Notes for Johann Jacob Dieffenbach: Johann Jacob Dieffenbach, 1744-1803, is known as the first organ builder in America. According to Albert F. Robinson in his article "Historic American Organ Builders, Part II" (Music 10/2, Feb 1976, 36-38), John Jacob was a cartwright who determined to build an organ based on the study of an imported model: "According to Victor C. and Ray J. Dieffenbach, ... 'One day he filled his pockets with fried sausage, dried beef, bread wrapped in muslin--eatables that would keep him for several days--took his stout oaken cane and set out fo the City of Brotherly Love.' None of the records show which church he visited, but the 'sexton showed him the organ' and he took careful measurements of all of the parts, writing them down in a little notebook. On his arrival home he immediately began building an organ, working from these notes. Once the case was finished (of native black walnut), he began to make the pipes. But he did not know how to solder the metal pipes until an itinerant journeyman (a tinner) taught him, and he was able to finish all of the rest by himself. He stored the various parts in a barn until he could construct a special niche (with raised ceiling) in his home at Bethel, PA. Shortly, Johann Jacob sold this organ to Eppler's Church (near Reading) where it served continuously for a full century. When the church was enlarged in 1877, a larger organ built by a great-grandson (Thomas) replaced the first Dieffenbach organ. However, Johann Jacob's Opus I was preserved, has been restored (1970 by Thomas S. Eader), and is displayed by the Historical Society of Berks County in Reading" (p. 37).
More About Johann Jacob Dieffenbach: Occupation: Abt. 1774, First organ builder in America.28
Children of Johann Jacob Dieffenbach and Sabina Schmeltzer are: