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Allen Organ

By Jaccii Farris
Published On: Aug 15 2011 11:50:30 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 02 2011 11:42:48 AM CST
LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. -

If you've been to a church service or a ball game chances are you've heard an Allen organ.

The sound is unmistakable..

Since 1939 Allen Organ has been entertaining all kinds of crowds.

The Lower Macungie Township company got its start in Allentown.

Over the last 70 years it's grown to become the largest organ manufacturer in the world.

"We manufacture two basic types of instruments. The first is called a classical organ and that will be like the big pipe organs in Europe and most of the organs used in churches," said Allen Organ sales Vice President Barry Holben. "The second is the cinema organ or theater organ and Radio City Music Hall is an example of that type of instrument."

Workers at the plant create about 1,000 custom made organs a year.

Everything from the draw knobs to the keys to the case are made right here.

The 250 employees are split on which organ sounds better, classic or theater. But one thing they do agree on is Allen Organ is a great place to work.

"We have sons of employees and daughters of employees and we have had many employees with 50 or more years of service so it's and extended family and we are very proud of that," said Holben.

Another thing they are proud of, starting the digital music instrument wave back in 1971 with the first digital organ.

Allen did it by partnering with a company that created the technology for NASA's Apollo program.

"North American Rockwell thought this was a good opportunity to apply digital technology to the music industry," said Holben.

That organ is now in the Smithsonian but since that first innovation many more have followed at Allen Organ.

And they were all made right here in the Lehigh Valley.