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"Made in Germany"


Brian Snider
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27 minutes ago, Blank face said:

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

If you're right, it seems like Mr. Stratton did a lot of work to pretend he made and sold violins in Leipzig.

It would be useful to see a purchase order from a firm that actually purchased some violins from Mr. Stratton's factory.

 

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

If you're right, it seems like Mr. Stratton did a lot of work to pretend he made and sold violins in Leipzig.

It would be useful to see a purchase order from a firm that actually purchased some violins from Mr. Stratton's factory.

 

That's the logical fallcy which happened in a big part of this discussion.

That he sold some might be undisputed, and if there were made some depends of the definition. Like I wrote, it's possible that, under the supervision of Mr Johann Fritz Glass some learned violin workers assembled and varnished parts, and maybe stamped them "Gohlis", this happened at many other places, too, and would explain that they were sold more expensive than the cheapest Mnk/Schb dozen (according to the catalogue); also that some untrained female workers were involved in this process. It's a completely different question, if it all happened the way which was presented in the woodcut and as he pretended to make them according to his brillant business idea.

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John F. Stratton Violins show up in catalog pages from 1872, 1893, and 1898 in Ehrhardt and Atchley's Violin Identification and Price guide, Book 2 from 1978, which is, IMHO a pretty good, if amateur, attempt to present a sampling of violin family instruments available for sale in the US from the late 1800s to the date of publication. Twenty-six years seems a pretty good run for any entrepreneur, by no means a flash in the pan. Mr. Atchley was a third -generation violin maker, born in 1906 IIRC, and he was the first person to ever mention John F Stratton to me. I was his mentee in the 1980s when I was trying to learn something about violins in general as a sideline to building my own furniture manufacturing business, and generally growing up to "be somebody".  I didn't have a lot of time to spare, but I was learning to play and work on instruments as well, and he was generous to anyone who showed interest and acted on that interest. One day when we were talking about general guidelines to determine the origins of instruments, after covering "the usual", he was careful to emphasize to me that a large proportion of low end violins from the late 1800s that might not fit the other categories we had discussed might very probably have come from the John F Stratton Company in Leipzig. He spoke very firmly and confidently, and I didn't question or contest much at the time.  He was THE local authority at the time, and all I did was accumulate data and assimilate it later, often years down the road. I didn't know up from down, good from bad. All I could do was to presume that Atchley had considerable personal and family experience to draw from, plus the research that he and Earhardt had collaborated on. Atchley wasn't a great maker, but he was at least competent, had visited and studied for a while with Leandro Bisiach, and according to Earhardt, won two Grand Championships for his quartets in international competiton. One must be properly skeptical, but unbiased evidence should probably be given its due, and negative conjecture, in the absence of supporting evidence, remains conjecture. Is there any evidence that points to Stratton being a fraud?

The evidence I see is U.S. Catalogs from independent sources (Earhardt) over a twenty-six year span. Machinery illustrations that conform closely to Blanchard design principles from the 1820s through 1860s, and are fully capable, IME, of performing as described; independent German publications referring to the existence of the John F Stratton Company in Leipzig and Markneukirchen for both string and wind instruments. BTW, Stratton, in his biographies, was consistently referred to as primarily a brass player and orchestra/ band member.

I've spent the better part of the last 60-plus years working with tools and machines on wood, from hand tools to pattern routers, profilers, duplicating routers and mills, and cnc machines, even for violins.  If I looked at enough violin backs from the 1880s, I imagine I could detect the tracks that Stratton's cutters would leave if they weren't all scraped off, and I doubt the process would allow for that. Almost anybody with some experience could.

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From Paul de Wit's "Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau", volume 48 1927/28, p. 302:

jglassbio.png.5e8353e8cde1d570deedcfa658ba27c2.png

 

For those who don't read German, here's a translation courtesy of Google Translate.  De Wit however, is mistaken on when the Stratton factory ceased operation.  The Stratton Geigenfabrik operated at least through 1877, if not later.

Quote

On the occasion of the 80th birthday of master violin maker Joh. Glaß in Leipzig.

As we already reported in the previous issue of our magazine under Personal and Business Notes, Mr. Joh. Glass celebrates his 80th birthday. The very old specialist, a veteran of German violin making, enjoys a great reputation in wide circles, not least in the professional world itself. He knew how to keep his full mental and physical vigor and still does the job he loves today, which is certainly a rarity at his advanced age.

Master violin maker Franz Johann Glaß was born in Brunndöbra on December 23, 1847 and comes from an old family of violin makers whose family tree can be traced back to 1738. His ancestors undoubtedly belong to those German-Bohemian exiles who left their homeland because of their religion and founded the musical instrument industry in the Upper Vogtland.

Mr. Glass learned violin making from his father Johann Traugott Glass in Klingenthal and in 1866 went to the then famous Ludwig Otto in Cologne, with whom he stayed until the outbreak of war in 1870. He then came to work at the then well-known Stratton violin factory in Leipzig-Gohlis, whose property later became the property of the then Leipziger Musikwerke Paul Ehrlich.

Glaß stayed with Stratton until the company was dissolved and became self-employed in Leipzig-Gohlis in 1875. He later moved to the old town of Leipzig and was appointed supplier and violin maker for the Gewandhaus concerts from 1898-1912. In 1901 the Duke of Anhalt appointed him court violin maker in recognition of his achievements. It should be mentioned that Mr. Glass is also active as an inventor and years ago brought a patented hairy violin bow and a patented peg onto the market, from which his professional efforts and talent are evident. His name has not only at home but also abroad, e.g. B. America, Australia, where he still delivers today, a good sound.

Mr. Glass has been running his business for years at Sternwartenstraße 1; his sons Otto and Hans Gustav Glaß are active in it and are loyal to their father.

We wish the elderly specialist many more years of health and well-being, as well as further business success. 

 

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2 hours ago, Hempel said:

From Paul de Wit's "Zeitschrift Für Instrumentenbau", volume 48 1927/28, p. 302:

jglassbio.png.5e8353e8cde1d570deedcfa658ba27c2.png

 

For those who don't read German, here's a translation courtesy of Google Translate.  De Wit however, is mistaken on when the Stratton factory ceased operation.  The Stratton Geigenfabrik operated at least through 1877, if not later.

 

i.e. what one would locally call a “Verschicker”

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6 hours ago, Hempel said:

From Paul de Wit's "Zeitschrift für Instrumentenbau", volume 48 1927/28, p. 302:

jglassbio.png.5e8353e8cde1d570deedcfa658ba27c2.png

 

For those who don't read German, here's a translation courtesy of Google Translate.  De Wit however, is mistaken on when the Stratton factory ceased operation.  The Stratton Geigenfabrik operated at least through 1877, if not later.

 

Danke!

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12 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

i.e. what one would locally call a “Verschicker”

Yes, a "deliverer" as it was noted before. Another evidence that the Geigenfabrik was inactive in 1875 (just being a "letter box firm") when Glass set up his own business.

It was probably to Stratton's catalogue, where he offered, beside "French" Mirecourt violins, many categories of "German" Markneukirchen/Schönbach instruments as Ole Bull, Paganini and other trademarks, that Erhardt and others came to the wrong conclusion that all or most of these were supplied by him, what was surely not the case. The next step in these chain of fallacies was to assume that all this instruments were products of the Leipzig Geigenfabrik.

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