Allen Organ Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Allen Organ Company
FounderJerome Markowitz
United States
Key people
Steve Markowitz
Productsclassical church organs (digital and pipes, also combined)
WebsiteAllen Organ Company

The Allen Organ Company builds church organs, home organs and theatre organs. Its factory is located in Macungie, Pennsylvania. The Allen International Sales Headquarters also includes the Jerome Markowitz Memorial Center. The museum displays many instruments which represent technological milestones in the development of the pipeless organ.[1]

Customers of the Allen Organ Company can choose from an array of sounds. Because of hard chips and computer programming, organs can be programmed to the customer’s taste. If sounds aren’t to a customer’s satisfaction, the organ can be re-tuned or reprogrammed at home by a company representative. Many churches are switching over to computer processed organs, made or inspired by the Allen Organ Company’s models, as opposed to the traditional pipe organs.[2]


Allen Organ Company was founded in 1937 and named after its birthplace, Allentown, Pennsylvania. The company was incorporated in 1945, after interruption by World War II. Since its beginning, Allen has been managed by the same family. Steve Markowitz, the current President, is the son of the founder, Jerome Markowitz.[3]

The company had its first patent in 1938.[4] Allen continued to advance analog tone generation through the 1960s with further patents. In 1971, as the culmination of a collaborative effort with North American Rockwell,[5] Allen introduced the world's first commercially-available digital musical instrument. Allen was responsible for the first three-manual electronic organ and the first electronic drawknob console. The first Allen Digital Organ is now in the Smithsonian Institution.[6]

Allen Organ Company added a manufacturing  branch in England in 1969.[7]

  • 1947: Allen installed the world's first three-manual electronic organ in St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Catasauqua, Pa.
  • 1949: full-range, high-fidelity stereo audio equipment was incorporated in Allen installations.
  • 1950: "Purely Electronic Carillon," "Harp Percussion" and sustain effects were introduced.
  • 1952: "Chromatic Voicing" was introduced.
  • 1953: Manufacturing was relocated to Macungie, Pennsylvania to expand capacity.
  • 1954: Allen built the first four-manual electronic organ.
  • 1955: Allen developed the first electronic 32' stops used with pipe organs.
  • 1958: the TC-1 was the world's first transistor church organ.[8]
  • 1959: Solid State Tone Generation (transistors) replaced vacuum tube oscillators in the entire Allen line.
  • 1960: Allen introduced its patented "Random Motion Electronic", or "Whind".
  • 1963: First European representation established in Zurich, Switzerland.[9]
  • 1969: Allen entered into a joint venture with North American Rockwell for digital sound research and development. The Digital Computer Organ employed LSI (Large Scale Integration) circuits.
  • 1971: Using the technical knowledge co-developed with Rockwell International, in 1971 Allen produced the world's first digital organs. That same year, Sharp introduced its hand-held calculator. Together, these were the world's first two digital consumer products.[10][11]
  • 2004: Allen's first digital musical instrument became part of Smithsonian's collection of musical instruments.[12][13]
  • 2010: Allen Organ Company Honored by United States Congress[14][15]


Quantum line[edit]

The Quantum organ line uses a digital processing technique called the convolution reverb, a technique widely used in both software and hardware musical instruments. In Allen's implementation of the technique, the acoustics of the sampled room become an integral part of the organ's sound. An 8-second stereo convolution reverb requires about 35 billion calculations per second; Allen patented a technique to reduce the computation amount to about 400 million calculations per second. A digital organ that produces Compact Disc quality sound without convolution reverb would require only about 100,000 calculations per second for each sound. Quantum organs include about 4,000 times that capacity to create convolution reverb.

Electric Organs[edit]

The Allen organ is a type of electronic organ that was created in 1937 and 1939. It was the first organ to become available for sale to the public. The Allen organ company was also responsible for creating the first transistorized organ in 1951. In addition to that, a new way of generating sound, by digital waves, for the organ was produced in 1971. This new technology, new at the time, is seen in many organs that are available now.[16]

Allen Organs created a handful of electric pianos in the 1980s. Some are:


A computer software called GENISYS controls the sound and power panels on the organs. GENISYS is seen as the company’s best for sound quality and tone control. There is a variety of orchestral and organ tones that can be tuned for an individual’s organ. The sound can be modified using a computer program that goes along with the GENISYS interface.[17]


The Allen Organ company branch Macungie, Pennsylvania, is now a museum. In the museum, you can look at how an organ is made and the history and take tour of the museum.[7]

See also[edit]

  • Carlo Curley — was an Allen organist
  • Virgil Fox played an Allen organ on his Heavy Organ tours.[18]
  • Walt Strony — an organist who designed a digital organ for Allen, the Allen STR-4.


  1. ^ Allen International Headquarters
  2. ^ "ALLEN USHERS IN A NEW RENAISSANCE." Music Trades, vol. 148, no. 9, Oct. 2000, p. 112. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-27. Retrieved 2016-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Jerome Markowitz low frequency oscillator patent
  5. ^ Allen Organ collaborative effort with North American Rockwell
  6. ^ The 111th Congress 2nd Session Congressional Record honored Allen Organ technological advancements and the Smithsonian acquisition of the first Allen Digital Organ
  7. ^ a b Taylor, Kathryn (November 2008). "'Allen Organs' Anniversary". Organ. 87 (346): 35.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-12. Retrieved 2016-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-12. Retrieved 2016-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-02-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Davies, Hugh (2001). "Allen Organ". Grove Music Online.
  17. ^ "ALLEN ORGAN: PIONEERING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO MODERN-DAY ORGAN LINE AIMED AT DISCERNING CUSTOMERS." Music Trades, vol. 167, no. 11, Dec. 2019, p. 90+. Gale Academic OneFile, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.
  18. ^ "Virgil Fox Allen Touring Organ". Allen Organ Company. Retrieved 2011-01-19.

External links[edit]