M. P. Moller
Mathias Peter Møller, commonly known as M.P. Möller or M. Møller, (29 September 1854, Østermarie, Denmark – 13 April 1937, Hagerstown, Maryland, US) was a prolific organ builder. A native of the Danish island of Bornholm, he founded the M.P. Moller Pipe Organ Company in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, in 1875. The city of Hagerstown, Maryland, took notice of Möller's early successes and induced him to move his business to Hagerstown to help make it a viable business center in Western Maryland. The company remained in business until 1992 with a lifetime production of over 11,000 instruments.
The earliest instruments were built by industry supply houses under contract to Möller. The early Möller instruments utilized tracker action, which links the organ console to the pipe chests by mechanical means. By 1902 tubular-pneumatic action was used until the company developed its own version of electro-pneumatic actions by 1919 referred to as pitman action. Möller thought that anybody that wanted a pipe organ should be able to get one. So, the company built many "Portable" (3 ranks) and "Artiste" (3 to 9 ranks) type instruments, smaller mass-produced organs which incorporated standard specifications with fewer sets of pipes. Möller organs can be found in churches/synagogues, concert halls, educational institutions, funeral homes, hospital chapels, movie theaters, municipal auditoriums, restaurants, private residences, and social/service organizations.
The first major contract that Möller obtained with the United States Service academies was for the instrument in the Cadet Chapel of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. This was Möller Opus 1200, dedicated in 1911. The project bid package included an approved organ design of three manuals and pedal. The winning bidder was allowed to suggest and implement changes to this design following contract award. As a result Möller, as the builder of the organ, got to demonstrate his best practices in the Cadet Chapel organ. Möller remained the primary supplier of additions until after WWII. Today the mostly-Möller organ is the largest all-pipe organ in a religious structure in the world, although the First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, California makes a similar claim with their two pipe organs.
Prior to WWII, Möller had been a low-cost supplier. With the end of the war, Möller began to compete directly with Aeolian-Skinner. One example of Möller's product is the pair of instruments dedicated in 1965 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.. A three-manual organ was installed in the transept and a four-manual in the rear gallery. The largest Möller church organ, built as a single new instrument, is installed in Calvary Church, Charlotte, North Carolina, Opus 11739, completed in 1990. Möller also built a large number of theater organs (often known as the "Möller Deluxe" organ) and the company's largest theatre instrument still resides in Atlanta's Fox Theatre, affectionately known as the "Mighty Mo."
Möller introduced solid state electronics for console components and other innovations in the 1980s, later than many other competitors. This, coupled with serious labor problems over the years, lagging investments in the plant and escalation in the cost of fabrication contributed to the end of the company which came in 1992. Several investors attempted to revive the company and move it from its ancient factory on Hagerstown's Prospect Street, but to no avail. Möller's assets were auctioned off in 1993. Beautiful completed and almost-completed consoles, voiced pipes, and hardwoods were sold for a fraction of their value. Some churches never received their new pipe organs.
The Möller name, customer list and equipment were purchased from the bankruptcy court in February, 1993, by Paul D. Stuck. The new company identified itself as “Möller Organ Company, A Division of King of Instruments, Incorporated." Möller had four organ projects that year, and then it closed. With the closure, the Möller organs came to an end. All but one of the four projects were to refurbish existing organs.
In 1992, the last Möller was constructed for and installed in the Chapel by the Sea of Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
- "M. Møller", Den Store Danske. (Danish) Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Indiana University Press.