Pipe Organ Database

a project of the organ historical society

Ernest M. Skinner, Inc. View Extant Instruments View Instruments


Reading, MA, 1949-1959; Oakland FL, 1959-1976; Boston MA, 1972-1987
Classification: Builder

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May 07, 2018:

After leaving Aeolian-Skinner, Ernest Skinner established Ernest M. Skinner & Son Co. of Methuen, MA with son Richmond H. Skinner, 1936; the firm relocated to Reading, MA, 1943. The business began doing primarily service and rebuilding work, the amount of new organ construction was limited the first few years by a non-competition clause in the contract he had signed with Aeolian-Skinner when he left. At the end of the contract's period, the firm resumed building new instruments, often competing with Aeolian-Skinner, but seldom winning the contract as G. Donald Harrison's concepts had firmly taken hold with American organists by that time. He did capture at least one prize, the Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul (the National Cathedral) in Washington in 1938, rebuilding AS Opus 883 as his Opus 510. The victory was temporary, in 1958 Aeolian-Skinner again rebuilt the instrument as Opus 883-A.

The elder Skinner accepted a consulting position with the Schantz firm in 1947, closing his business. Richmond Skinner left the organ business and operated an airline thereafter. Skinner's association with Schantz did not last long, he left the following year, and with help from his long time foreman Carl Bassett, formed his last business, E.M. Skinner Co. (1948-1960). Skinner sold the business and the right to the name to Bassett in 1949. Bassett operated in Reading for ten years (1949-59), then relocated to Oakland, Florida in 1959. Bassett sold the business to John Bolton in 1976, Bolton moved the business to Boston. Bassett continued doing service work in Florida and Georgia under his own name for nearly two more years, caring for the instruments he had built and installed during the Florida period. The Skinner firm in Boston closed in 1987.

We received the most recent update for this note from Database Manager on April 09, 2020.

Database Specs:

  • 5 Organs
  • 1 Divisions
  • 1 Consoles

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