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Who Made My Roth Bows? No, Really, These Are Different


khunsakee
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I am not a player, maker or dealer. I fell in love with the beauty of the luthier’s art after the first of my children joined 6th grade orchestra, in 2002. 
                              
  In Dec., 2015, I purchased a silver mounted Ernst Heinrich Roth 3-star violin bow, on eBay ($382); 14 months later, a gold mounted, 2-star bow ($447).  Searching the internet, I have been unable to find any information about who might have, actually, made them or, the time frame.
 
  I understand that, most people consider Roth bows to be pedestrian, factory “shop" bows; not always. The frogs on these bows are, so very distinctive that, I should think an expert in German bows would be able to identify the maker from across the room. Although, I’ve seen other MOP slides cut in the shape of isosceles trapezoids, never any which, were cut at such an acute angle. Also, the angle remains constant, from the underslide, through the large and small heelplates, to the ferrule.
 
  The MOP used on these bows is of exceptional quality. Looking straight-on, they both appear to match their corresponding linings. Silver MOP on, silver trim and gold MOP on, gold trim. When looking, at an angle, the way the light is refracted, from tip-to-frog, the silver MOP turns to an iridescent pink; the gold MOP, a neon turquoise. From frog -to-tip, the silver looks like fire opal; the gold, like black opal. I believe, this quality is neither accidental nor common.

  I have recently contacted Mr. Wilhelm Roth, to try and learn the approximate age of these bows. The only information he could give me was the model numbers. Later, I sent more detailed photos, to which, he responded, “… It looks very special. We think it is not a shop bow. Maybe from the hand from our grand father Ernst Heinrich Roth I himself from Markneukirchen..." 

  I am hoping that, with the combined experience and knowledge, of the Maestronet Community, the gaps can be filled. 

 

My Hypothesis

Roth used (at least) three distinctly different stamps, I’ll call: Type-1; Type-2; Type-3. (see photos.)

 Type-1 uses a German Gothic-ish font, similar to the early and current Roth labels, uses upper and lowercase letters. The stars used  on the Type-1 are, 6-point and 8-point, asterisks. The 6-point asterisks being straight lines arrayed about the center. The 8-point asterisks being straight lines with little dots on each end, arrayed about a slightly larger dot in the center. Type-1, are the earliest bows and are rarely offered, for sale, online. 

 Type-2 uses a plain font with uppercase letters. E, H and R being larger than the other letters. The stars on type-2 stamps are 5-point stars with open centers. Type-2 is more commonly seen, online.

Type-3 uses a plain font, all uppercase letters of the same size. This type uses 5-point, closed, stars, which appear to be impressed with a die that contains both name and stars. These appear to be of a much lower quality than the others. Type-4 bows are regularly offered, on eBay, often selling for only a couple of hundred dollars. 
 
My bows:
 
RothBows_001.thumb.jpg.1d45ffda32a7d2f00bd07d7f8c95aa9e.jpgRothBows_002.thumb.jpg.0659d0c8b23e1cd6eb577464f6e321c9.jpgRothBows_003.thumb.jpg.caf754e9d6f5c3e920845106c966fc09.jpgRothBows_004.thumb.jpg.9282116c9743a2e9d1f7f273a9204728.jpgRothBows_005.thumb.jpg.578e35dd3113b2235f7ffe11b01c5104.jpgRothBows_006.thumb.jpg.89b5be05aa3c494de326973b9437e49c.jpgRothBows_007.thumb.jpg.795e311b1cf755582aac36feae74a7a4.jpgRothBows_008.thumb.jpg.d49381d2118ff3107a0434633ea3626e.jpgRothBows_009.thumb.jpg.01dfb290add29f981330e4b04eb2eedb.jpgRothBows_010.thumb.jpg.65542efc5a8580dfcc28ca72e59b6b55.jpgRothBows_011.jpg.3c1b9cd076c0280c9360bf3d1b7136c0.jpg
 
 
 
My Hypothesis

(Roth used, at least, three distinctly different stamps, I’ll call them: Type-1; Type-2; Type-3.)

 Type-1 uses a German Gothic-ish font, similar to the early and current Roth labels, uses upper and lowercase letters. The stars used  on the Type-1 are, 6-point and 8-point, asterisks. The 6-point asterisks being straight lines arrayed about the center. The 8-point asterisks being straight lines with little dots on each end, arrayed about a slightly larger dot in the center. Type-1, are the earliest bows and are rarely offered, for sale, online. 

 Type-2 uses a plain font with uppercase letters. E, H and R being larger than the other letters. The stars on type-2 stamps are 5-point stars with open centers. Type-2 is more commonly seen, online.

Type-3 uses a plain font, all uppercase letters of the same size. This type uses 5-point, closed, stars, which appear to be impressed with a die that contains both name and stars. These appear to be of a much lower quality than the others. Type-4 bows are regularly offered, on eBay, often selling for only a couple of hundred dollars. 
 
  
 Type-1 Roth Stamp:
:RothBow_Type-1.thumb.jpg.cba168586cff75ac900785dab82bbbce.jpg
 
 
Type-2 Roth Stamp:
 
RothBow_Type-2.jpg.80b699077c8f3060d15961df1905c53d.jpg
 
 
 
Type-3 Roth Stamp:
RothBow_Type-3.thumb.jpg.a7a07d341bbd9784555bc8fae4159fd0.jpg
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I hate to add to the quandary, but I owned a lovely Ernst Heinrich Roth bow Where are the stamp was cursive. The only one I’ve ever seen and that was a fantastic bow. The stamps on both of your bows Look clumsily done.

The work looks nice, and they very much look like the same hand, but on a high-level bow, one would expect the stamp to be much more carefully applied.

Also, it’s hard to tell from the light in the photographs but they look more “gold tone” then “gold.”

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I just had a customer in the shop who had a Roth-stamped bow with the same fleur-de-lis-inlaid frog and the same button with the narrow black rings as shown in your "Type-3" picture, but I don't remember what the stamp looked like.

Most, if not all, of the Roth-stamped bows that I have seen had the "Type-1" or the "Type-2" stamps.

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3 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I hate to add to the quandary, but I owned a lovely Ernst Heinrich Roth bow Where are the stamp was cursive. The only one I’ve ever seen and that was a fantastic bow. The stamps on both of your bows Look clumsily done.

The work looks nice, and they very much look like the same hand, but on a high-level bow, one would expect the stamp to be much more carefully applied.

Also, it’s hard to tell from the light in the photographs but they look more “gold tone” then “gold.”

I remember reading the MN post about that (I assume it was yours,) and would love to see the photos. I, too, think these were by the same craftsman, each frog fit perfectly on the other stick. The screw on gold frog's adjuster was, maybe, 1/32" too long to fit the 3-starred stick. I wanted to switch them so, I filed it down and, was roundly chastised by my luthier, for that; I learned my lesson.     

As for the signature, it's a brand not, a stamp. Once that iron touches the wood, there's not too much you can do, to adjust it. If it's not straight or, not hot enough, there's little to do but, live with it. I don't think anybody's going to trash a bow over a crooked stamp but, maybe that's why there's only two stars on the one. I've always thought it odd that somebody would spend extra money for gold fittings, to save $5 on a cheaper stick.

The 1924 catalog doesn't list bows but, they offer them. On the last page it states, "...The trimmings of these bows vary from sterling silver to fourteen karat gold, and their prices differ accordingly." In a 1936 brochure, from G.Schirmer, Inc.,43rd Street, New York, gold is not offered as an option.

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Here are a couple more silver-mounted EHR bows for you to contemplate.

The one with the 3 stars is from 1970 and stamped "West Germany" or "W. Germany" on the butt (I forget which exactly).

The bow stamped "Germany" was heavy - 66g. I don't know the weight of the second bow. 

I don't think that you're going to get much farther than they are trade bows that were branded and sold by the EHR firm. 

 

01frog_head.jpg

10bow.jpg

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We don't see these Roth stamped (or branded, what's another word for the same thing) bows over here, probably most of them were made for the export. But from what's visible at the photos, there were two types, one reminding the style of the Hoyer family, the first from the OP, others an obviously Hill influenced model similar to bows made by Adolf Schuster and Paulus. I'm strongly assuming that the bows were supplied to the Roths by these or similar shops.

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12 hours ago, khunsakee said:

I remember reading the MN post about that (I assume it was yours,) and would love to see the photos. I, too, think these were by the same craftsman, each frog fit perfectly on the other stick. The screw on gold frog's adjuster was, maybe, 1/32" too long to fit the 3-starred stick. I wanted to switch them so, I filed it down and, was roundly chastised by my luthier, for that; I learned my lesson.     

As for the signature, it's a brand not, a stamp. Once that iron touches the wood, there's not too much you can do, to adjust it. If it's not straight or, not hot enough, there's little to do but, live with it. I don't think anybody's going to trash a bow over a crooked stamp but, maybe that's why there's only two stars on the one. I've always thought it odd that somebody would spend extra money for gold fittings, to save $5 on a cheaper stick.

The 1924 catalog doesn't list bows but, they offer them. On the last page it states, "...The trimmings of these bows vary from sterling silver to fourteen karat gold, and their prices differ accordingly." In a 1936 brochure, from G.Schirmer, Inc.,43rd Street, New York, gold is not offered as an option.

Can you find and share that post?  I tried to locate it, but search feature on my iPhone doesn’t seem to work. I don’t think that was my post, so I’d really be interested in doing about it. I no longer have the bow that I had, but it was a really nice though and I remember it played well and was quite attractive.

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3 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Can you find and share that post?  I tried to locate it, but search feature on my iPhone doesn’t seem to work. I don’t think that was my post, so I’d really be interested in doing about it. I no longer have the bow that I had, but it was a really nice though and I remember it played well and was quite attractive.

 

On 10/22/2003 at 3:33 PM, PhilipKT said:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dllViewIt...item=2565080193

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewI...item=2565080193

In a way, the question is Moot, because it's obvious I have already bought it.

I think it is legit simply because that cursive stamp can't possibly be easy enough to fake to make it worthwhile for anyone to do so.

Also, it's silver-not nickel- mounted,or looks like silver, anyway, the tip is real ivory, and old real ivory at that(It has that yellowing indicating age)and, finally, the pernambuco looks like excellent quality.

It was made after 1890(else it wouldn't have the 'Germany' stamp)so it was made for export to the USA, but I figure even if it's fake, it's gotta be as good as modern bows selling for more.

I'm posting because I'd like thoughts from those who know more than I.

Thanx and All Best

Philip

Here you go PhilipKT (it's all in the search perimeters.) I ran across this after, I had purchased my silver Roth bow. When it was too late, to be able, to view the photos.

Once, I saw a violin on eBay, being auctioned as a Roth (from a Texas seller who, has offered several questionable, "Roth," instruments.) A crafty counterfeiter had made a, somewhat, large brand from the "Roth" part of his signature, complete with underline, I can't recall if there was a label, too; but, I think not. The Roth firm, in response to a query, confirmed that it was not on of their brands.

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Well you sent me eBay links that do not work, I was referring to the maestronet post to which you were referred.

I do not think that I posted about my own cursive stamp bow, but I might have, although it would’ve been, gosh, 20 years ago.

Regarding your fake stamp story, I’ve mentioned this before, But one of my dearest friends Worked with a local violin shop where the owner had had himself made a fake Albert Nurnberger brand So he could make all the Nürnberger bows he wanted.

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9 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Here are a couple more silver-mounted EHR bows for you to contemplate.

The one with the 3 stars is from 1970 and stamped "West Germany" or "W. Germany" on the butt (I forget which exactly).

The bow stamped "Germany" was heavy - 66g. I don't know the weight of the second bow. 

I don't think that you're going to get much farther than they are trade bows that were branded and sold by the EHR firm. 

 

01frog_head.jpg

10bow.jpg

The one mark "German," do you recall what the MOP looked like? i know that's not an important detail but, I'm trying, probably in vane, to narrow down time frames and, any in details (like "GERMANY" stamped/branded on the side facet) may become helpful. Thanks to duane88, who graciously shared some pages from his 1940 catalog, I've learned that, Roth used the German-Gothic font through 1940. Unfortunately, in the images for the 1936/40 catalogs (same catalog, different dates,) are inconclusive. Can't be sure if the MOPs are cut, straight in a rectangle shape or, angled in a trapezoid shape; looks straight, to me. 

692263545_1940RothCat_03.jpeg.a25b240f458a37a4d60755ce03cb16f7.jpeg

Also, you reminded me that, I never mentioned weights and measures for my bows. My gold bow weighs 60.2gm and 29 5/16" (tip-to-end of adjuster) the silver, 61.0gm and 29 7/16".

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This is great! It  clearly has a rectangular MOP slide and, so, adds a sub-category to the Type-1 designation to my hypothesis. It leads me to believe that, either, the rectangles are later or, were used on the bows with less than two stars.

Not that I'm obsessive but, I've added them to my list. 146693821_ScreenShot2021-07-29at4_01_49PM.thumb.png.febc8c11b04f05420293c85b4da3b417.png

Thnx!

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