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Bob K

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  1. I'm not an expert but, if you haven't already done so, you could compare with some examples on Tarisio: https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/browse-the-archive/makers/maker/?Maker_ID=133
  2. The red by the end pin looks like it has been used to cover the repair. Possibly also to touch up some edges?
  3. Bob K

    Fake Tonikas?

    Can't comment on Viola strings but the windings on the Tonica violin strings I recently fitted have their spiral going in the opposite direction.
  4. Yes - as already stated by @JRyan it is now possible to see that the ribs have been formed by clamping the ends and cutting off roughly flush with the corners, which means the construction style used is known as 'built on the back'. Together with the overall appearance of the violin that confirms to me, (not an expert but from several years of following Maestronet) that this is a typical early C20th Cottage industry trade violin probably made in the area of Markneukirchen (Germany) and Schonbach (now Luby in the Czech Republic).
  5. I am not an expert but it doesn't look French to me. Is it not 'the usual' (i.e MK/Sch trade)? Looks similar to some I have seen labelled 'Saxony'. Some pictures of the corners and rib joins might help with identification.
  6. Phew! - good job it turned out well. I've just re-read my post above, which was more of a comment on the black gunky stuff and a method I've used for restoring the finish on furniture such as rustic chairs. I would be more careful with a violin and only tinker with mass produced trade fiddles. Where necessary, I use a commercial cleaning solution that I get from Beare & son in the UK but I'm sure there are many similar products. If anyone who's reading this has a nice violin that needs cleaning take it to a professional for advice first!
  7. I was under the impression that the names given were broadly model types/grades so e.g. a Barnabetti was a mid priced type that had nice flamed timber and light brown varnish, whereas the familiar Medio Finos are always plain with scratched purfling and something like an A Salvator is always purfled and flamed but has deep red finish, etc. etc.? Could there also have been an element of sound quality checking before they were 'graded' and assigned a label?
  8. Regarding 2. The Strad article https://www.thestrad.com/lutherie/cutting-corner-blocks-inside-the-markneukirchen-violin-factory/13450.article states: 'His machine was not the first used to carve violins,.......' So that begs the question: What was the first machine used to carve violins? It goes on: 'but it was certainly the quickest of its time. It employed a drum to mount eight pieces of work, which were rotated at the same rate as a cylinder mounted with patterns. As the drum turned, a cutter (turning at 6000rpm) travelled along a screw, making the same cut on each of the eight pieces' So, whatever had existed previously, the Thau machine was obviously more advanced and far superior in terms of quantity production. Stratton's sales catalogue is full of many other musical instruments and accessories of all types. The section for violins includes some that he claims were manufactured at Gohlis and the only reference to machining is regarding plate graduation. Everything else could be 'standard' (MK/Sch?) style construction and could have used bought in parts. (as Delabo has suggested) Stratton's cheapest 'in house' violins were offered (wholesale) in the US at $12 per doz. and may well have been "nothing [more] than an average low level Vogtland violin'. In his catalogue, 'German violins' and 'French violins' cost considerably more, with a top end Strad copy at $52, but he doesn't claim to have made any of those. It is pretty clear his factory wasn't overly successful in competion with the Markneukirchen outworker supplied industry or it would have survived for longer. However, that doesn't mean it didn't exist.
  9. From reading the catalogue and elsewhere, Stratton only seems to claim to have used machinery for thicknessing the plates. Other than that, and considering he also seems to previously have had a wind instrument factory, in Markneukirchen, and therefore presumably contacts with the violin trade, is it not plausible that the methods employed to assemble the parts were similar to those typically used in Mk/Sch. i.e. built on the back? His catalogue also states that some of his factory instruments were stamped with e.g. 'Ole Bull' and 'Paganini' which are both types I have seen in the UK. Maybe they never made reference to Stratton and so people have assumed they were the normal dutzendarbeit MK output?
  10. Or Maybe Stratton set up his factory just before the crash and the picture shows a royal visit to the new factory? Apparently, Preußen Waffenrock was adopted in Sachsen (Saxony) in 1849, but I got that from the internet so it's probably all part of the deep fake violin factory conspiricy.
  11. It seems like they went to great lengths then: Die Geigen-Fabrik von John F. Stratton in Gohlis bei Leipzig. Sehr schönes Sammelblatt mit 7 Abbildungen. Zeigt: 1. Äußere Ansicht. 2. Saal der Maschinen zur Fabrikation der einzelnen Teile. 3. Saal der Hals-, Griffbrett-, und Saitenhalter Schneidemaschinen. 4. Saal der Maschinen zum Schneiden des Bodens und der Decke. 5. Zusammensetzung der Teile. 6. Boden und Deckenschneidemaschine (Vorderansicht). 7. Lackiersaal. Musikinstrumentenbau, Published by Holzstich nach E. Kirchhoff, aus dem Jahr., 1873
  12. Why would they provide false information and images of a factory? According to an article in 'the Strad', The Aktiengesellschaft factory in Markneukirchen, equipped with Thau’s carving machines produced their first unfinished violin bodies and components arriving on the market in October 1907. They give an extract from an article that appeared in April 2011 entitled: ’Markneukirchen: The rise and fall of Germany’s first violin factory’. However, the article also states that 'His machine was not the first used to carve violins, but it was certainly the quickest of its time. It employed a drum to mount eight pieces of work, which were rotated at the same rate as a cylinder mounted with patterns. As the drum turned, a cutter (turning at 6000rpm) travelled along a screw, making the same cut on each of the eight pieces'. This is much more complex than the process descibed in the Stratton Catalogue which was still apparently a one off carving technique but using powered tools.
  13. Very interesting........ I have found a slightly later version of this catalog online (after 1876 at the earliest as there is a reference to a medal awarded at an 1876 exhibition) : https://urresearch.rochester.edu/fileDownloadForInstitutionalItem.action;jsessionid=8D8CFDE26C96910B0E63C5D21FCBBDAB?itemId=13245&itemFileId=30667 This could suggest a major source of all those late C19th trade violins with the Hopf/Paganini/Ole Bull etc. type stamps on the back and maybe also some of those bearing 'Fecit Saxony' labels?
  14. Thanks, Blank Face. I thought that a few people might have hung on to the 'old way' of doing things but they probably wouldn't have been able to compete for long against machine manufacture.
  15. Did all makers switch to machine carving as soon as it became available or did that change happen over a longer period of time? I have seen similar rough carved tables in violins bearing a 'Made in Czechoslovakia' label which I had assumed were made around 1920s at the earliest, because the state of 'Czechoslovakia' didn't exist before 1918?
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