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Dobson organs are found throughout US

LAKE CITY — Dobson Pipe Organ Builders has been a major presence in Lake City since its founding in 1974.

In the years since the company opened its doors, it has produced pipe organs whose music has filled church sanctuaries and college auditoriums throughout the continental United States. At least one Dobson organ is in use in Britain.

The company was founded in November 1974 by Lynn A. Dobson.

Its organs are made of wood, including poplar and oak. Cow bone is used for the plating on the keys.

In 1992, the company began making its own pipes instead of importing them from Germany.

Each organ is custom-designed. A small one would have about 400 pipes, while the big ones have 2,000 or more pipes.

A typical organ takes two and a half years to build. When a completed Dobson organ is shipped, some company workers go along to properly install it.

Two of the company’s biggest organs went to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles and St. Thomas Church in New York City.

In northern Iowa, Dobson organs can be found at Lake City Union Church, Iowa State University in Ames, Emanuel Lutheran Church in Dayton and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Webster City. There are also Dobson organs at Wartburg Theological Seminary and the University of Dubuque, both in Dubuque.

Lynn Dobson, the company’s founder, retired in February 2020, after about 45 years in the business. He was replaced as the company’s president by John A. Panning.

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