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Lowendall

Lowendall query

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Hello all,
 
I purchased a Lowendall violin today from a lady whose mother bought it in Berlin in 1929. Came in an old wood case (her mother has this made for the violin) and with an old, presumably original, bow which has mother of pearl insert and is silver tipped, quite thick and stiff to my eyes. Is it worth getting it rehaired as hair is mostly gone now? Violin has a label inside saying 'Made in Berlin. Special Copy of Antonius Stradivarius' along with the wreath with L inside to the right. I have attached links to some pics. Any information regarding what it may be worth or how many were made etc... would be much appreciated. I bought it for myself, as I have not played for years and wish to start playing again. I am curious though. Had it restrung today and it sounds really good to me (which is all that matters really  ^_^ - I did not pay much for it).

 

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Thanks in advance for any replies!
 
:)

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Here in the US "Lowendall" violins are usually typical trade quality instruments. There is this idea that they were made in Dresden, or Berlin but most of the ones I've seen look like standard issue Saxon/Czech. Yours looks like one of these. Looks like its in good enough shape to be usable and worth get some set up adjustments.

 

Maybe somebody else can fill us in on what exactly the Lowendall shop was and how they used their brand.

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I know a little about Lowendall and that he also travelled and spent 6 years in the US before returning to Berlin. It was in the US he changed his name to Lowendall from Lowendahl. I have read what I can find on the internet about Lowendall and his workshop violins, which were of a higher standard than comparable workshop/ factory violins at the time.

 

The Lowendall 'brand' made a lot of different violins of varying standards. I am just curious about this particular model tbh and wondered if anyone knew anything specific about it  :)

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Seems a little odd that a violin sold in Berlin in 1929 had a label in English.  But it looks like a nice basic fiddle, probably good for many more miles.

 

If there's enough hair left on the bow to play a bit, you should be able to decide whether it's worth rehairing.  If not, there's lots of very cheap bows out there nowadays. 

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I seem to remember reading somewhere that there is a code to his labels mostly in the 'copy of' and possibly dates (like Roths) and maybe something about a signature, but that was a while ago.

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Louis Löwenthal, born 1840, died ??, was a Berlin salesman, not in any way a violin maker, and founded his first firm, The Louis Lowendall Star Works L.Löwenthal, in 1866,

his second firm Löwenthal & Hartog in 1908. For all interested people is here a scan of his biography from the booklet of the Berliner Musikinstrumentenmuseum, which I don't have the time to translate -_- .

 

post-57937-0-20007900-1457043158_thumb.jpg

 

It doesn't tell if he spent some years in the U.S., but that he mostly was occupied to import factory violins from the Vogtland to America, one of which is the OP. Made for this purpose, it's no wonder that there were english labels applied to those. It's said, that he sold 11 000 violins in 45 years.

 

Furthermore he had some "better" instruments in his catalogue for sale, for example a master violin by a certain Guarneri del Gesu 1703 (a typo?) for 18 000 Mark in 1910/11 or a Desiato from 1900 for 100 Mark, just for the records.

 

His own production was, as far as I know, very near to the place where I'm living, in the Ritterstraße of Berlin Kreuzberg, but today there isn't anything left of the buildings from this period anymore.

His employees manufactured there, most probably based on Markneukirchen and Schönbach boxes, quite nice instruments as visible below, bearing his signature inside and a stamp with the word "BERLIN" and a laurel wreath at resp. under the button.

 

post-57937-0-33457200-1457044336_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-25936300-1457044355_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-21104200-1457044379_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-58021500-1457044395_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-67141900-1457044438_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-60826000-1457044452_thumb.jpg

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For all interested people is here a scan of his biography from the booklet of the Berliner Musikinstrumentenmuseum, which I don't have the time to translate -_- .

 

attachicon.giflowendall 001.jpg

 

It doesn't tell if he spent some years in the U.S., but that he mostly was occupied to import factory violins from the Vogtland to America, one of which is the OP. Made for this purpose, it's no wonder that there were english labels applied to those. It's said, that he sold 11 000 violins in 45 years.

 

 

 

Thanks for the info, BF. I realise Lowendall was a big exporter, but would have thought only export instruments got the export (English) label. The bio quotes a Latin label presumably used for European sales.

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From another forum...however I was really looking for a bit of specific information on the 'Special Copy of Antonius Stradivarius' instrument if possible? The information below is not about my violin specifically.

 

...Louis Lowendall and his father Ludwig. Ludwig was a draper and amateur violin maker and Louis was firstly a player (a good violinist and 'cellist) who trained as a violin maker under Bausch and as a bow maker under Knopf. In 1855 Louis set up in business in Berlin and in 1866 father and son opened a workshop in Berlin called 'Star Works' in the same city, employing many fine craftsmen making nicer quality trade violins. Later, they expanded to open a workshop in Dresden, and in 1867 set up in business in the USA. 

 

Louis Lowendall (or Lowenthal, or Lowendahl) was a maker... in fact, he made his first violin, if you can call it that, at age 7. It was nothing more than pieces of wood glued together with cotton thread for strings, but it showed his father that he was so determined to learn to play that he bought him a proper violin to learn on. He became quite an accomplished violinist but an even better 'cellist. However, he was more renowned as a dealer in, and collector of instruments of the violin family. 

He recognised that most of the German trade fiddles of the time were generally a heap of rubbish, and not fit to be called 'player' instruments, and so tried to redress the balance a little by setting up a factory workshop employing skilled craftsmen to turn out decent instruments of far better playing quality than the average German trade fiddle. On the whole, he succeeded. However, output from his four-storey Berlin factory workshop was varied... good violins originating from this source are worth having. Lowendall violins are on the 'loud' side, and sometimes quite harsh. Harsher ones command less of a price than the better ones, for obvious reasons. 

Whether the pencil signature is that of Lowendall is doubtful... like those employed by The Beatles to sign their publicity photos, someone will have signed it per pro Lowendall. Certainly, by 1894 the factory workshop in Berlin was well established, and Lowendall would not have been making at that time, so I should discount the signature if I were you. 

The instruments from this factory workshop bear various inscriptions and logos, both on the main body and on the "hen's tail" behind the peg box. What the word is that ends in 'ed' I cannot conject. He made a friend of the great Norwegian virtuoso, Ole Bull, who lent him his grand concert violin so that Lowendall could copy it. These are normally branded 'Ole Bull'. 

Edited by Lowendall

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There's a lot of advertising propaganda in all this, I'm supposing, given deliberate by the Lowendall firm.

Of course there was a "heap of shit" within german trade fiddles of this time, but Lowendall himself did mostly sell and export exactly this.

 

There's a another, slightly different bio given by J.Dilworth here

http://www.amati.com/maker/lowenthal-louis

especially the date of birth is earlier (and more convincing, if he started in 1855); the adress Reichenberger Straße is just some 100 metres away from the adress I heard of, maybe he moved later..

 

As mentioned many times before at this forum, mostly by Jacob Saunders, there were many different grades of trade instruments (Dutzendarbeit) produced, ranging from some Kreutzers up to some hundred of Thaler, Marks, whatever was the actual currency.

Lowendall did the same as all the other wholesalers of the period, selling different qualities for different prices.

Maybe he took some time looking over the shoulders of some makers like Knopf or Bausch, but the sources agree, that he wasn't a violin or bow maker at all and never practiced as such.

The rest is legend as described above, created as advertising.

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"Lownedall” was a firm, founded in 1866 by the businessman Louis Löwenthal, who was born on 5th December 1840 in Königsberg (nowadays Kalingrad). He americanized his name for the export trade. It seems improbable that they made the ca. 11.000  instruments reported by Lütgendorff in Berlin, far more he would have been supplied by the Markneukirchen trade.

The violin pictured in the OP(#1) is a cheap Markneukirchen trade violin, probably made in Schönbach

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Thanks for your insight. There was me thinking as it was bought by my friends mother in Berlin in 1929 and has 'Made in Berlin' written inside it, it was, odds on, made in Berlin. 

 

I never thought it was worth a huge amount, although interesting to note there appears to be an an identical one for sale here for at least $2500 US. http://www.allthingsstringscommunity.com/profile/DavidBrewerFineViolinsLLC

 

It does seem curious that somebody who apparently cannot make violins himself and has infact never made a violin, the implication being he apparently knows very little about making violins, suddenly thought, 'I know, I am going to set up a factory to start making and exporting violins' at some point in the middle of the 19th century.

 

It seems even stranger to me that, having set this factory up, he then started importing violins from another factory in Schonbach in order to brand them, internally, with his own labels so that he could then claim they were made in his own Berlin factory and sell them on.

 

Curiouser and curiouser.

 

:)

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It seems even stranger to me that, having set this factory up, he then started importing violins from another factory in Schonbach in order to brand them, internally, with his own labels so that he could then claim they were made in his own Berlin factory and sell them on.

 

Curiouser and curiouser.

 

:)

 

That's in no way strange or odd, just the way the trade of mass produced violins worked, and still is working.

There were lots of Mirecourt traders branding "a Paris", and actually there are so many "made in Mittenwald" GEWA violins factually from Far East (food industry does the same, Wiener Würstchen are usually not made in Vienna :D )

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Lowendall, I'm afraid I must add to the general chorus. Whatever the label says, this is a Schoenbach violin. The rib corners and the mis-shaped button couldn't be from anywhere else.

There are good Lowendalls and bad, but I would think that very few were made in Berlin if any. More likely the best ones were bought from Markneukirchen and finished in the Berlin "factory".

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Well, thank you gentlemen, that is quite illuminating. It sounds nice and I like it - which, for the princely sum of £45, cannot be a bad thing.

 

Is that about what it is worth do you think? Or could I double up on my investment?  ;)

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You all sound like a bunch of politicians. You don't really know anything for a fact.  Nothing but lots of opinions and everyone knows what opinions are And what they are like. Lowendall's factory was near Templehof Airport and the building was destroyed in WW 2.

 

Even Stradivarius put his name on violins made by other people and used parts made by other people so what are you people doing, talking just to hear your own voices??

 

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1 hour ago, Schnurri said:

You all sound like a bunch of politicians. You don't really know anything for a fact.  Nothing but lots of opinions and everyone knows what opinions are And what they are like. Lowendall's factory was near Templehof Airport and the building was destroyed in WW 2.

 

Even Stradivarius put his name on violins made by other people and used parts made by other people so what are you people doing, talking just to hear your own voices??

 

If the responses here appear to be “like a bunch of politicians,” then these are the “politicians” that would gain my vote.  The opinions given in this posting have been very thoughtful and by some top experts.  If their opinions sound skeptical, it is merely because they have seen and studied more instruments than most of us common folk can ever imagine.  I personally am proud of their responses and the manner in which nothing ever “for sure.”  

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26 minutes ago, ClefLover said:

If the responses here appear to be “like a bunch of politicians,” then these are the “politicians” that would gain my vote.  The opinions given in this posting have been very thoughtful and by some top experts.  If their opinions sound skeptical, it is merely because they have seen and studied more instruments than most of us common folk can ever imagine.  I personally am proud of their responses and the manner in which nothing ever “for sure.”  

Well said!

Violguy

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2 hours ago, Ray Weaver said:

I am surprised to see that Russian trolls are even being instructed to create division on Maestronet.

I thought trolls were from Norway. 

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One of my cellos, that I have owned for 70 years is stamped internally

"L. LOWENDALL, 1877, Dresden"

The back of the pegbox is stamped

"Lowendall's Grand Concert Cello / Stradivarius"

Below that is a paper repair label "Luther Heiges, Baltimore 1912." I also recall another Baltimore repair receipt that came in the bag with the cello dated 1929. A decent Albert Nürnberger bow came to me with the cello - I still have that too.

The cello is typical of all Strad copies I have owned or tested - down to its annoying F# wolf (now finally eliminated with a Krentz).  It had some broken wood and holes in the ribs (but no damage to front or back) when I received it in 1949 and studied on it but it only got worse over time until its move to California in 1962 caused catastrophic damage when the neck block disintegrated. I finally had it repaired around 1990 and it has been stable and decent since then - nice chamber music cello. I notice that auction prices on Lowendall cellos have cycled up to about $5,000 for at least the past 30 years. Check out Tarisio.com for a list of all Lowendall auction prices over the decades.

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48 minutes ago, Andrew Victor said:

One of my cellos, that I have owned for 70 years is stamped internally

"L. LOWENDALL, 1877, Dresden"

The back of the pegbox is stamped

"Lowendall's Grand Concert Cello / Stradivarius"

Below that is a paper repair label "Luther Heiges, Baltimore 1912." I also recall another Baltimore repair receipt that came in the bag with the cello dated 1929. A decent Albert Nürnberger bow came to me with the cello - I still have that too.

The cello is typical of all Strad copies I have owned or tested - down to its annoying F# wolf (now finally eliminated with a Krentz).  It had some broken wood and holes in the ribs (but no damage to front or back) when I received it in 1949 and studied on it but it only got worse over time until its move to California in 1962 caused catastrophic damage when the neck block disintegrated. I finally had it repaired around 1990 and it has been stable and decent since then - nice chamber music cello. I notice that auction prices on Lowendall cellos have cycled up to about $5,000 for at least the past 30 years. Check out Tarisio.com for a li

Yes, one can see very nice Markneukirchener Celli from the turn of the century (the one befoe last) which all sorts of violin shops/makers throughout Germany and Austria put there labels in, and sold as their own shop Instruments. The same with bows. One wastes an awful amount of time having to explain the fact.

st of all Lowendall auction prices over the decades.

Yes, one can see very nice Markneukirchener Celli from the turn of the century (the one before last) which all sorts of violin shops/makers throughout Germany and Austria (and presumably America) put there labels in, and sold as their own shop Instruments. The same with bows. One wastes an awful amount of time having to explain the fact.

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