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Violin Trade Names


Brad Dorsey

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The subject of trade names was just brought up in another thread. It seemed timely because I've recently been compiling a list of them. Here are some from my list: Geronimo Barnabetti, Francois Barzoni, Nicolas Bertholini, F Breton, Buthod, Chadwick, H Clotelle, M Couturieux, Antonio Curatoli, Wilhelm Duerer, Henri Farny, G A Ficker, Florentina, Leanardo Genaro, Ottomar Hausmann, Friedrich August Heberlin, Gustav Heberlein, Heinrich E Heberlein, Julius Heberlein, Ludwig Heberlein, Jacobus Hornsteiner, Matthias Hornsteiner, Ernst Kreusler, Carlo Lorenzini, Antonio Loveri, L Ludwig, E Martin, Eugen Meinel, Oskar C Meinel, Carlo Micelli, Milano, Andreas Morelli, D Nicolas, Paillot, Eduard Reichert, Enrico Robella, Salvadore De Durro, A Salvator, Timtone, Francesco Viotoni. And I'm sure there are many more who could be on this list.

I could be completely wrong about the status of these names as mere trade names. Some of these guys started out as real makers and became trade names. For example, Matthias Hornsteiner and Georg Carl Kretzschmann were real 18th Century German makers whose names were later used as trade names in the 20th Century by the "John Juzek" shop, which was itself a trade name. A more typical example of a real maker becoming a trade name might be August Rau, who was a good 20th Century German bowmaker. He established a workshop with his sons and probably a bunch of other bowmakers working for him. After he died, his widow sold the rights to the August Rau name to an instrument dealer who bought unstamped Rau-style bows from various master bowmakers and stamped them "August Rau."

I thought of 2 more this morning: Josef Metzner & Jan Kriml.

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Henley and Jalovec both list several apparently real makers named Fiorini. Henley also says that Andrea Fiorini violins were "commercial instruments manufactured solely for Beare & Sons, London, 1928...High grade instruments worked entirely by hand..." Francois Barzoni was also a Beare trade name.

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"Did you forget Roth? (Roth is everywhere) or it does not count."

I didn't forget Roth; I just thought he had been discussed here enough. I would put him in the real-maker-who-became-a-trade-name category. Of course, he didn't actually make virtually all of the instruments that bear his name.

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A good thread topic, Brad. I'll add my favorite French one: J.B. Colin. His DNA has been earnestly sought, but never found.

I'm not quite sure about Ottomar Hausmann. There are lots of trade-quality violins going around under that name, but I have an impression that this was a maker and teacher at Mittenwald no more than 50-60 years ago. I could be mistaken, though.

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Antonio Curatoli is a curious and unresolved mystery. Several people have told me this is a trade name from the ER Schmidt company.

My fiddle dates from 1920 (number 793). Thread about my Curatoli.

Someone on the FiddleForum has one from 1905 (number 1907). Thread on Fiddle Forum.

Which might indicate two different trade lines from two different companies.

Then I found a reference in a 1975 German book on violinmaking and in the second volume found:

***************

Curatoli, Antonio, Neapal. 1900.

Ein Streichinstrumentenhändler, der auch gelernter Geigenmächer sein soll.

-Dei Geigen un Lauten Marchier

--Lutendorff

***************

Which really throws a wrench in the works as it means the trade name might be in use BEFORE an actual maker.

The only maker in Naples I found making string instruments was a lute and mandolin maker (a catalogue of his shop was on EBay recently).

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There seem to be two different Barzoni labels floating about. One, which makes it clear that this was a Beare & Sons instrument, and the other, which reads, 'Francois Barzoni a Chateau Thierry'. The first of the labels seem to go hand in hand with the FB stamp on button and below the endpin, but the latter don't seem to carry the branding. Anyone know the story behind the second of the Barzoni labels?

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I know that this isn't a really trade name, but I thought was relevant to the thread. In the fourth chapter of H. Bauer 1911 book "Practical History of the Violin", I found this text amusing.

Violin makers who never existed. Vary often it is happened that violin owners have found labels in there instruments about witch they could not get any kind of information. Historical works were consulted, but names like those printed on their labels the history did not even mention. Such names, for example are: "Acevo", "Sapino", "Roccomodes", "Revisto", and many others. None of these gentlemen ever lived. These names were manufactured, either to give a poor fiddle a well sounding originator or came into existence by mistake.

Many violin owners claim to have Italian violins made by "Revisto" and are quite proud of there musical treasures. To our grate sorrow we have to disappoint them. A violin maker named "Revisto" has never existed, but there have existed a number or Italian repairers, who, whenever they repaired a violin placed a so-called repair ticket worded: "Revesto da me" (overhauled by me) into the instrument. The consequence is that persons that did not understand Italian took the word "revisto" for a violinmakers name and through this mistake an unlimited number of "Revisto violins" got into this world.

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Hi Sammy;

If my memory serves me, Monteverdi was a line of instruments produced by the A. Cavalli shop in the '20s and '30s. I haven't sold one in quite a while... so I'd need to check pricing, but they did vary (as did the quality) as I believe some of the white bodies were supplied to the shop from other makers.

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I can add a few more...

Pietro Vareni - I think a trade name owned by R. S. Williams of Toronto. German instruments, all dated 1910 on the label, so they probably are from the 1920s and later (?). Some, like one I have, are good quality.

J.B. Martinelli - I think a Roth trade name

Carlo Robelli - trade name owned by Sam Ash,commercial music house in NY NJ. Still used for inexpensive instrumnets. I had an early german one that looked great and sounded lousy.

Angelo Ferrari - German, sold by Sears in the 1910-20 range. Cottage instrument?

Carlo Micelli is a clever italianization of Karl Meisel.

Faciebat Anno - cheap instruments from the Stradivari shop (just kidding)

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Back in my formative years (70s), there were scads of Tellers, Roman and Arthur, used by many of my peers. Some of the better grades (Master Arts or such) sounded pretty good, but most were very generic orange fiddles and violas with little personality. I believe this is another case of a makers name later going on trade fiddles.

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  • 4 months later...

According to Henley (on Bertholini):

'Violins accurately modelled on the established principles of the great masters. Built by one of the many most skilled craftsmen at Mirecourt, who probably employed many assistants as the yearly output since 1880 has been enormous. Various standards of excellence from 2 to 10 pounds..."

So, yes, I guess it's trade name and some are better than others. Typically, Henley seems to contradict himself.

Suzuki was a manufacturer of traditional Japanese instruments and began making violins in the 1880s. So they are factory instruments but they did win awards, for what that may be worth. (This info from Henley's also)

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Not being able to find any mention of a maker by this name, I've about concluded my "Signor Lacona, Rome 1864" is a trade-named instrument. If anyone knows or has heard of the name, I would appreciate any info. "Rome" is spelled with an "e", which I presume would be an "a" (Roma) if it was really Italian. It doesn't appear to be that old, either. Ron.

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  • 2 months later...

Brad, I have (somewhere) an old (1960's?) catalog featuring Jan Kriml instruments. They were imported by Targ & Dinner of Chicago. I got it on Ebay for $10 hoping to get some info on my violin. I couldn't find my exact instrument in it, and it is missing some pages, but if you are still doing research (I see this is an old post), I could dig it out and make you a copy. I would be interested in any information you have on Kriml violins. I've had one since 1978 and I like it just fine.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've never seen a Carlo Lorenzini, but that was the real name of Carlo Collodi, the author of Pinocchio! Some of these trade names and unique fake labels are amusing. I've seen a label with the name Pietro Bembo, who was not a luthier but a poet of the Italian Renaissance! Carmine

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Got fooled by Nicholas Berthoini years ago.. found out it was just a fancy name for trade instrument.. belly had no channel.. back was much better for flame and channel etc but wonder of wonders the tone was great until I tried to create channels as I had to refinish the front.. and sadly tone diasappeared and could not be brought back even when I took of belly and did some veneering

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