Louis H. Van Dinter View Extant Instruments View Instruments


Mishawaka, Indiana, 1886-1893; Name changed to Van Dinter Pipe Organ Factory, 1893.
Classification: Builder

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May 07, 2018:

From the OHS Online Organ Database Builders Listing editor, February 4, 2017. -

Louis Van Dinter learned the art of organbuilding from his father, Mathew H. Van Dinter, and his maternal grandfather, Hubert Ver Meulen, and became a skillful workman. In 1870 he came to America, at age twenty, and engaged in work in the organ factory of Henry Erben of New York City, a noted organ manufacturer, and learned some American practices which were unknown in his home country. Six months later he moved to Detroit, Michigan and engaged in the tuning and repairing of organs. His father, Matthew, came the following year, with his family and together father and son began the manufacture of organs under ther own name. After five years, Louis Van Dinter bought his father out but remained in Detroit until 1877, when he moved to Mishawaka, Illinois and established his business in partnership with August Erb, a wood carver and furniture maker specializing in church furnishings. Van Dinter was not a stranger to the town, he had previously built the organs in the Presbyterian and Churches of that city.

"The Van Dinter Pipe Organ Factory is the only pipe organ factory in the State of Indiana, and is well known, having built some of the largest organs in the West. Mr. Van Dinter has a high reputation in his profession. [material ommitted]

Mr. Van Dinter gives every organ his personal attention, especially the voicing being all done by himself, and his long experience, his skillful and artistic work enable him to command a good price. He has a fine record, having built more than fifty large organs, those at the following places testifying to his ability: St. Mary's Church, Fort Wayne, Ind., at a cost of $6,000; St. John's Baptist Church, at Joliet, Ill., at a cost of $5.000; St. Peter's Cathedral at Marquette, Mich., at an expense of $4,000; St. Vincent's at Elkhart, Ind.; St. Peter's at La Porte; St. Joseph's at Mishawaka, Ind.; St. Albert's at Detroit, Mich.; Sacred Heart, at Detroit; Our Lady of Help, at Detroit; St. John's at Jackson, Mich.; Sacred Heart, at Hudson, Mich.; St. Mary's at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.; Immaculate Conception, at Niles, Mich.; Holy Cross, at Marine City, Mich.; Church of the Immaculate Conception, at Louisville, Ky.; St. Catherine's Church at New Haven, Ky., and St. Francis, at Hollandtown, Wis. His work is in a great measure for the Catholic Churches, but he does much also in Protestant Churches, his contracts being as many as he is able to fill. He manufactures every part of an organ except the metal pipes, using the best of material."


  • Pictorial and Biographical Memoirs of Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties, Indiana
    Together with Biographies of Many Prominent Men of Northern Indiana and the Whole State, Both Living and Dead (Goodspeed Brothers Publishers, Chicago, 1893) [page number missing from scanned copy]

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on February 11, 2019.

October 30, 2004:

From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders by David H. Fox (Organ Historical Society, 1991). Edited February 4, 2017, (Hall). -

Louis H. Van Dinter was born February 20, 1851 in Weert, the Netherlands. He was the son of Mathieu Van Dinter; brother of Alphonse H., Charles H., Frank J., and John {Peter J.} Van Dinter; and father of George L., John J., and Theophilus Van Dinter;

Louis Van Dinter immigrated to the United States, 1870; he started with the Henry Erben firm of New York City, New York; then moved west and was with his father's firm in Detroit, Michigan, c.1871-c.1875. He was briefly partner with (Frederick J. Simmons?) in Simmons & Van Dinter of Detroit, Michigan, 1875; he established his own firm in Detroit, Michigan, by 1877.

Van Dinter relocated the firm to Mishawaka, Illinois, in 1886, as partnership with August Erb in Erb & Van Dinter (organs and church altars). The firm was later known as Van Dinter Pipe Organ Factory (by 1893). [Erb continued his church furniture business which he had established prior to that date.]

Louis H. Van Dinter died March 9, 1932 in Mishawaka, Illinois; he was succeeded as head of the firm by his son, John J. Van Dinter.


  • Stopt Diapason #27 (Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Organ Historical Society, Hoffman Estates, IL).
  • Michael Friesen, "The Van Dinter Organbuilders",
  • The Tracker: 33:3 (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1989), 19.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on October 17, 2019.

Database Specs:

  • 27 Organs
  • 0 Divisions
  • 2 Consoles

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