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Information About Wood Violin Case

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Hello,

 

I recently acquired a violin with a somewhat unusual case.  The case is solid wood, with metal (?) latches.  The ball feet are made of wood, too.  The inside is quite nice, given the age.  It is lined with a green fabric (velvet?). 

 

Before creating an account, I would sometimes lurk in here.  ^_^  I wanted, especially, the input of GlennYorkPA.  I've read some of his posts regarding violin cases.  (I haven't read his book, yet.  Sorry! :(  )  I would be glad to hear information from anyone!  :)

 

I have taken many pictures.  So, I created a photo album under my SkyDrive.

 

Here is the link:

 

http://sdrv.ms/119w8E4

 

Furthermore, I have pictures of the violin and the bow.  I'd be happy to hear any information (history, maker, repair estimates, etc.) about those, as well.

 

Thank you for your help!

 

- Totti

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Hello,

 

I recently acquired a violin with a somewhat unusual case.  The case is solid wood, with metal (?) latches.  The ball feet are made of wood, too.  The inside is quite nice, given the age.  It is lined with a green fabric (velvet?). 

 

Before creating an account, I would sometimes lurk in here.  ^_^  I wanted, especially, the input of GlennYorkPA.  I've read some of his posts regarding violin cases.  (I haven't read his book, yet.  Sorry! :(  )  I would be glad to hear information from anyone!  :)

 

I have taken many pictures.  So, I created a photo album under my SkyDrive.

 

Here is the link:

 

http://sdrv.ms/119w8E4

 

Furthermore, I have pictures of the violin and the bow.  I'd be happy to hear any information (history, maker, repair estimates, etc.) about those, as well.

 

Thank you for your help!

 

- Totti

Hello Totti,

 

Glenn Wood here. 

 I'm not sure there is very much I can tell you about your violin case, unfortunately. When it was new, it was way above average in quality. You can tell that from the solid construction and the fine linings to the interior which were quite hard to make. The style of the interior with that fancy shape where the scroll goes is called French fit but that doesn't necessarily mean that it was made in France although I think it's a possibility. Another possibility is that it was made in America and definitely sometime during the 20th century. I am very fond of the rectangular shape and that was something that came into vogue in early 20th century.

 

With cases, as with everything else, condition is everything and this case has had a rather hard life particularly on the exterior. Unfortunately for you neither the violin nor the bow nor the case are usable in their present condition so quite a lot of work would be required to put them in order and one has to ask whether it would ever be worth it in purely commercial terms. High-end cases had the metal fittings such as latches hinges  and lock attached with screws. On your example, they are attached with rivets for speed of manufacture. That said, I like to see the little bits of material that were placed over the hinges on the inside. I'm not sure if they were ever strong enough to support the lid when in the vertical position but they certainly gave a more harmonious appearance to the interior. These cases were covered with a textured, black bonded leather material including the handle. In your example, this material has completely worn away revealing the metal core of the handle and the wood of the case carcass.

 

So, what is the story about this violin outfit? Did you purchase it? Do you intend restoration work?

 

Glenn

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What makes this case a bit recognizable to me are the hardware fittings (not that they should be considered unique). I had a pretty similar case that came with a fiddle that I acquired.

My case was not bare wood, it was covered on the outside with black textured material. I can't quite clearly make it out in the pictures, but I think I see the same material in the interior of the case, along the perimeter, right where it butts up to the plush lining. I'm thinking some prior owner probably stripped off that covering as it could look pretty ratty if torn.

On the outside of my case, on the bottom center, there was an embossed imprint of the manufacturer, which unfortunately I could never make out. The prior owner had proudly plastered a "Drake Civic Symphony Orchestra, Des Moines, Iowa" decal on the lid. I only remember it because that surprised one of the instructors in the music department who apparently attended Drake (or played in that symphony). That orchestra was established in 1937.

My case had "utilitarian" value, I used it through college, but I doubt it had any commercial value. As much as I really liked the case the interior eventually wore out and would have been prohibitively expensive to refit compared to a new case.

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Furthermore, I have pictures of the violin and the bow.  I'd be happy to hear any information (history, maker, repair estimates, etc.) about those, as well.

 

 

The violin appears to be a "Verleger" Instrument from the firm of Neuner & Hornsteiner, Mittenwald, from about 1900. I would say that it is touch and go, if it's worth repairing or not.

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Here are a couple of photos of what looks like an essentially identical case, this a double case, no manufacturer information, I'm afraid. The case was owned and used by A.M. "Mellie" Dunham, the fiddler from Norway, Maine who was enormously famous for a while in 1925-26. I know from another photo that he had it ca. 1930, which supports the 1920's date that someone else suggests for the case. I hope this helps a bit.

 

The violin, incidentally, is a post-Civil War-period German instrument, no label. It was Mellie's favorite, having been found in the attic of a Norway neighbor, and is distinctive in the modification of the left edge of the bass side F hole, the work of a mouse who was perhaps comfortably sheltered inside, there in Abner Jackson's attic. Some time much later (1970's?) the Dunham granddaughter who owned it (it's still in the family) allowed someone to strip and revarnish it as part of "cleaning it up," a gesture of innocent generosity that will make most of us cringe, I suspect.

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Hello,

 

I recently acquired a violin with a somewhat unusual case.  The case is solid wood, with metal (?) latches.  The ball feet are made of wood, too.  The inside is quite nice, given the age.  It is lined with a green fabric (velvet?). 

 

Before creating an account, I would sometimes lurk in here.  ^_^  I wanted, especially, the input of GlennYorkPA.  I've read some of his posts regarding violin cases.  (I haven't read his book, yet.  Sorry! :(  )  I would be glad to hear information from anyone!  :)

 

I have taken many pictures.  So, I created a photo album under my SkyDrive.

 

Here is the link:

 

http://sdrv.ms/119w8E4

 

Furthermore, I have pictures of the violin and the bow.  I'd be happy to hear any information (history, maker, repair estimates, etc.) about those, as well.

 

Thank you for your help!

 

- Totti

 

 

Hello,

 

I recently acquired a violin with a somewhat unusual case.  The case is solid wood, with metal (?) latches.  The ball feet are made of wood, too.  The inside is quite nice, given the age.  It is lined with a green fabric (velvet?). 

 

 I wanted, especially, the input of GlennYorkPA.  I've read some of his posts regarding violin cases.  (I haven't read his book, yet.  Sorry! :(  )  I would be glad to hear information from anyone!  :)

 

I have taken many pictures.  So, I created a photo album under my SkyDrive.

 

Here is the link:

 

http://sdrv.ms/119w8E4

 

- Totti

 

I though I had a similar case to your in my collection and indeed found one although with a replacement handle.

 

Flyboy was right to recall an emblem on the underside. It is the trademade of Maulbetch & Whittemore famous for its Bulls Head brand. 

 

 

The rectangular ancestor of this case is  illustrated in the C.Bruno & Sons New York 1875 catalog. The shape is identical as is the lining and lock but the handle is leather and latches are spring loaded.

It figures again, unchanged, in the 1895 catalog.

 

Oddly enough, it doesn’t appear in the M&W (Maulbetch & Whittemore Company) catalog of 1911 so I probably yours dates to c.1920.

 

I always associate this lozenge shapes on the compartment covers and also the scored lines on the top with Lifton and, sure enough, a very similar case figures in their 1945 catalog, albeit with a more modern leather handle.

 

On my example, the lock and latches are clearly marked forThe Eagle Lock Company. It was once the biggest lock manufacturer in the world and has a long history. James Terry was born at Terry Mills, 5 July 1823. In 1844, he purchased the lock business of Lewis, McKee & Co and started the manufacture of locks under the name of James Terry & Co.  In 1854, Eli Terry, Jr. formed the Eagle Lock Company  which soon became a major enterprise and the main industry of Terryville, Connecticut. It only ceased to trade in 1975.

 

So this case was in vogue for almost 70 years and doesn't look dated even today.

 

Glenn

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It does indeed seem like Lifton is the prime candidate for the OP's case.

 

As for M&W, this is a much clearer logo for Maulbetsch & Whittemore (taken from one of Glenn's earlier posts on this forum, http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/314837-mw-co-violin-cases-bulls-head/):
 

mwcobullsheadbrandiz7.jpg

According to the Music Trade Review, M&W reorganized and was sold to Felsberg Co. in 1920 and changed its name.  The bulls head logo remained the same, but the initials in the logo were changed to F F. In 1928 the name changed again to the Harptone Company, this time with the initials B&C.

 

7-22-32+Harptone+WEB2.jpg

Good job, Glenn!

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Thanks Flyboy. You have taught me something.

I have never seen the Bulls Head brand with the letters BC and wasn't aware of the change of ownership in 1928.

 

The 1921 catalog of Alfred Felsberg (a year after their acquisition of M&W) shown the fittings shown on the OP's case still with the M&W & Co imprint. Obviously they were selling off old inventory.

 

I have often wondered why the logo had the letters FF (and not AF) after Felsberg acquired the brand and now I am wondering why the Haprtone logo has the letters BC. (Although I note that the President's name is Brooks and the Secretary is Carner).

 

Glenn

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B&C does indeed stand for Brooks and Carner.

 

This is still subject to verification, but I think F & F stood for (Alfred L) Felsberg and (Edward E) Felsberg.  EEF was president of Felsberg Co. in 1922 (when they changed the company name).

http://books.google.com/books?id=7JZQAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA71&ots=8Jrv2T3TF9&pg=PA71#v=onepage&f=false

 

 

I try to accumulate old catalogs as a primary source of information about case. Unfortunately, they are not always dated. 

I wasn't familiar with this 'The Music Trader' publication but it seems to be a very useful resource. Do you know how far back it goes?

 

Glenn

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