Johann Andreas Silbermann | St-Thomas . Strasbourg [France]

web JASil STh Pierre Marteau_CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 crop

Photography by Pierre Marteau
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The St-Thomas organ was built by Johann Andreas Silbermann from 1740 to 1741 and had originally 3 manuals and pedal, and 29 stops. In 1790 the first changes occur with the addition of a Trompette in the Echo section, by Conrad Sauer (father of Jean-Conrad Sauer).

From 1836 to 1860 the organ suffers several changes by Martin Wetzel, including the removal of high pitch mixtures to insert new romantic stops on the several sections, including the Grand Orgue’s Salicional, for long considered of Silbermann facture.

In 1908 the organ is repaired by Dalstein & Haerpfer, after Albert Schweitzer prevented the dismantling of this instrument and construction of a new one. Even though, some significant changes occurred during the repair works with the cutting of pipes to raise the pitch and the change of additional stops, including romantic registers changed for neoclassical-mood registers. Later, in 1956, Ernest Muhleisen removes more original Silbermann stops and converts the pneumatic traction to an electrical one. At this time the instrument had 4 manuals and 58 stops.

From 1977 to 1979 the organ is restored by Alfred Kern, trying to revert partially to the original Silbermann disposition. Some romantic characteristics are still left, but the organ is almost completely returned to its original state. About 900 pipes (including façade pipes) still remain from Silbermann, corresponding to about 17 registers. Some stops were already dispersed in other instruments, as the Voix humaine located in the Marienthal instrument and the Doublette in the Niederroedern organ.

The case was built by Johann August Nahl der Ältere, according to a drawing by Silbermann, and is made out of oak. On the central tower there was a statue of St. Thomas, later disappeared in 1794 during the French revolution. The original console was preserved and can be seen today on the church. The organ has currently 38 registers and is tuned at 404 Hz, according to the “ton français”.


1740-1741 – organ construction
1790 – organ changes by Conrad Sauer
1822 – organ cleaning by Jean-Conrad Sauer
1836-1860 – organ changes by Martin Wetzel
1908 – organ repairs by Dalstein & Haerpfer
1925-1927 – organ changes with pneumatic traction by Georges Schwenkedel
1956 – organ changes by Ernest Muhleisen
1977-1979 – organ restoration by Alfred Kern


Positif de dos Grand-Orgue Echo Pédale
Bourdon 8′ Bourdon 16′ Bourdon 8′ Soubasse 16′
Prestant 4′ Montre 8′ Salicional 8′ Octavebasse 8′
Flûte 4′ Bourdon 8′ Prestant 4′ Quinte 5’1/3
Nasard 2’2/3 Prestant 4′ Flûte 4′ Prestant 4′
Doublette 2′ Nasard 2’2/3 Doublette 2′ Bombarde 16′
Tierce 1’3/5 Doublette 2′ Larigot 1’1/3 Trompette 8′
Fourniture III Tierce 1’3/5 Flageolet 1′ Clairon 4′
Cromorne 8′ Cornet V Cornet IV
Fourniture IV Cymbale III
Cymbale III Trompette 8′
Trompette 8′
Clairon 4′
Voix humaine 8′

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