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Help with maker i.d.


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Thanks for checking Regis. Did you, by chance, check Henley's? I understand that is one of the most comprehensive sources. Also, there is a work by Azzolina on 18th & 19th century Italian makers that would probably be an excellent source. Unfortunately, I don't own these. Thanks again, Ron.

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There's an article by Alan Coggins in the October 2003 Strad that addresses this - apparrently, many makers (including plenty of amateurs of dubious ability) were allowed to add their own entries prior to publication, because Henley died before the book was finished. It's an excellent article - you might want to get a copy if you're interested.

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I think that many of the unknown makers are "Trade Names" like "Henri Farny" violins made for The Wurlitzer Co. named after Rudolph Wurlitzer's first son Farny. J.W. Pepper imported violins to the US until around 1925 with names like Fredrich Glasel, Joseph Bachmann Fissin, and I'm sure many others. Some of those instruments are quite nice. Henleys has a listing for "John Juzek", but no one seems to know when he was born or died, and Metropolitan Music Co. sells John Juzek violins described as being made by today's finest makers. I have a first edition Fairfield that has no mention of Juzek. I know that E.H.Roth died in 1948 yet someone is still cranking out violins bearing his name. So is that a copy of a Roth copy of a Guarnerius? Henleys is a good start but I'm also in search for the answers to some of the same questions. Maybe others will chime in.

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At a VSA speech I asked Charles Beare about the many obscure makers that Dykes in England used to sell in their STRAD magazine ads that no one sees now, and he said that they made them up, and faked excellent labels to go with the names. I've made nearly 200 violins now, and as far as I know, I'm not in any makers' book because I'm "between authors"--when Wenberg came around collecting names, I was working in the business, but I wasn't making yet, and no one's taken names since.

It's especially easy for a maker who wasn't really professional, and made only a few violins to fall between the cracks--and there were probably thousands that fall into that category. I often see violins that people call "beautiful" and they're looking for the maker's name--since the violin is so "beautiful" he must be famous. Then when I see those violins, I see a crude, ugly thing with beautiful wood and a nice color--that's most people's criteria for a nice violin.

I also know one maker in Wenberg who wasn't involved at all with violins, but was entered by someone as a joke. This type of book is very vulnerable to errors--no one can know everything. Henley's got "Acevo" and "Sappino" as makers--those are the Latin names for Maple and Spuce, and there weren't makers by that name. My favorite Henley entry, though, is Paolo Barbieri.

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