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Wilhelm Herwig in Markneukirchen.


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I've got this violin (which needs a bit of repair) and was wondering if it is of any interest on this forum in the everlasting Markneukirchen Dutzendarbeit discussions.

I'm wondering if this is a "Meisterarbeit" from the caralogues...?

I note the very nice wood, and the purfling going off-centre into the corners (I read somewhere that this might be a French design feature).

Also, there is a brand mark (could be a TH overlaid and upside down in the pic) - maybe someone has to say something about this?

Many thanks.








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There is some good info on Wilhelm Herwig available form the Museum Markneukirchen. He was a musician and wholesaler. He was not a maker but sourced the instruments mostly form individuals who made them at home in a spare room, as was a common practice in Markneukirchen.

This is somewhat different from Dilworth where he is also a maker: "HERWIG, Wilhelm Worked 1890-1930 Markneukirchen Germany. Maker and wholesaler of violins and accessories. Business founded 1890."

And then there is Corilon, where a Herwig violin was sold with a description: "This antique handcrafted string instrument from the turn of the century c1900 was made by the Markneukirchen luthier Wilhelm Herwig. The violin bears the original label "Wilhelm Herwig in Markneukirchen". The violin is patterend on the model of Stradivari and features a rather slim neck and typical, softly rounded edges made in the Markneukirchen style. The attractive varnish is of a shiny, reddish brown color over golden yellow ground. Herwig added a decent antique finish to his work."

Mine is very different from the Corilon example anyways. I don't have "softly rounded edges made in the MArkneukirchen style" and my purfling shows a rather large portion of white with slim blacks. All in all I thought mine was rather un-typical for the time and region.

As the circular brand mark did not seem to be connected to the Herwig label I thought, the brand mark was the actual maker?

Many thanks, luthier, for identifying the circular brand as "Heinrich Theodor Heberlein Jr".

Looking on from this I find 38 auction results at Brompton's for this maker with violins made between 1881 and 1965. Really???

Also, Corilon (again) had one for sale form the early 1960s. I see more similarities with this than with the older ones.

Could mine be younger than I thought? Maybe even post WW2? But that would not fit with the Herwig label and the old German letter type.

But then again, Herwig's business was still around and was eventually acquired 1972 by MUSIMA. Could they have had a stack of old labels left which they continued to use after WW2? Was I right in my first impression that the violin doesn't look like a Markneukirchen trade fiddle from around 1900 at all?

Getting close. Who can solve it?


Edited by Guido
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To me the violin looks like a good Heberlein. In regards to Herwig, I would be more inclined to believe the Musik Museum Markneukirchen than Corillon, a dealer of violins. Heberlein was a family business that included a few generations, and was dissolved around 1967. 

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So, Heinrich Theodor Heberlein Jr it is, which, according to my unreliable google exploits, leaves three possibilies:

1. Heinrich Theodor Heberlein Jr., made instruments between 1863 and 1910, when he died.

2. His workshop continuing in his name (usually labeled "Made in the atelier of...")

3. Heinrich Paul Theodor Heberlein (continuing the "Heinrich Theodor Heberlein Jr" business) from just before WW2 and the resuming in 1954. He died 1975.

Could one tell by looking at my violin if it might be 50+ years or 100+ years old?

Did the circular brand ever change in appearance or use over the 100+year time span between 1, 2 and 3?

And who has an idea how the Herwig label may have gotten into the violin? Seems it would probably support that the violin is in the 100+ years category.

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The Heberlein shop was known for making different qualities of violins; some are very fine, in the Berlin tradition (the founder was an apprentice of the reknown August Riechers), oilvarnished, bottom pins etc., others like the OP of the "usual" better trade quality, and maybe the last weren't made by the shop itself but bought in, at least the parts.

Of course the business was succeeded by the sons of the founder after his death, as well as the Herwig label can be found in instruments over a very long period, so that it's the usual misinterpretation to say any of them was made "by" a certain Herwig, or in his shop, which never existed as such. Nonetheless there are dealers claiming exactly this; I remember the more or less recent argues about Bros. Wolff, John Juzek and others. It would be better IMHO to look at the actual violin and justify it's value and price by the particular quality than by a dealer's label.

Considering this, I would say the OP isn't "Meisterarbeit" - this term in regard of the Markneukirchen trade, as it was discussed in other threads, was more describing violins from the early 19th century, when the "Meister" sold their better instruments beside the cheaper ones, which were produced fast in division of labour. Made from quality woods in a neatly "copying french" style, it appears to be at the upper end of the 1930s trade quality. Someone might have thought, it could be better if it has two trade marks than one only.^_^

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  • 2 years later...
  • 2 years later...

Hi, I was looking to purchase a Wilhelm Herwig violin. My father tried to buy one on eBay last month and was outbid at the last moment as he isn’t a seasoned online bidder. He has spent his retirement researching our family ancestry, surname of Herwig. He wanted to violin based on the name of his relative Wilhelm, he does not play. Would you have any information to purchase a Wilhelm Herwig violin? I came upon this thread while researching. Thank you in advance. You can contact me at lacastaneda@ymail.com. 

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