In 1923, the bakery clerk Jacob Vreeken (1899-1976) decided to start selling organs. Vreeken was already familiar with the instrument–he played the organ in the local church on Sundays.
To finance his enterprise, Vreeken gave organ lessons for 0,75 cents (about 0,22 pence) an hour and repaired old harmoniums.
Hard Work and Many Advertisements
“If they can’t find me, they can’t buy from me!”, thus Vreeken. Out of every penny of profit, he spent half on advertising.
These costs were so out of proportion, that he had to convince the tax office that he had indeed spent all this money on advertising.
In 1928, Vreeken left the premises where his shop was established, and moved to the centre of the small town of Bodegraven. Here, he started to import organs from Germany.
From Organs to Paintings
Toward the end of the Second World War, the trade came to a stop. In 1945, Vreeken decided to start trading in paintings instead. Just one hour before the official opening of his new shop, he abandoned this venture.
Using a bank loan, he bought as many used pianos and harmoniums as he could afford and made his way back into the organ business. Due to a tremendous amount of publicity, his instrument sales boomed.
The First Electronic Organs
In 1950, Vreeken started importing the electronic Multimonica organ from Germany. This was the beginning of his venture in electronic engineering.
Nine years later, he decided on the development of his first electronic organ with one manual, quite different from the organs that he had been importing from America and Germany.
The Name Eminent
In 1961, the first model was introduced, the Eminent 60. Sales picked up and in 1965, the production of the Solina organs started. Exporting organs became a substantial part of his business.
In 1969, the organ business relocated to Waddinxveen, where it acquired two factory buildings in order to obtain the required space for the expanded production.
One year later, Jacob Vreeken, by then 70 years old, resigned as managing director.
In 1990, Eminent commenced development of a new digital system. This system could be voiced in its smallest details, whereby the organs could be customised to fit every space in which they were installed.
This design still forms the basis of the newest generation of instruments today.
In 1994, Eminent Organs moved to a new building in Lelystad. Apart from the enhanced production facilities, the building also contains a 100 seat auditorium specially designed for the demonstration of organs, and for concerts.
Now, following developments in electronics and software, the Eminent organ continues to be able to fully meet the highest demands of our customers.
The company closely monitors the developments in electronic engineering and software, to continuously improve the quality of sound of our instruments, their flexibility and reliability.