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Philosophy

 

The Ruffatti Story

From traditional mechanical action organs to highly developed and efficient electro-pneumatic action organs to all-electric action organs, we offer custom tonal and architectural design, meticulously handmade pipes, superior quality materials, fine woodworking and exquisite craftsmanship to meet the needs of each and every one of our customers. Whether the installation is in a private home, a church or temple, a college or university, or a concert hall, Ruffatti quality and attention to detail remains constant.

The organ world is comprised of many different schools of thought and many histories. It is a rare company that can encompass the best of it all, yet this is our goal.

From simple beginnings five centuries ago came the sweet sounds of our Italian organs. Over the years, we refined those sounds and added a variety of others from different parts of Europe. The world discovered us in 1966, when we discovered America. Famous now in that most international of countries, our firm is becoming the new international standard of excellence among pipe organ manufacturers. Shouldering that responsibility with pride, we feel that Fratelli Ruffatti truly belongs to and embraces the world.

Padua, Italy Our story begins in Padova — Padua, Italy — that most modern of medieval cities. Padua, as well as the entire Venetian area of Italy, has always been famous for its pipe organ building. By the 1700s, a unique school of organbuilding had emerged in Venice, founded by Pietro Nacchini and his successors. The most famous of these was Gaetano Callido, who built more than four hundred organs in his lifetime. The unique characteristics of this historic organ-building school form the basis of the Ruffatti tradition.

Antonio Ruffatti and his two brothers learned the organbuilding trade while working for a local firm which, in addition to tracing its musical roots to Nacchini and Callido, boasted more than a century of tradition in organbuilding and manufacture.

The Basilica of St. Anthony

The Basilica of St. Anthony

The 14th century Palazzo della Ragione

The 14th century Palazzo della Ragione

Antonio Ruffatti, Founder

Antonio Ruffatti, Founder,
1912-2001

 

 

In 1940, Antonio Ruffatti and his two brothers founded the firm of Famiglia Artigiana Fratelli Ruffatti — Ruffatti Brothers, Family of Artisans — the full and original name of the company which remains unchanged today. The firm has produced more than five hundred instruments of all sizes, in Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The lineage and heritage of Fratelli Ruffatti continues in the twenty-first century with the second generation of Ruffatti brothers, Francesco Ruffatti and Piero Ruffatti, the sons of Antonio, who joined the firm as partners in 1968. Since their father’s retirement in 1992, Francesco and Piero have shared the responsibility of running Fratelli Ruffatti.

Piero Ruffatti

Piero Ruffatti

Piero Ruffatti grew up in the family business, helping to install new organs and working in the design department. He studied engineering at the University of Padua and became a partner in the firm at the age of twenty-five. Piero heads the design department and supervises manufacturing, with particular attention to technical solutions, safety of operations, and quality control. He has served as President of the Italian Organbuilders Association, and as Vice-President of the International Society of Organbuilders.

Francesco Ruffatti

Francesco Ruffatti

 

Francesco Ruffatti worked on installations in his teens, then specialized in the tonal aspect of the work and became a reed and flue voicer. He studied economics at the University of Venice and became a partner in the firm at twenty-three. He is the tonal designer for the company and personally performs the tonal finishing on many new Ruffatti organs. Francesco also finishes most of the historic restorations performed by Ruffatti, and is known internationally as a lecturer on the subject. He is a two-term past president of the Italian Organbuilders Association.

 

 

 

 

The Ruffatti staff in 1960

The Ruffatti staff in 1960

 


Design and Philosophy

Church of the Epiphany, Miami, Florida
Each Fratelli Ruffatti organ is a unique and fascinating creation. The tonal planning of each of our instruments takes into consideration the ideas and musical needs of the customer as well as the space available and the acoustic environment. The primary objective of the aesthetic design is to blend with the existing architecture. Although most of our instruments utilize the traditional mechanical action, we also produce instruments with highly developed and efficient electro-pneumatic and all-electric actions. We believe that a tradition is strong only as long as it continues to develop. While we continue to refine the sounds of warm Italian principals and singing flutes, we have added a wide variety of European and American organ sounds previously unknown in Italy, making our instruments truly international.

In this world of specialization and corporate diversification, it is possible to have parts from ten or twenty different manufacturers and suppliers within a single instrument. It is the Ruffatti tradition, however, to manufacture every organ part possible in our own factory, from our windchests to our wooden drawknobs and stop tablets to our flue and reed pipes. We take great care in selecting only first-quality materials for our instruments to ensure durability and efficient performance under the most widely varied climatic conditions.

 

We buy only organically cured leather from a tiny village in Southern Italy. We select our own African mahogany logs as they come off the ship and season the wood naturally in our shop for five years or more before use. We select the metal alloy best suited for each rank of pipes in each organ and pour our own pipe metals to specific formulas. In some of our manufacturing processes, such as the metal pipe department, all work is done by hand, using centuries-old techniques. Other processes rely on modern machinery, some of which has been invented by our own craftsmen, to perform highly specialized tasks. Visitors to our factory are amazed by the contrast: advanced technology partnered with an incredible care for handcrafted detail.

 

After manufacture and before shipping, each organ is completely assembled in the erecting room of our factory. We check every part of the instrument and never leave any structural work to be completed at the installation site. We supervise the final installation of all organs ourselves, using both Italian and local installers and finishers to totally finish the organ in its final acoustical environment. This preliminary factory assembly vastly reduces the labor hours and cost needed for the final installation — a significant savings in both time and money for the customer.