- a threat to European organ heritage

The organ belongs to the core of European culture reflecting its diverse histories, traditions and stylistic periods. The European heritage of the organ is preserved in numerous historical instruments.
One major threat to this heritage is the indoor atmospheric corrosion of lead and lead-tin alloys of organ metal pipes, constituting the central sounding part of the organ.

Corroded pipe from the Stellwagen organ in Lübeck

The COLLAPSE project objectives were to define relevant methods and products as well as to create conservation strategies in order to combat the corrosion of lead and lead-tin alloy organ pipes:

  • Through field studies and laboratory experiments to identify the factors which cause indoor atmospheric corrosion of lead-tin alloy organ pipes in order to avoid or improve corrosive environments.

  • To develop methods to clean, protect and preserve already corroded pipes from further corrosion.

  • To apply the recommended conservation strategies in a case study using the historical Stellwagen organ in St. Jakobi Church, Lübeck, severely affected by corrosion.

  • To develop and present guidelines for a European conservation strategy within this field, in order to contribute to the safeguarding of an essential part of the cultural identity which once was a driving force behind the creation of European city life.


EC Fifth Framework Programme:
Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development
EVK4-CT-2002-00088 COLLAPSE
Corrosion of Lead and Lead-Tin Alloys of Organ Pipes in Europe
Duration: 2003 - 2006



University of Gothenburg, Göteborg Organ Art Center, Sweden.

Ev.-Luth. Kirchengemeinde St. Jakobi, Lübeck, Germany

Marcussen & Søn, Organ building company, Denmark

Environmental Inorganic Chemistry,
Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden

Department of Metals Science, Electrochemistry
and Chemical Techniques,
Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Italy