indexThe company's financial historycategories
head paper


The public commission to build an organ for the royal church of St Denis meant that Aristide Cavaillé-Coll had to balance his accounts by borrowing either from private individuals - Henri Place, the banker -or from official banking institutions.

Therefore, the practice in the XIXth Century was for loans to be repaid by the district and church councils and other administrative bodies by assignment of the debt to the. projects underway. The Cavaillé-Coll Company was to obtain other loans by mortgaging its property holdings which meant that the Company had a very precarious trade balance for a time. It thus had to have a well-filled order book as Aristide Cavaillé-Coll stated "I must point out on this subject that, since most of my work is for churches, I am obliged to negotiate in particular with church councils. The district councils and the State often only contribute in terms of grants and aid to the churches".

Joseph Merklin the organ builder - Cavaillé-Coll's main competitor -for his part remarked, on October 21 1882 that: "The administration des cultes that has honoured us with its confidence for many years, has always encouraged the Bishops to choose an organ builder before putting the work out to tender and has never presented estimates from different organ builders for the same work. That is how organ projects have been largely shared between the Cavaillé-Coll Company and ours".

This was clearly an allusion to the support given to the Cavaillé-Coll Company by the State. The presence of Mr Hyppolyte Blanc, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's brother-in-law, at the Administration des Cultes, made him the favoured beneficiary of the Government throughout his career till he retired in 1881.

Overdue loans were the cause of the sale of the Manufacture Avenue du Maine, in 1892.

back to top of page