indexThe familycategories
Gabriel Cavaillé-Coll

CAVAILLE-COLL Gabriel (1864-1916)


Gabriel Cavaillé-Coll was born in Paris on October 17 1864. He attended the Petit Séminaire Notre-Dame-des-Champs with his brothers Emmanuel and Joseph. He was particularly interested in how electricity could be applied to the organ and was attracted to new technologies. He had a telephone as soon as they came out!

On the south side of the workshops, on the second floor of the Manufacture Avenue du Maine,Gabriel Cavaillé-Coll "had at his disposal a large quantity of experimental equipment, various electrical apparatuses, voltmeters, ammetres, Froment motors, accumulators and so forth for studying how to use electricity in church organs".

His relationship with his father, Aristide, became strained. Charles-Marie Widor came to the young man's aid by ordering a drawing room organ whose case was inspired by the white and gold one built in 1747 and called "du Dauphin" (Château de Versailles). On May 17 1892, just as the Cavaillé-Coll business was in the midst of liquidation, and after working for his father for eleven years, Gabriel Cavaillé-Coll established his own company with a rich associate, Albert Kastner-Boursault. The company headquarters were at No17 rue Bonaparte in Paris and the workshops at Ivry-sur-Seine. The company survived for a year then declared bankruptcy on November 10 1893. The unlucky young man left for Avilès in Spain, the homeland of old family, where he married and worked in the coalmines as an engineer till his death in 1916.

back to top of page