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GeorgeH

Unknown Bow Up For Discussion

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This is one of two bows that came in the case of a fine violin that I recently purchased. The case had likely not been opened for several decades. I had the bow cleaned up, and would be interested in any comments about it. It weighs 60g and is 744mm in length. It plays beautifully.

 

Frog_left_right.jpg

tip.jpg

frog_apart.jpg

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Hi Martin,

Thanks for looking! There are no pins in the adjuster. Here is a close-up of the front of the frog, if that might help. It looks like the eyelet screw was filed at some point. Let me know if any other views would be helpful.

frog_front.jpg

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Well if the frog has been "modified" and the thumb projection has been filed down and the curve reshaped, then it looks quite like a later Heinrich Knopf otherwise. Could you try some dead-on shots of the head from the side ... also the heel plate square on, showing how lng it is in relation to the pearl slide and the ferrule

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I might be wrong, but H.Knopfs of this (probably) late period have IMO and knowledge concave heel plates - head is a bit simple, too narrow chamfers etc.

Edited by Blank face

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Hi BF, how do you mean concave? You mean the heel plate has curved outer edges?

I agree it looks a bit basic but at the same time there are a lot of Knopf features, particularly the degree to which the ferrule projects past the thumb extensions, the adjuster, one-piece heel plate, bold plain pearl eye, pinned underslide - many H Knopfs have heel plates with parallel sides. 

Maybe just Knopf family

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Yes, Inside  curved edges of the back or "heel" plate. The last I saw had this feature and it's pictured in the Schmidt/Gruenke book, too. Don't know, if the slide is usually screwed, but often.

 I won't be sure, that the thumb projection is filed, possibly a bit wear at the players side only?

But I agree otherwise, a good bow of the Knopf school.

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Thanks for the new photo!

IMO it confirms, that the head is unlikely to the Models by Heinrich Knopf, but it looks a bit more "sophisticated" than in the first (and it's really a hard job to give a realistic impression of a bow head by photos).OTOH, the wood is somehow cut by the slab, what isn't seen as a flaw at french bows, but as a devaluating factor at germans, at least in my experience.

We discussed it before, that the biggest problem with the 19th century Markneukirchen bows (and many of the later) is the fact, that the makers weren't allowed to brand them untill the 1860s years, and that later nearly all of them worked for dealers like Bausch, which put their own brands on it, or delivered them unbranded to the trade. Furthermore it's the same like with violin models from the region, that there were uncountable persons in uncountable workshops producing bows, that they were nearly all related to each other, apprenticed by each other, copying each other, so that you usually need a lot of esoteric to distinguish them, or to tell exactly, where "trade" is ending and "fine" starting.

The only way to know is to ask for a  king's order (or presidential decret, as it's called today), an opinion by the two or three respected experts in this regard.

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I have come to a similar conclusion to Blank Face but for slightly different reasons.

There are various features which seem characteristic of Heinrich Knopf, but while the frog might gel with a later bow, the head would only work if the bow was earlier. i also think the frog is too hollowed out at the thumb projection - generally even if people file down the horizontal part, the curve retains a characteristic shape.

So i would send photos to Klaus Gruenke - it's a nice bow but enigmatic.

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Thank you Martin and Blankface for your interesting, detailed, and (for me!) exciting comments and insights. It is always fun to discover a little treasure in an long-unopened violin case. 

I was curious as to why it did not have a stamp, and I did not know makers were not allowed to brand them untill the 1860s.

If I could offer some additional insights, I would, but I don't see enough bows or talk to enough bow experts to have an informed opinion. As a player, I find this bow is a remarkable instrument, both in feel and tone production. If any additional pictures would be helpful or useful, let me know.

I am going to take it to get appraised for insurance purposes, and also ask about straightening it. Looking down the stick from the top, it bends ever so slightly to the right. I don't notice any problems playing with it, and I am not sure the risks involved with straightening it would be worth taking if it isn't going to add any real improvement to its performance.

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I would agree that origin is likely to be late 19th century Markneukirchen. I am not sure I see a Knopf here.

 I notice that there is a substantial repair at the thumb position on the stick, with a chunk of wood replaced, which will dramatically affect its intrinsic value.

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42 minutes ago, Ratcliffiddles said:

I notice that there is a substantial repair at the thumb position on the stick, with a chunk of wood replaced

Thanks for your comment, Ratcliffiddles! Under magnification, they look like deep scratches to me, rather than wood replacement. I don't know why they are there, and probably a more trained eye than mine can see where wood has been replaced. Here are some pictures of that area with the frog removed:

under_frog_thumb.jpg

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I am so bad at 3-dimensional thinking, I failed to clock that there were marks both sides ...

They do look like scratches, but it's also possible there's a dig in the wood heading backwards from under the lapping, and that this has been glued down. Don't suppose you can get sharper photos?

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You can also get it if the underslide has been knocked or something on the front end and has a raised burr,If the frog is loose or stick worn like in the photos the frog can tilt forward and cause damage (scraping )to the stick, but unusual that it almost identical both sides.

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I noticed these marks from the beginningB):P, but they do look so identical at both sides and without perpendicular or rounded end, that I'd rather suppose that they are marks from some sort of clamping(cramping), maybe to turn the stick for a winding? A crack would be more assymetrical, following the slab cut grain, won't it?

A bit more wonder makes me the round upper bottom end of the mortise, possibly it was milled. In this case there should be rounded marks at the bottom of the mortise, too. Or the maker didn't chisel this part properly.

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Here are some more pictures of higher resolution. They are a series taken as if you were rotating the bow shaft counter-clockwise. Also some higher resolution views of the head.

rotating_1.jpg

rotating_2.jpg

 

head_hi_rez.jpg

head_top_side.jpg

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I can't see a repair - they do look like scratches or almost like burn marks. Very odd ...

With the head I do still see a similarity to the early Heinrich Knopf style, but since this doesn't gel with the rest of the bow I accept that it's probably a happy accident, and the bow is a nice later MK bow.

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Seeing as everyone is settled on German , i wont say what i think ,but can i have a photo of the `nipple`(very end of handle), a photo as if you are looking directly down a tunnel from the outside? I also have another theory about those too marks on either side.

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3 hours ago, martin swan said:

I can't see a repair - they do look like scratches or almost like burn marks. Very odd ...

Yes, they look really like burn marks - otherwise, why would they be black inside?

 

3 hours ago, fiddlecollector said:

Seeing as everyone is settled on German , i wont say what i think ,but can i have a photo of the `nipple`(very end of handle), a photo as if you are looking directly down a tunnel from the outside? I also have another theory about those too marks on either side.

fiddlecollector, please feel free to say what you think. It is all up for discussion!  I can get a higher rez one tomorrow, if this does not help.

end_on.jpg

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This looks perfectly round, not oval, in case FC was out for this;).

Of course the head and frog remind me rather of a Voirin copy, a bit like an early Pfretzschner, than an older Knopf style with extended tip. But I think, Pfretzschner used two part bottom/heel plates and an adjuster in the french stlyle, so we are probably left with an anonymous german copy.

I'm curious about your idea reg. the marks!

Pfretzschner:

 

02.07.2009 17-00-36_0009.jpg

pfretzschner, tubbs.jpg

02.07.2009 16-58-02_0005.jpg

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I had an archetier look at this today. He said that he did not see any evidence that the thumb projection in the frog had been modified. He speculated that the "burn lines" could be where the bow was once branded (on both sides), but they have since worn away. He did not see any evidence of repair on the stick, but wondered if the adjuster was original because the length of the screw lead did not as far as it should into the stick mortice. He liked the head a lot, but thought that the replacement tip was not well-done. He could not offer an opinion as to the maker, but thought it was a very nice bow.

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Since I can't see any replacement tip on the photos I would have to conclude it was "well done"! Or are we talking about the tip of the ivory face, which does look like an addition ...

It seems to me that the adjuster is a perfect fit, and if the screw is too short, perhaps the screw is a replacement? I have to say it doesn't look short to me, and you say the bow works very well?

Vestiges of a brand - don't think so.

However, if the thumb projection hasn't been modified, then we can rule out Knopf once and for all.

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