So I got one of those "Vuillaume a Paris" violins! Time to see if I learned anything from Cornerblockology and all that.
It has no corner blocks, and was likely built-on-back, and the fluting on the scroll stops at 6 o'clock, so I'm thinking Schönbach? Or were these Vuillaume copies made in more than one place?
This one is interesting among old fiddles because its history is actually known: It was given by a farmer here in Virginia, in the late 1800's, to the son of a freed slave who was that farmer's son's best friend, a rather controversial friendship at the time (they remained friends for life)! It stayed with that one owner to the end where he lived in the farm (and he was said to be a good fiddler), which is still owned by the same family, and it was recently re-discovered by the great-great-granddaughter of the farmer. ...and now I have it.
Surprisingly, there were no cracks or open seams, so I was able to set it up with the original bridge and try it out. Unfortunately while it isn't without its Southern charm the sound makes me think of a recording played through a gramophone.
I suspect it's been repaired before, and the white globs of mysterious stuff inside worry me because that's not hide glue.
The button has been broken and glued back in place, and there are two tiny nails into the neck block on the bass side but I can't make out a purpose for someone to put them there.
Also, it's not a full size, it's a 7/8, or is it 3/4? The back measures 33.6cm and overall it's 55.7cm.
Anybody has any info on these "Vuillaumes"?