Organs and Organ Builders in Slovakia
1651 – 2006
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Anton Schönhofer sen.

[Schönhofer; Anton, Antal]

* 1850, Oberstinkenbrunn (Austria)
† 1925, Bratislava

He trained as an organ builder in his native town of Ober Stinkenbrunn in Austria. He was probably active in Bratislava from 1883. According to a contemporary advertisement he set up a firm for making organs as early as 1873; however, we consider this as an advertising feature rather than serious information. He trained his sons Anton, Vilhelm, Štefan and Ján as well as the Szeged organ builder of Bratislava extraction, Andresz Frigyes.

Organ builder’s workshop

Most of the organs he built had one manual and a number of stops often less than eight. The largest preserved organ from the period up to 1900 is a two manual organ which he built in 1895 for the Klariský church in Bratislava. The instrument stood in the Klariský church until 1921 when it was sold to the RC parish church in Bojnice. At present the instrument is dismantled and its future is uncertain.

Because orders for new organs were few, Schönhofer dedicated himself also to the rebuilding of older instruments. About 1908, Schönhofer’s son Anton became a co-owner of the firm. The firm’s name then was “SCHÖNHOFER, A. // és FIA POZSONY”. After the partner’s arrival there were not only many changes in technical solutions (chiefly the use of mechanical cone chests operated by pneumatic actions) but also a gradual increase in problems connected with serious criticism of their instruments.

Text: Marian Alojz Mayer