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"Made in Germany"


Brian Snider
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There is always the possibility that the violin parts we see in the factory were made by outworkers, and  that the factory acted primarily as an assembly and varnishing workshop where quality of output could be better controlled to a more consistent level. The machinery might have been operated only by trained people mainly for experimental purposes. This might explain the scarcity of output, and I did post pictures of at least one that was made in the city and stamped as such.

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9 minutes ago, Delabo said:

There is always the possibility that the violin parts we see in the factory were made by outworkers, and  that the factory acted primarily as an assembly and varnishing workshop where quality of output could be better controlled to a more consistent level. The machinery might have been operated only by trained people mainly for experimental purposes. This might explain the scarcity of output, and I did post pictures of at least one that was made in the city and stamped as such.

These are two different things. For an assembly of prefabricated parts you need workers with experience and skills as well, or you will end up with a mess. This applies much more for varnish work.

What you posted, at least what was visible at the tinly pictures, was nothing than an average low level Vogtland violin (and I think I recognize it even at these) and proves just that hey were made there.

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2 hours ago, Violadamore said:

2.  What I expect made the difference was the cheaper, simpler, portable, and more robust nature of the Thau, because it was electric.

Regarding 2. The Strad article https://www.thestrad.com/lutherie/cutting-corner-blocks-inside-the-markneukirchen-violin-factory/13450.article  states: 'His machine was not the first used to carve violins,.......' 

So that begs the question: What was the first machine used to carve violins?

It goes on: 'but it was certainly the quickest of its time. It employed a drum to mount eight pieces of work, which were rotated at the same rate as a cylinder mounted with patterns. As the drum turned, a cutter (turning at 6000rpm) travelled along a screw, making the same cut on each of the eight pieces'

So, whatever had existed previously, the Thau machine was obviously more advanced and far superior in terms of quantity production.

26 minutes ago, Blank face said:

What you posted, at least what was visible at the tinly pictures, was nothing than an average low level Vogtland violin (and I think I recognize it even at these) and proves just that hey were made there.

Stratton's sales catalogue is full of many other musical instruments and accessories of all types. The section for violins includes some that he claims were manufactured at Gohlis and the only reference to machining is regarding plate graduation. Everything else could be 'standard' (MK/Sch?) style construction and could have used bought in parts. (as Delabo has suggested) Stratton's cheapest 'in house' violins were offered (wholesale) in the US at $12 per doz. and may well have been "nothing [more] than an average low level Vogtland violin'.

In his catalogue, 'German violins' and 'French violins' cost considerably more, with a top end Strad copy at $52, but he doesn't claim to have made any of those.

It is pretty clear his factory wasn't overly successful in competion with the Markneukirchen outworker supplied industry or it would have survived for longer. However, that doesn't mean it didn't exist.

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58 minutes ago, Blank face said:

There are several points worth to clarify, but they all are coming at least down to one.

1) There is reported evidence for this factory, as far as I can see, only for the years 1872 and 1873, .................

 

The Centennial Exposition display (photo and link provided earlier) of 1876, explicitly references the Leipzig factory.  :)

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21 minutes ago, Bob K said:

the only reference to machining is regarding plate graduation. Everything else could be 'standard' (MK/Sch?) style construction and could have used bought in parts.

That's not possible without experienced workers knowing how to assemble bought in parts and to varnish them, definitely not by some girls hired from the street, like I explained above, You can test it by yourself with some Chinese kits if you don't believe. Then go out and ask some of them. ;)

8 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

The Centennial Exposition display (photo and link provided earlier) of 1876, explicitly references the Leipzig factory.  :)

You can also refer to an empty stable at some field, or the empty building of a defunct factory, maybe with an office at the 2nd floor and a letter box at the front door.

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29 minutes ago, Bob K said:

It is pretty clear his factory wasn't overly successful in competion with the Markneukirchen outworker supplied industry or it would have survived for longer. However, that doesn't mean it didn't exist.

The question is, what they did there.

It's thinkable that he bought some parts from the Vogtland, including bellies with carved bars, hired some workers from there or unemployed violin makers and journeymen from elsewhere, finished a number of violins and sold them. These could be undistinguishable from the usual Vogtland work, but would put all his claims about business mdel, machine work, cheap female workers and at last the pittoresc illustration to waste.

Otherwise it's simply not to explain why we cannot find examples of the machined factory violins of the period.

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After going back and reviewing all of the documentary evidence posted in this thread, if the Stratton instruments were simply Markies with milled plates, inserted bass bars, and interchangeable necks, I can tell you where they are.  All over the place, confused with later Thau examples.  In the absence of specific labeling, there won't be an easy way to spot them.  I've probably had several through here.  They may, in fact, be the ones usually assumed to be period regraduated.  :)

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2 hours ago, Violadamore said:

After going back and reviewing all of the documentary evidence posted in this thread, if the Stratton instruments were simply Markies with milled plates, inserted bass bars, and interchangeable necks, I can tell you where they are.  All over the place, confused with later Thau examples.  In the absence of specific labeling, there won't be an easy way to spot them.  I've probably had several through here.  They may, in fact, be the ones usually assumed to be period regraduated.  :)

There’s no chance that anybody who knows her stuff and has done her homework properly would confuse a 20th century Thau milled or a regraduated violin with a 19th century milled. 

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17 minutes ago, Blank face said:

There’s no chance that anybody who knows her stuff and has done her homework properly would confuse a 20th century Thau milled or a regraduated violin with a 19th century milled. 

Whatever:P  The violins exist in some form that hasn't raised questions, until now. 

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7 hours ago, Blank face said:

There’s no chance that anybody who knows her stuff and has done her homework properly would confuse a 20th century Thau milled or a regraduated violin with a 19th century milled. 

There's no chance anybody who knows their stuff and has done their homework would boldly and categorically assert no Leipzig fiddle factory ever existed, or that they didn't make fiddles, with no evidence to support such assertions.

I've reproduced the personnel ads that Stratton posted in the "Leipzig Tageblatt."  (I only post the distinct ones; most ads were repeated.)  Considering we have several independent reports that King John of Saxony indeed visited the Stratton factory, with a big retinue of officials in tow, plus all the other documentary evidence, there can be no doubt that factory produced violins.

Your spin regarding Johann Glaß is downright pathetic.  You might think we now live in a world where objective truth no longer matters but you're only deluding yourself.  

stratpersonnel00.jpg.d4dad64d80b38dccc6cbaaca04fc1489.jpgstratpersonnel01.thumb.jpg.11a3b30bb13ff0947e4703e18a0aa1e0.jpgstratpersonnel02.jpg.95455412fce4311693432a10fcd0989d.jpgstratpersonnel2.jpg.6a153e1b30297a46fc0522d7f13cbec3.jpg

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21 minutes ago, Hempel said:

There's no chance anybody who knows their stuff and has done their homework would boldly and categorically assert no Leipzig fiddle factory ever existed, or that they didn't make fiddles.

I've reproduced the personnel ads that Stratton posted in the "Leipzig Tageblatter."  (I only post the distinct ones; most ads were repeated.)  Considering we have several independent reports that King John of Saxony indeed visited the Stratton factory, with a big retinue of officials in tow, plus all the other documentary evidence, there can be no doubt that factory produced violins.

I enjoy seeing you 

stratpersonnel.jpgstratpersonnel2.jpg.6a153e1b30297a46fc0522d7f13cbec3.jpg

Vielen Dank!!   These ads make it very plain who was being sought, and for what sort of a factory.   They support the illustrations.  :)

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47 minutes ago, Hempel said:

!) There's no chance anybody who knows their stuff and has done their homework would boldly and categorically assert no Leipzig fiddle factory ever existed, or that they didn't make fiddles, with no evidence to support such assertions.

2) independent reports that King John of Saxony indeed visited the Stratton factory, with a big retinue of officials in tow, plus all the other documentary evidence, there can be no doubt that factory produced violins.

 

1)I don’t believe anybody does, rather that this “factory” only seems to have existed for a short period of time, and rather than producing tens of thousands of instruments p.a. has left seemingly nothing to posterity, and well as no notice in the written history of Saxon violin-making

 

2) I have seen written reports that the King visited a Blas.-Instrumentenfabrik (wind-instrument factory)

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44 minutes ago, Hempel said:

There's no chance anybody who knows their stuff and has done their homework would boldly and categorically assert no Leipzig fiddle factory ever existed, or that they didn't make fiddles, with no evidence to support such assertions.

I've reproduced the personnel ads that Stratton posted in the "Leipzig Tageblatter."  (I only post the distinct ones; most ads were repeated.)  Considering we have several independent reports that King John of Saxony indeed visited the Stratton factory, with a big retinue of officials in tow, plus all the other documentary evidence, there can be no doubt that factory produced violins.

Your spin regarding Johann Glaß is downright pathetic.  You might think we now live in a world where objective truth no longer matters but you're only deluding yourself.  

stratpersonnel00.jpg.d4dad64d80b38dccc6cbaaca04fc1489.jpgstratpersonnel01.thumb.jpg.11a3b30bb13ff0947e4703e18a0aa1e0.jpgstratpersonnel02.jpg.95455412fce4311693432a10fcd0989d.jpgstratpersonnel2.jpg.6a153e1b30297a46fc0522d7f13cbec3.jpg

Thanks for the additional informations. Now I have an adress where I can look for the next time I'll be in Leipzig.

To the matter it doesn't add anything. They looked for some workers, for woods (nothing what's often used for violin making BTW, at least not in Saxony) and sold a dog. Nothing about what they really did there.

Johann Franz (or Fritz) Glass is only mentioned by Lüttgendorff, as quoted above, but not by Zoebisch or any other serious contemporary source. I don't think it's pathetic to tell that his name can only be found in the usual mass produced stuff, but not in anything what's special. That's what he has common with so many others from the period, no matter if they could call themselve supplier of any court or the like.

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Giuten Morgen, Jacob!;)

There's not much fantasy necessary to think of many occupations for workers (female or not) within this "factory": Pulling on strings, putting violins in cases, maybe even scraping some wood. Or they were needed to polish the brass instruments, whatever.

It's a simple truth that one can learn from documents only what was written in documents,maybe dates of birth, death, weddings,  but not what was the purpose of any real or only alleged activity. Especially in violin making there were a lot of wrong claims ver the centuries (ask Vuillaume for example) and all prove depends of what you can find at real objects.

The whole discussion started with a hearsay claim by "Roy Ehrhardt, ....that a large portion of the halfway decent, cheap violin you see in the US from that time come from Leipzig, due to Stratton's massive production in the 1870s through the 1890s. None of them were made in the Schoenbach style, apparently, being truly "factory" violins rather than cottage work."

Now we came down to a catalogue where he offered "home products" for a range from 12-21$/dozen, not 1$ as was said before, beside a lot of other German (from 5.5$ dozen)and French instruments, that his factory was sold somewhen after 1873. From "not made in the Schoenbach style, apparently" it changed to

11 hours ago, Violadamore said:

They may, in fact, be the ones usually assumed to be period regraduated.

So why are Jacob and me now accused for "changing the goalposts"?

Fact is, that in reality one can find lots of cottage industry instruments labelled as being made by Geigenbauer, Instrumentenfabrik in different cities and claims all over the place. That was usual business practice and it's hard to understand why it is still necessary to argue about simple facts.

Here's a photo from Zoebisch showing a real Geigenfabrik with machines, Heinrich Ludwig Glaesel in Markneukirchen.

IMG_6779.thumb.jpg.fe3d22500ce12dcb5460494c21e14a5e.jpg

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

Giuten Morgen, Jacob!;)

There's not much fantasy necessary to think of many occupations for workers (female or not) within this "factory": Pulling on strings, putting violins in cases, maybe even scraping some wood. Or they were needed to polish the brass instruments, whatever.

It's a simple truth that one can learn from documents only what was written in documents,maybe dates of birth, death, weddings,  but not what was the purpose of any real or only alleged activity. Especially in violin making there were a lot of wrong claims ver the centuries (ask Vuillaume for example) and all prove depends of what you can find at real objects.

The whole discussion started with a hearsay claim by "Roy Ehrhardt, ....that a large portion of the halfway decent, cheap violin you see in the US from that time come from Leipzig, due to Stratton's massive production in the 1870s through the 1890s. None of them were made in the Schoenbach style, apparently, being truly "factory" violins rather than cottage work."

Now we came down to a catalogue where he offered "ome products" for 15$/dozen, not 1$ as was said before, beside a lot of other German and French instruments, that his factory was sold somewhen after 1873. From "not made in the Schoenbach style, apparently" it changed to

So why are Jacob and me now accused for "changing the goalposts"?

Fact is, that in reality one can find lots of cottage industry instruments labelled as being made by Geigenbauer, Instrumentenfabrik in different cities and claims all over the place. That was usual business practice and it's hard to understand why it is still necessary to argue about simple facts.

Here's a photo from Zoebisch showing a real Geigenfabrik with machines, Heinrich Ludwig Glaesel in Markneukirchen.

IMG_6779.thumb.jpg.fe3d22500ce12dcb5460494c21e14a5e.jpg

The machine you show seems to be an updated version of the machine in the stratton factory. Both are milling machines. Here is a picture to compare along with a description of how it was used...................

 

stratton machine.png

stratton violin machine enlarged.png

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

1)I don’t believe anybody does, rather that this “factory” only seems to have existed for a short period of time, and rather than producing tens of thousands of instruments p.a. has left seemingly nothing to posterity, and well as no notice in the written history of Saxon violin-making

 

2) I have seen written reports that the King visited a Blas.-Instrumentenfabrik (wind-instrument factory)

Perhaps you missed my post earlier.  In particular I direct your attention to the first link in that post.

Regarding your first point, the vast majority of milled fiddles from his factory were destined for the US mail order catalog market (Montgomery Ward iirc).  He never bothered labeling/marking those particular instruments with his own markings.

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The question is, which of both was adapted from the other, or if they both came from the same source. At least Glaesel's machine is from the 19th century (no exact date, and not a Thau), wasn't run by unexperienced workers and is described as wind-powered, not by steam.

From where is your photo? I can't find it in the catalogue? Is it prove that it was Stratton's at all?

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9 minutes ago, Delabo said:

Its just a high resolution crop of the Stratton factory picture we have all seen. Download the PDF so you can turn it around in Microsoft Edge and zoom in..........

1961337515_PDFofstrattonfactory.pdf 6.12 MB · 0 downloads

Thanks! It's the lower picture, I can see it at the usual resolution, without the discoloration.. It's available here:https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30953873526&searchurl=sortby%3D17%26tn%3Dschneidemaschinen&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title4

or here: https://www.ebay.de/itm/372213525620

So it's possible that even the drawing of the machine was stolen from somewhere else, maybe from the Glaesel shop or elsewhere.

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2 hours ago, Blank face said:

Thanks! It's the lower picture, I can see it at the usual resolution, without the discoloration.. It's available here:https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=30953873526&searchurl=sortby%3D17%26tn%3Dschneidemaschinen&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-title4

or here: https://www.ebay.de/itm/372213525620

So it's possible that even the drawing of the machine was stolen from somewhere else, maybe from the Glaesel shop or elsewhere.

They should not be selling the illustration. The license from where I got the pictures is strictly for non-commercial use.

As for where the machinery came from, that  seems to be Markneukirchen.  I have a reference that says

"1866-8 started German factory at Markneukirchen, Germany and in 1868 transferred it to Leipzig (Waterhouse 1993, 389) "

So it would seem safe to assume that the machinery originated in Markneukirchen and was shipped to to the new Leipzig factory. Stratton does not say he invented the machine, only that he used it. It could be speculated  that Leipzig city council encouraged the setting up of a new factory there, and may well have subsidized it, as it provided employment, and would be a rival to other violin makers. But that's just pure speculation on my part.

#edit: the factory in Markneukirchen seems to have been for making  brass instruments.

Stratton Markneukirchen move.png

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3 hours ago, Hempel said:

Perhaps you missed my post earlier.  In particular I direct your attention to the first link in that post.

Regarding your first point, the vast majority of milled fiddles from his factory were destined for the US mail order catalog market (Montgomery Ward iirc).  He never bothered labeling/marking those particular instruments with his own markings.

You mean the post about the king visiting a wind instrument factory?

 

Show me a violin if there are tens of thousands in America

 

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I think we have found out at least as much as that we mustn't believe in any of Mr Stratton's claims anyway. 

Probably you're right that he got a pretty penny from the magistrate of Leipzig and therefore needed a lot of business propaganda about alleged inventions and maybe invested a lot of this money for woodcuts showing rooms full of employees and good press relations.

BTW, the copyright for the 19th century print has run out long, and it's a public domain where nobody can put any sort of license on. There is surely more than one example preserved, so everybody is free to do whatever they might like, copy and print, frame it, alter it, sell these prints and more. This doesn't mean that I would pay anybody for a copy.

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