Hi All -
I have a violin that was given to me by my Great Aunt, in 1980. I played it until 1995, and then unfortunately it was "lost". It has been found and now I'm interested in learning more about it. I'm wondering if anyone here has some ideas of it's origins.
I know we can't always rely on tags, but the tag inside says "Reconstructed by B.F. Phillips & Sons. Cameo Bldg, 5th Floor. Pgh, PA. Aug 1936. E.S.P."
B.F. (Benjamin Franklin) Phillips was from Warsaw, Poland. His father and grandfather (last name Filipiak) both were violin makers. BF came to the US around 1905 (name changed to Phillips) and set up shop in Pittsburgh. My research indicates he made approximately 150 violins and he was known for making them from woods recycled from old churches or buildings. BF passed away in 1977, in Pittsburgh.
I believe the initials E.S.P. on the tag are that of BF's son Edwin Stanley Phillips. I have not found a lot of information on Edwin, but I did see that BF's other son, Eugene Walter Phillips played with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for more than 40 years.
I would assume that if this violin were originally constructed by B.F. then the tag would say "made by" rather than "reconstructed". However, I don't know what might be underneath the tag and I won't attempt to look. Assuming the violin was reconstructed by BF's son, I'm wondering about the origins of the violin.
The only other information I have: I grew up in the Pittsburgh area. My Great Aunt was active in Pittsburgh orchestras, as was her husband. My aunt was from the Pittsburgh area. She married a man who had recently arrived from Greece. He and his adult siblings came to the US together and all were musicians. I don't know if the violin may have belonged to his family. The violin was given to me with a "Tourte" stamped bow. I KNOW it's not a genuine Torte. I'd love to learn more about it also and can upload pictures too.
I have additional photos of the violin also or I can upload pictures of specific areas, if anyone has questions. Thanks so much!