Mayse; Franklin Mitchell; Richard Moore; Jeff Noll; S. G. Price, Sr.; William T. Pugh; Fred Radcliffe; Ronald Rarick; Ferdinand T. E. Rassman; W. G. Redmond; Carl Reuter; Franklin Robbs; Leonard L. Roberts; Rucker Piano & Pipe Organ Service; Charles Russell; Lloyd Russell; Albert G. Sabol, Sr. and Jr.; David Salmen; John Selig; Edward B. Sieckmann; Jack L. Sievert; H. C. Sturges; James C. Suttie, Jr.; James Swiger; Burton Tidwell; Robert Vaughan; William C. Verney; Ernest C. Vogelpohl; Herman Vogelpohl; F. C. Wichlac; R. Joseph Wiessinger; Tiffany Wingert; William Zweifel.