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Congratulations to Pahdah Hound


Brad Dorsey
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Beautiful violin. I always enjoy Jesse's American violin listings the most.

I don't want to kick off another 20 page thread that winds up getting locked (I REALLY dont), but can anyone comment on the discrepancy between the violin's number & year and the excerpt from the Wenberg book? Per Wenberg, he had made 162 violins by 1936. This is #172 dated 1934.

Edit: the date is 1939. Crisis averted!

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...can anyone comment on the discrepancy between the violin's number & year and the excerpt from the Wenberg book? Per Wenberg, he had made 162 violins by 1936. This is #172 dated 1934.

Obviously either the label or the book is wrong. I can't comment on the label, but I know that the book has a number of details like this wrong. To cite several examples, Wenberg says that John Herrick made his first violin in 1907, but I had one that he made in 1906. Wenberg has Isaiah Arey's and Earl Day Brown's birthplaces wrong. Almost everything Wenberg says about Maricoux, including the spelling of the name, is wrong. Wenberg is the most comprehensive source on American violin makers, but he is not infallible.

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I don't want to kick off another 20 page thread that winds up getting locked (I REALLY dont), but can anyone comment on the discrepancy between the violin's number & year and the excerpt from the Wenberg book? Per Wenberg, he had made 162 violins by 1936. This is #172 dated 1934.

Edit: the date is 1939. Crisis averted!

I had the same question for Jesse before the auction ended. He said that he wasn't sure if the date was '34 or 39. It looks more like "34" to me, but it is ambiguous. Does it look more like a "39" to you?

Also the Henley entry says that he only made 150 instruments. I read somewhere that Henley solicited entries from the makers themselves and he died before he could edit them. Many of the entries read like ads from the makers, and are clearly not in Henley's concise (and often derogatory) style. This one reads like an ad, but it couldn't have been from O.H.Bryant as it lists his date of death! I wonder if it were written by one of his heirs or similar. Although whomever it was was pretty far off in the number of instruments.

I did find an online auction for a child's violin from 1937 (I believe) with a S/N of 169 (I believe). But it had a LOB of only 12-1/2" and could be that he did it in his spare time. It's hard to imagine someone paying $500 for a handmade child's violin at the height of the depression. So that could explain something being out of order, depending on if he numbered it when he started it or finished it.

EDIT: I found the listing (complete with photograph). The S/N was actually #168.

http://www.prices4antiques.com/music/stringed-instruments/Strings-Violin-Bryant-OH-Boston-1937-Label-Childs-1-Piece-Back-Case-D9934919.htm

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Also the Henley entry says that he only made 150 instruments. I read somewhere that Henley solicited entries from the makers themselves and he died before he could edit them. Many of the entries read like ads from the makers, and are clearly not in Henley's concise (and often derogatory) style. This one reads like an ad, but it couldn't have been from O.H.Bryant as it lists his date of death! I wonder if it were written by one of his heirs or similar. Although whomever it was was pretty far off in the number of instruments.

The Henley Dictionary was “finished” (edited) posthumously by Cyril Woodcock. It is still rubbish though.

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That's a fine looking bow! Did Bryant really make bows himself?

Apparently a few. I found a Christie's auction listing online where an OH Bryant bow sold in 2005 for $264, but cannot find the URL right now.

EDIT: I must have been mixed up. I found the listing on Brompton's and it lists Skinner as the auctioneer. So perhaps the price of $264 includes the buyer's premium:

http://www.bromptons.co/reference-library/auction-results/auction-17313-violin-bow-by-ole-h-bryant-boston-.html

Skinner also sold one in 2005 for $225:

https://secure.skinn...&refno= 593072

This has the attribution "by", so they were sure that it wasn't just something he stamped. He made less than 200 instruments and I would guess only between 50 and 100 bows. It is unusual to find a luthier that also made their own bows. As to their quality, my impression is good (but not as fine as his fiddles).

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Yes, when I magnified it, you can see a faint curl back to the "stem" of the number. To me it looks like he starts his nines heavily from the bottom of the stem and the ending curl just dies off.

Yes, I think you are correct. Under magnification, the loop appears joined to the stem, whereas 4's are normally written with two separate strokes (at least in the US). He seemed to be having trouble with the pen that day! The "3" in the date looks as though part of it were written over twice, leaving something of a mess. And then immediately after writing the "9" in the date, he wrote the "1" in the S/N. To me it looks as though it comprises at least two strokes, presumably because the first one was too light.

In those days, the fountain pen was the only one available. The ballpoint (Biro in the UK) was not introduced in the US until 1945 for the then-princely sum of $10.

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The Henley Dictionary was “finished” (edited) posthumously by Cyril Woodcock. It is still rubbish though.

I would agree that much of the information in Henley's is inaccurate, especially regarding the quality of the instruments themselves. Still it does provide some points of data, if only how the maker viewed himself. The O.H. Byrant entry is a perfect example of this. I would guess that Bryant himself wrote the entry, which is why he was able to provide such precise data on dates, places, workshops, and even a precise number of instruments up to a certain year. I would guess then that the only thing "edited" by Woodcock would have been Bryant's date of death.

But while it would be extremely unwise to take information from Henley's as the gospel truth, it also can provide very accurate information as supplied by some of the makers themselves. And surely some information is better than none. It isn't too difficult to read through the entry for O.H. Bryant (reproduced in Pahdah's auction listing) and separate factual information from the maker's opinion. And it can even make for some humorous reading, if one is in the mood to laugh at some luthier's over-inflated opinions of themselves! :)

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I would agree that much of the information in Henley's is inaccurate, especially regarding the quality of the instruments themselves. Still it does provide some points of data, if only how the maker viewed himself. The O.H. Byrant entry is a perfect example of this. I would guess that Bryant himself wrote the entry, which is why he was able to provide such precise data on dates, places, workshops, and even a precise number of instruments up to a certain year. I would guess then that the only thing "edited" by Woodcock would have been Bryant's date of death.

But while it would be extremely unwise to take information from Henley's as the gospel truth, it also can provide very accurate information as supplied by some of the makers themselves. And surely some information is better than none. It isn't too difficult to read through the entry for O.H. Bryant (reproduced in Pahdah's auction listing) and separate factual information from the maker's opinion. And it can even make for some humorous reading, if one is in the mood to laugh at some luthier's over-inflated opinions of themselves! smile.png

My father, who had a bitter personal dispute with Woodcock is in the dictionary as "Still working, 1959" (when he was 32 years old)

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ok, with out straying off the point, look at the label pic in the ad, does that look more like a 4 or a 9, if its a 4 the serial number doesnt match Bryant serial numbers for 1934, if its a 9 the serial number does appear to be in line, however to me, at least, it still looks like a 4 not a 9

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530302_10151144259740759_1668584694_n.jpg

I don't see any square. Looks like a 9 with a pen not releasing as much ink as it should when the number was started. Handwriting is highly variable, yet that is a common way to write 9s.

If it is a 4, it is a very rare way to write a 4, and that still doesn't explain the fainter line on the top of the roundish part of the 9.

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