Organs and Organ Builders in Slovakia
1651 – 2006
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Sándor Országh

* 1838, Kecskemét (Hungary)
† 1917, probably Rákospalota (Hungary)

He was the organ builder Sándor Országh’s first child. He studied organ building with his father, later he worked with János Fazekas in Pest. He set up on his own in 1861 and worked in a separate workshop in Pest although he obtained official permission in 1862. After the tremendous success engendered by his three manual 32 stop organ built for the RC church in Kecskemét, he was raised to the status of a knight in 1885. In 1899 he moved his workshop to Rákospalota and in 1908 he passed it on to his sons Imre and Lászlo. In 1921 after economic problems, the firm was turned into a joint stock company and in 1938 closed down.

Organ builder’s workshop

At the beginning the Országh workshop built two to four organs annually. After the great success in 1885 the firm became famous throughout Hungary and began to expand strongly. In a short time up to 15 to 25 organs were built annually. After the move to Rákospalota the firm had steam-driven mechanical equipment and employed 20 to 30 workers. As late as 1891 S. Országh built instruments with mechanical actions and slider soundboards.

From 1891 he reorientated himself to building soundboards with stop channels, specifically cone chests with mechanical actions. From 1899 pneumatic actions with cone or membrane chests become established. Manual compasses are from C – f3 chromatic which represents the standard of the time. Less fixed are the Pedal compasses. For organs made in the 1870s the characteristic key compass is the unusual C – e0, that is 17 keys. Tonal compass is only C – H, 12 notes. In the period before the First World War, an equal key/note compass was possessed by the Pedal section of instruments made for lesser known localities. Only the key compass changes which from the 1890s is to C – f0 chromatic, 18 keys. In organs for more famous localities the compass is C – d1 chromatic, exceptionally also C – f1.

As early as the 1870s S. Országh’s organs appear on the territory of what is today Slovakia. After the First World War the supply of organs from the Országh firm to Slovakia ceased.

Text: Marian Alojz Mayer