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On 10/29/2020 at 9:25 AM, DuffersEdge said:

 

As a retired criminologist, who has taken up violin repair as a hobby, my curiosity is drawn to the deviance of fakery and markets in the violin trade.

I’m crestfallen to learn, that criminologists don’t take fingerprints, but would like to point out that your JTL label is of little significance. JTL was a big firm mass producing instruments, which you could learn from the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jérôme_Thibouville-Lamy They also supplied violin-makers. My father often bought fingerboards and other stuff from their branch in the Clarkenwell Road in East London (still exists, but has moved). Your “label” looks a bit like a rubber stamp, which could easily be snipped off some packet or catalogue. You can see some old catalogues and pictures of their factory here http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com/thibouville1912.htm The violin you have is not necessarily any worse than some of those from JTL, just from the Saxon cottage industry. Someone will have stuck the slip of paper in due to some misguided perception of a possible pecuniary advantage, along the principle, “better give the baby a name”.

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5 hours ago, Blank face said:

You should use the search function (or Google search „Maestronet cleats“) to learn about how cleats should look like, especially not with parallel edges on the same grain line.

I will do that. Many thanks. I have used seasoned spruce diamond cleats (bought online)  before and set them over cracks in the recommended way. In this case, something of "The Beaver" that made the violin ordinally  must have gotten into me. 

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On 10/30/2020 at 12:12 PM, Blank face said:

You should use the search function (or Google search „Maestronet cleats“) to learn about how cleats should look like, especially not with parallel edges on the same grain line.

Many thanks. I can see the thoughtful rational logic of not running a cleat edge (even if the grain of the cleat is at right angles) parallel to the grain on a violin table. So why not just adopt the better non-parallel cleat edge to grain practice? Seems fair to me. I suppose the fear (based on observations of occurrences?) is that running the edge of a cleat parallel to the spruce grain of the table will set up a possible occurrence of the edge of the cleat itself causing a new crack to occur? 

I wonder how real/important that logical fear is though? I ask this not idly, but because I am pondering the inside of an old 18th century violin cleated both ways. Did the square cleats do any damage v the  more logically positioned diamond cleats, I wonder? How much more inferior are they in practice, really, as opposed to rational theory/rational practice?

 

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On 10/30/2020 at 5:05 PM, jacobsaunders said:

I’m crestfallen to learn, that criminologists don’t take fingerprints, but would like to point out that your JTL label is of little significance. JTL was a big firm mass producing instruments, which you could learn from the Wikipedia page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jérôme_Thibouville-Lamy They also supplied violin-makers. My father often bought fingerboards and other stuff from their branch in the Clarkenwell Road in East London (still exists, but has moved). Your “label” looks a bit like a rubber stamp, which could easily be snipped off some packet or catalogue. You can see some old catalogues and pictures of their factory here http://www.luthiers-mirecourt.com/thibouville1912.htm The violin you have is not necessarily any worse than some of those from JTL, just from the Saxon cottage industry. Someone will have stuck the slip of paper in due to some misguided perception of a possible pecuniary advantage, along the principle, “better give the baby a name”.

I see what you mean. A rubber stamp to print it would have individual idiosyncratic letters. So it is not necessarily drawn by a fountain pen at all. I looked up how to make a rubber stamp online 

 

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On 10/30/2020 at 2:51 PM, DuffersEdge said:

I had a look. I did not see pen strokes as such, probably because it looked printed to me from the outset. But what I do see now, that 100%  supports what you write is that the same letters are not uniform. In particular the dots over every i  are in a different place and the e's are both different. So it was definitely hand penned.

Many thanks for helping me see that. Much appreciated. 

Do you know, Were faked labels ever completely hand ink penned in the 19th century , early 20th century?

Many folks on here will be more qualified to suggest a date for your violin than me, but I would agree that it could be late C19th or early C20th. However,  when I  said on my earlier comment that the printing suggests a later date, I was referring to the date of the label, which uses a San-serif typeface style that would have been unfamiliar to most before the 1920s. Typefaces have been subject to the vagiaries of fashion over the years but have been evolving rapidly with the advent of computers. In England an early example of the use of a San-serif font would be the London Underground signage (c1916).

If you look at any of the basic JTL labels from the early C20th they tend to use a more old fashioned style (a hang-over from Roman carving) where the letters have serifs: IMG_20201101_152254197.thumb.jpg.3767d4a5513016c382cd8a2b174f218f.jpg

Same with the stamps I've seen:

769401770_JTLstamp.thumb.jpg.41b49e7805af1235c5f3673309402396.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They have sometimes used something with a hint of the 'Arts and Crafts' style as in the company name here: 

IMG_20201101_152321050.thumb.jpg.517cdd1a957a3baec114db42535de666.jpg

 

 

 

In comparison, the style on your label is more akin to a modern computer font e.g. Arial rounded MT bold, which is a relatively recent invention. You can look at any old labels from Victorian and Edwardian products to see the difference. Your label is also quite brilliant white in colour and looks like it could be thin card from a cheaply printed or stamped box (as was mentioned earlier). It may be hand written but the rounded ends of the letters would be easier to achieve using a pen with a rounded tip - like a (modern) felt-tipped pen or maybe even some sort stencil which are pretty much always rounded.

I am not any sort of expert but, to me, the label just looks much more recent than the violin and my personal opinion is that it was added well after the violin was made.

 

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You can see the OP's label was done with a fountain pen by the uneven concentration of ink in the letter strokes as evidenced by ink-bleeding. It also appears to me that where lines are crossed, the ink is darker at the sections of intersection.

While some hand-written labels are quite elegant and attractive, the person writing this label was not at all skilled in calligraphy.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

You can see the OP's label was done with a fountain pen by the uneven concentration of ink in the letter strokes as evidenced by ink-bleeding. It also appears to me that where lines are crossed, the ink is darker at the sections of intersection.

While some hand-written labels are quite elegant and attractive, the person writing this label was not at all skilled in calligraphy.

I can't see that at all because the picture will not enlarge enough to show sufficient detail. However, I do think that we can agree that it is a one off hand produced (somehow) label that has been added at a later date.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

You can see the OP's label was done with a fountain pen

I don't see that at all. and remain by my assertion that it is a rubber stamp, snipped of some random bit of stationary

I should point out that it is irrational to spend any time wondering about such an obviously fake “label”

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24 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

I guess some just people don’t have enough to do.

 

35 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

I don't see that at all. and remain by my assertion that it is a rubber stamp, snipped of some random bit of stationary

I should point out that it is irrational to spend any time wondering about such an obviously fake “label”

It is irrational if weighing evidence from the past to try tell the age of that evidence is irrational.

My aim in posting the question here is because I would like to try to  know the various possibilities (maybe even vague probability) of when the label was made to fake the origin of the violin. If the label was inserted at the end-point of manufacture then it could humorously be described as a "genuine fake". If it was much later I would look upon it (probably irrationally) as a "fake fake". It seems to me that the evidence is mounting in favour of it being a fake-fake. 

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2 hours ago, DuffersEdge said:

 

It is irrational if weighing evidence from the past to try tell the age of that evidence is irrational.

My aim in posting the question here is because I would like to try to  know the various possibilities (maybe even vague probability) of when the label was made to fake the origin of the violin. If the label was inserted at the end-point of manufacture then it could humorously be described as a "genuine fake". If it was much later I would look upon it (probably irrationally) as a "fake fake". It seems to me that the evidence is mounting in favour of it being a fake-fake. 

I'm not sure of the reasons for debating the age of a label which has nothing to do with the violin ... what would it gain you to know exactly when the fake label was inserted, given that you can already pinpoint quite accurately when the violin itself was made?

There is no real commercial or historical benefit - it's just something to disagree about ...

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1 minute ago, martin swan said:

I'm not sure of the reasons for debating the age of a label which has nothing to do with the violin ... what would it gain you to know exactly when the fake label was inserted, given that you can already pinpoint quite accurately when the violin itself was made?

There is no real commercial or historical benefit - it's just something to disagree about ...

Because if it was a 19th century or early 20th century fake then it would be of the very kind of fake JTL were telling customers/potential customers about in their notice. Moreover, that notice also represents clever marketing - if they had calculated on trying to profit from advertising the fact their violins were being faked.  I am interested in the history of fakes as well as the violins themsleves. What is insignificant or irrelevant for some is important to others.

Vive la différence?

JTL_note.png

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4 hours ago, Delabo said:

Its quite weird, but at the end of the day the most expensive part of a violin turns out to be a paper label.

Stamp collecting  for musicians.

Agreed.

And at the bottom of that scale, whilst the fake I have repaired is surely only a  mass produced Saxony "factory" violin, and JTL made mostly mass produced trade violins, also it would be interesting to me at least to set up a genuine JTL 3/4 size (perhaps their Medio Fino model)  with the same strings - have a really good player play each - and see how the two compare. Of course, the sample of two is unrepresentative, but it would interest me.

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37 minutes ago, DuffersEdge said:

 mass produced Saxony "factory" violin, ..genuine JTL 3/4 size (perhaps their Medio Fino model) 

Curiously, JTL was the “factory” with smoke stacks and their own railway siding (see catalogue I linked to earlier) wheras the Saxon “Dutzendarbeit” was some wretch working at home in his shed for a piece of dry bread

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12 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Curiously, JTL was the “factory” with smoke stacks and their own railway siding (see catalogue I linked to earlier) wheras the Saxon “Dutzendarbeit” was some wretch working at home in his shed for a piece of dry bread

Yes, absolutely.

Do you think the term "factory" was applied to mostly what was a cottage industry in order to add a veneer of respectability to what was in reality exploitative piece work?

I find it interesting, sociologically and historically, that these cheap violins have also been associated with egalitarian sentiments of "music for the masses" and the democratisation (the 5 frank violin) of musicianship. Because there seems to have been a sadly ironic degree of exploitation of those making these violins in that atmosphere all of supposed good intention by those ordering and selling them.

In the UK (and lesser extent USA), the Maidstone Movement (The Schools Orchestral Association) run by Murdoch and Co. imported hundreds of thousands of Saxony violins into the UK (see https://www.violinonline.com/classesforthemasses.html) I have repaired 5-6 of them and have found the earlier ones (Murdoch and Co) are seemingly built better than the later ones (Murdoch and Murdoch and Co). My youngest daughter had a 19th Century (labelled: "The Maidstone. John G Murdoch an Co London. E.C".) 3/4 Maidstone and really liked it, before ditching it for an unlabelled  7/8th factory violin on which I repaired a table crack, and she and her music teacher are most impressed with.

I am currently pondering whether or not to replace the fingerboard on a 4/4 later Maidstone model (Labelled" "The Maidsone. Murdoch Murdoch and Co. London. E.C" because latterly John Murdoch's son became a partner in the company) which has a number of woodworm flight holes that have been filled by what looks like black-wood dust mixed with glue. I am swaying towards just leaving the original fingerboard on it. Moreover, the table of the violin also shows what looks very much to me like evidence of extensive woodworm activity following the grain under the varnish. Is it? Or is it just degradation of the varnish? This model came from Tonbridge (cost me just £27 on eBay) - which is just a few miles from Maidstone where the original Maidstone Movement began. This violin was covered in thick dusty grime and strung with gut strings and in the original coffin-style case. It looked like it had not been played for many decades. This one has a carved in bass bar and no blocking of any kind in the corners. I have another earlier model with blocking and a fitted bass bar that I fixed up, which looks OK all over and sounds rather nice. 

Attached pic of the worm damaged later Maidstone model - which is of early 20th origin. I guess many people would just bin such a ravaged piece of beaver tooth carved junk. But I'm enjoying getting them up into playable order again. To me, and my daughter's violin music teacher, they are certainly far superior in sound to Stentor violins, which so many children in the UK are saddled with. Therefore, it seems a shameful waste to me not to get these most basic old violins back into the hands of young beginners, especially since they were the product of the exploitation of so many in Saxony. 

 

MaidstoneWormedViolin.jpg

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59 minutes ago, DuffersEdge said:

The table of the violin also shows what looks very much to me like evidence of extensive woodworm activity following the grain under the varnish. Is it? Or is it just degradation of the varnish? 

Remove the belly and hold it up to a strong light source and there's your answer.

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