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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?
  16. Henley also lists: 'Thorley, N. Worked at Failsworth (Manchester), 1830-1865. Orchestral player. Produced a good number of violins and 'cellos which were readily taken up by Lancashire players.'
  17. The 'made in Germany' label suggests something made in the Shonbach/Markneuchien area and probably after 1921. The 1890 Mckinley tarrif act was amended in 1914 so that all imports were required to say "Made in" in addition to including country of origin. It was further amended in 1921 so that all imports had to include the country of origin in English.
  18. Bob K

    Strad label

    Or even 'Fieca bad'............. Were they trying to tell us something?
  19. Bob K

    Violin ID

    I had formed the impression that 'Cornerblockology' is only a good guide up to the early part of C20th after which factories started to take over from the cottage industries and the various construction methods become harder to distinguish? Is that a reasonable view? So is Blank Face's 'Made in Czechoslovakia' violin shown, being a bit later, a progression from the b.o.b. cottage industry product to (maybe a 'factory'?) using moulds? What sort of age do peolpe think for the OP violin? - from Jacob's response, I would infer early 1900s?
  20. That's the third one I've had with the same label so perhaps they were applied by/for a UK importer.
  21. Are they in Jacob's bin? I had another one with a similar label a while back. It didn't have a through neck but it did have all the linings. The underside of the table was rougher than the one above. I suppose they came in all combinations.
  22. I was not being disparaging - rather, I have read too many posts where cottage industry Markneukirchen/Schonbach area instruments have been referred to as 'the usual' or 'rubbish' (or both), VSO's (Violin shaped objects) or 'boxes', in comparison to fine violins by named makers. That is why I used quotation marks. I can assure you that, having spent a career attempting to teach various practical skills to teenagers, I have considerable admiration for the undoubted skills of those who made a living through creating these instruments. I don't want to adjust anything. The ribs seemed narrow and on seeing the lack of linings to the top edges I briefly had a fanciful idea that there may have been some prior adjustment carried out to achieve the correct geometry. As was pointed out, it is far more likely that the violin was originally made that way.
  23. I am posting pics of the violin (or VSO) I mentioned in a previous topic with a more straightforward question as a title. It has back length of 355mm, no corner blocks, through neck, narrow ribs (28mm) and generally appears to be the product of low end cottage industry manufacture. I think the fingerboard and nut could be replacements. It is labelled 'Fecit Saxony' as shown. Aside from comments on the possible area of manufacture, any idea of the age would also be appreciated. Thanks.
  24. I think that is the most likely explanation. Although it is undoubtedly 'rubbish', I am always trying to improve my understanding of the differences in construction that help identify age/possible area of manufacture. I will post some pictures and measurements to see if there are any more clues.
  25. I have a well used 'fecit Saxony' labelled violin which appears to be 'the usual rubbish' but has narrow ribs, at only 28mm. Inside, there are no corner blocks, a smooth underside to the table, a short bass bar and a through neck. The bottom block is narrow and square. The lower, spruce, linings are quite rectangular but there are no linings to the top edge........... I am wondering if this was due to a modification at some point; lowering the whole table as an alternative to altering the neck angle? There are no obvious signs of repair so I guess it was either original or, otherwise, cleanly done. Has anyone else encountered this or was the omission of linings just another short cut?
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